Brody Crowley's two first-quarter touchdowns pave way to home win in Friday's 5A Special District 1 play-in game

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - La Salle Prep's Ryan Bjorvik wraps up Forest Grove quarterback Jarod Miller during Friday's 5A Special District 1 play-in game at La Salle Prep in Milwaukie.The La Salle Prep Falcons still have some football to play.

Sophomore tailback Brody Crowley scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, leading La Salle to a 27-14 home win Friday over Forest Grove that helped the Falcons secure a spot in the OSAA 5A state playoffs.

Ryan Bjorvik and James Menor also scored touchdowns for the Falcons (4-4), who earned Special District 1's No. 3 playoff berth and will travel next Friday to face No. 4-ranked Silverton (8-1)

"Overall we're happy with how we played obviously to get the win, but there's a lot of things we can improve on and that's what we'll try to improve on for next week," La Salle quarterback Ryan Rosumny said. "We wanted this win for our seniors because this was their last game on this field."

Forest Grove lost for the fourth time in five games and ended the season with a 4-5 record.

Afterward, Forest Grove head coach Perry Herbst lamented some of both his squad's and his own early mistakes, but was proud of the way his boys played despite the cool and windy weather conditions that wreaked havoc on both teams' ability to move the ball through the air.

"I think we had moments when we executed really well, but the wind kind of threw us a little bit early," Herbst said. "We should've gone to the run game earlier. I knew we could get the run game on them and I should've gone to it early and turned it into a short game."

Instead it was the Falcons who conquered the running game, totaling more than 250 yards on the ground. Menor, a junior, led the Falcons' rushing attack with 184 yards and a touchdown.

Herbst knew that Menor and La Salle's entire stable of backs would be formidable, but despite the yards, his defense held up fairly well, all things considered.

"I thought defensively we played pretty well," Herbst said. "We were concerned about how fast their back, No. 3, was, and he's fast. And No. 19 is another real fast kid. They were tough and they did some damage, but we were better on them later I thought."

La Salle scored on the game's opening drive, going 64 yards in six plays, capped by Crowley scoring from two yards out on a fourth-and-goal play to make it 7-0.

The Falcons made it 13-0 just before the end of the first quarter when Crowley scored a second time, this time on a 33-yard pass from Rosumny.

In the second quarter, La Salle pushed its lead to 20-0 when Rosumny connected with Bjorvik on an 8-yard scoring strike, at which point it appeared the rout was on.

But the Vikings responded, going 45 yards in eight plays following a Darian Noll interception and capped by a Cameron Ulloa 8-yard touchdown grab. After quarterback Jarod Miller ran in the two-point conversion, it was 20-8 and the Viks were back in business.

It looked as if they were even inching closer to a successful comeback when running back Isaiah Ahmad took a handoff on the third quarter's first play and scampered 57 yards up the sideline. But as the senior neared the goal line, a Falcon defender chopped down on the ball and forced a fumble, which was recovered by La Salle

Four plays later, the Falcons were in the end zone again, this time with Menor packing the ball 42 yards for the TD that made it 27-8 with 9:39 to play in the third quarter.

"That was a huge play," Rosumny said. "I mean, that goes from them having first-and-goal and a chance to get within six, to us getting the ball and scoring like four plays later."

The Falcons' gain, however, was the Vikings' loss. Especially for Ahmad, who aside from that unfortunate miscue, had a great game for Forest Grove, tallying 130 yards on just 11 carries.

Herbst acknowledged the enormity of the miscue from a momentum standpoint, but wasn't about to throw his senior back under the bus, citing Ahmad and his team's resiliency by way of their response — a touchdown on their very next possession.

"It happens," he said. "But I think we responded well, got a stop and scored after that. It's just one of those things and the kids were giving it their all."

Trailing 27-14 as the game entered the fourth quarter, the Vikings drove inside the Falcons' red zone with a chance to make it a one-score game. But with Miller out as the result of a shoulder injury late in the third quarter, backup quarterback Kaden Clute — who helped drive the team nearly 80 yards — threw an interception to Will Curran, ending Forest Grove's drive and subsequently their hopes of coming all the way back against a hungry La Salle squad.

"We're fired up," Rosumny said. "We don't know who we're playing yet, but we're going to be ready."

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