Big finish sends Barlow past Sheldon
|#9 Barlow (9-2)|
|#8 Sheldon (5-4)|
EUGENE — Barlow's football team came through in crunch time to score a 26-24 win at Sheldon in Friday's second round of the 6A playoffs.
The biggest play of the night came early in the fourth quarter with Barlow facing fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line.
Success would give Barlow the lead.
Failure would mean a wasted drive that would keep the Bruins in catch-up mode.
Barlow QB Jaren Hunter took the snap, rolled to his right and sprinted for the pylon. A pack of Sheldon tacklers closed in at the 1-yard line. Hunter dropped his shoulder and threw himself forward, rolling across the backs of two Irish players into the end zone like a piece of luggage at an airport terminal.
"We wanted to play physical football, and the kids did a great job of that," Barlow coach Terry Summerfield said.
Hunter's dive to the pylon put Barlow up 20-17 with 10:59 to play.
The Bruins would hold the lead the rest of the way.
Barlow's go-ahead march traveled 80 yards in 14 plays and took almost seven minutes off the clock.
"On our first drive we noticed they only had one linebacker out there, and when we went to the spread, they took all their linebackers off," Hunter said. "We knew we had the numbers to run, all that was left was to find the open hole."
After forcing a Sheldon punt, Barlow took over at its own 10-yard line and went to work on the clock.
Hunter got the wheels turning with a 6-yard sprint around the right side to convert third-and-1. Two plays later, he fired a quick throw into the flat for Josh Nomie, who dodged a tackle at the line of scrimmage and broke loose for a 32-yard gain. A Hunter run and a Nomie catch picked up another pair of first downs, as the march moved from one 10-yard line to the other.
It ended with Sheldon's line stuffing a fourth-and-1 play, but the Bruins had peeled six minutes off the clock.
"Our mindset was to keep the lead, run the clock down and make them quit mentally," said Collins, who carried the ball five times on the clock-crunching drive.
Sheldon was left with less than three minutes to travel the length of the field.
The Irish would not make it 10 feet.
Barlow's Carson Jensen crashed through and tossed the Sheldon ball carrier for a 4-yard loss on the first play. A short catch and an incompletion had the Irish facing fourth-and-8.
"We were mixing it up on defense," Jensen said. "We had their QB on the run, and he was throwing blind all night."
Sheldon gave the ball back to the Bruins when Nomie stepped in front of Hunter Anderle and broke up a mid-range pass.
"I was manned up 1-on-1 on the outside, I saw the receiver break and the ball in the air, and I knew I had to make a play," Nomie said. "I had goosebumps all over after that."
Three plays later, Barlow put the game on ice when Nick Collins cut 5 yards through the middle for a touchdown and a 26-17 lead with 1:19 left.
"Our linemen are big and strong, and they did a good job making holes. They washed everyone out up front, and I had a perfect cutback lane into the end zone," Collins said.
The Irish hit a deep pass for a late touchdown, but Barlow's Reece McKenzie pounced on the onsides kick with 0:07 left.
One snap out of the victory formation, and the Bruins were onto the quarterfinals.
"After reaching the second round last year, our goal all season has been to advance further," Hunter said. "We just had to believe, and tonight we came out and won a game against a great opponent."
The Bruins are only the third East County team to reach the quarterfinals over the past 20 years — the others being Centennial in 2009 and Barlow in 2005.
Barlow hosts Mountainside at 7 p.m. Friday after the Mavericks shocked No. 1 Tigard 34-31 in overtime.
"I'm so happy for our seniors to have another week," Summerfield said. "It's a special and determined group that has put in all the extra time and is simply not going to take 'No' for an answer."
Sheldon was first onto the scoreboard with a quick snap on fourth-and-10 that caught the Bruins off guard. Lane whipped a pass to the left side, which skipped through the hands of the intended receiver only to find Josh Loesch along the sideline for the 43-yard touchdown.
Barlow answered with Hunter firing a quick throw to Durham Sundberg, who shook the initial tackler and went 49 yards down the sideline for the score.
Sheldon went on a 13-play, 64-yard march that ended in a 35-yard field goal by Jay Kartub for a 10-6 lead.
Barlow took possession with less than a minute left before halftime and moved the chains on four consecutive plays. The final one saw Hunter rumble 14 yards, glancing at the end-zone clock before stepping out of bounds with 2.4 seconds left.
That left enough time for a shot to the end zone from 30 yards out. Hunter's high ball dropped out of the fog in the vicinity of receiver Carter Baggs, but Sheldon's Josh Loesch was able to swat it away at the last second.
"We felt we had outplayed them in the first have, but the scoreboard wasn't showing that," Hunter said.
Barlow would rectify that with a scoring drive to start the second half. Jackson Kane caught a 15-yard pass for a first down, and Nick Collins zipped around the left side to move the chains again.
Facing fourth-and-3, Hunter kept the ball and slid off initial contact before diving past the marker.
Several plays later, Hunter whipped a quick pass to Sundberg near the sideline where Sheldon's Hunter Anderle tried to strip the ball rather than secure the tackle. Sundberg shook him off, then picked up a block from teammate Joe MacDonald, which left him with a wide-open path 30 yards to the end zone to give Barlow its first lead at 14-10.
"The first guy tried to arm tackle me, and I broke out of that, then Joe took out the next guy coming in. From there, the field opened up, and I just used my speed to get down the sideline," Sundberg said. "We had some trouble moving down the field, so breaking off a play like that was a big momentum swing for us."
Hunter spread the ball to seven different receivers, completing 17-of-23 passes for 252 yards with two touchdowns. Nomie finished with five catches for 73 yards, while Sundberg caught three balls for 99 yards. Hunter picked up 90 yards rushing, while Nick Collins added 74.
Barlow's Tyler Poureetezadi and Andrew Collins each picked off passes in the first half.
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BARLOW 6 0 8 12 — 26
SHELDON 7 3 7 7 — 24
SHD — Josh Loesch 43 pass from Griffin Line (Jay Kartub kick), 6:55
BAR — Durham Sundberg 49 pass from Jaren Hunter (kick missed), 3:32
SHD — Jay Kartub 35 field goal, 0:52.
BAR — Sundberg 30 pass from Hunter (Josh Nomie pass from Hunter), 8:23
SHD — Lane Shields 19 run (Kartub kick), 5:53
BAR — Jaren Hunter 3 run (pass failed), 10:59
BAR — Nick Collins 5 run (kick failed), 1:19
SHD — Loesch 25 pass from Line (Kartub kick), 0:07
This story is slated for our Tuesday, Nov. 19, print edition.
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