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St. Paul High School sports round-up: The Buckaroos are on a roll on the gridiron

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - Senior quarterback TJ Crawford, who plays on defense as well, is leading the St. Paul football team to an undefeated record in 2019 with his arm and athleticism.

St. Paul football remained unbeaten this season after using a second-half push to distance themselves from the Lowell Red Devils in a 68-18 victory Friday at the rodeo grounds.

The No. 2 Buckaroos (3-0) used a balanced offensive attack from quarterback T.J. Crawford and a stable of running backs to break open a 32-18 game at the half by scoring 36 unanswered points in the final two quarters.

Crawford opened the game with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell Curtis to put the Bucks on top early.

Following a failed two-point conversion, the Bucks struck twice more — a 49-yard score from running back Saul Martinez and an 11-yard reception by Bryce Williams from Crawford — to give St. Paul an 18-0 edge toward the end of the first quarter.

But Lowell would not go down easily. The Red Devils rallied to score on their next drive on an eight-yard pass from Odin Sinnett to Josh Cantwell to put their team on the board.

After an eight-yard touchdown run by Crawford, Lowell scored twice more in the quarter to pull within 26-18, but the Bucks had the final answer of the half on a 19-yard pitch to Gianni Grasso to make it a two-score game going into the half.

Following the break, the contest belonged to the Bucks.GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - St. Paul's defense stymied Lowell for the much of the game Friday at home.

Crawford scored three more times, twice on the ground sandwiched around an electric 93-yard pass to Hayden Scott to build a 54-18 lead.

Curtis added a 65-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and Hunter Naumann concluded the game with a 93-yard touchdown to finish the game.

In total, St. Paul finished its final six drives of the night with touchdowns while the defense stepped up and forced two interceptions, a pair of punts and a turnover on downs in the second half against Lowell.

Crawford finished the game passing for 8-of-14 for 240 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, along with 54 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries.

Naumann led the Bucks on the ground with his lone carry of the game on St. Paul's final offensive play. Curtis followed with 86 yards on eight carries, while Martinez added 78 on seven touches.

Scott led the receiving corps with four catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. Bryce Williams added a team-high five receptions for 32 yards and a score, while Curtis caught three balls for 73 yards and a touchdown. Curtis also pulled down a pair of interceptions, while Crawford had a takeaway of his own.

St. Paul wraps up its three-game home stand this week against the Mohawk Mustangs (1-2), Friday at 7 p.m. in the league opener for both teams.

Cross-country

The St. Paul cross-country team got a preview of the district championship course when it traveled to Cheadle Lake Park on Saturday to take part in the Champs Invite in Lebanon.

Led by a second-place finish by junior Broden Lear, the St. Paul boys finished fifth out of nine teams with 117 points.

Lear finished with a personal-best time at the race, knocking three and a half seconds off his PR at last year's district race with a finish of 17:10.50.

Lear's performance was a 51-second improvement over Lear's race at the Champs Invite a year ago, and marks the third time this season the St. Paul junior has finished inside the top 10.

In total, Lear has finished six of his past seven races under 18 minutes dating back to 2018.

Lear was followed by freshman teammate Gage Cook, who placed 33rd in 20:26.50, shaving 22 seconds off his previous best set Sept. 11 at Silver Falls State Park.

The rest of the boys team followed with Hayden Schindler (37th, 20:55.60), Jackson Cook (40th, 21:08.10), Aiden Daimler (57th, 22:49.10) and Josh Hershberger (66th, 23:45.10).

Next up for the Bucks is a trip to Stayton for the Regis/Stayton High Invitational, which will take place on Oct. 3 throughout the day.


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