La Salle ends Forest Grove's season, 27-14
A play here, a play there — that was the difference.
Forest Grove fell behind early, swung the momentum, but ultimately ran out of time in a 27-14 loss to La Salle in a league crossover playoff game Friday, Nov. 1, at La Salle High School, with the winner advancing to the OSAA state playoffs, while the Vikings season is now done.
Afterwards, Forest Grove head coach Perry Herbst lamented some of both his team'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. La Salle junior James Menor led the Falcons rushing attack, tallying 184 yards and a touchdown. Herbst knew prior that Menor and La Salle's entire stable of backs would be formidable, but though overall that 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, number three was, and he's fast. And number 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 a Brody Crowley 2-yard run 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 junior quarterback Ryan Rosumny, then made it 20-0 five minutes into the second quarter when Rosumny connected with receiver Ryan Bjorvik from 9 yards out, and 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 2-point conversion, it was 20-8 and the Viks were back in business.
It appeared 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 and appeared headed for pay dirt. 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 and quickly converted into six points after a 4-play drive ended with a 41 yard Menor TD run.
"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 certainly acknowledged the enormity of the miscue from a momentum standpoint, but wasn't about to throw his senior back under the bus, and cited 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.
"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," Rosumny said. "We wanted this win for our seniors because this was their last game on this field."
And speaking of seniors, Herbst had nothing but good things to say about his. Citing not only their contribution this year, but also their work rebuilding a program that as recent as three years ago couldn't win a game.
"Cameron Bennett is probably one of the best kids I've ever coached," Herbst said. "Not just talent-wise, but also the character he has. Jarod Miller has been one of the toughest dudes, ever. Our two senior running backs won't be forgotten, Xzavier Rosas, Gavin Rice, all 20 of our seniors. Since their freshmen year we knew we had a talented group, and they did their part in helping us build this thing back up. They've been great. All of them."
And while over for the seniors, and the Vikings as a whole, La Salle lives to fight another day, headed for next week's yet-to-be-determined playoff opponent.
"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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