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Newberg remains undefeated after thrashing of rival McMinnville Friday at home

PMG PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - Newberg runningback Hudson Davis plows through the McMinnville defense in the Tigers' 56-9 thrashing of the Grizzlies at home March 26.

For the first time since 2019, fans filed into Loran Douglas Field for a Newberg High School football game. Masked up and mostly spaced out, the Tiger faithful had plenty to cheer for as the home team dominated 56-9 to remain undefeated in the shortened spring season.

Fourteen seniors played the final home game on the current schedule, ringing the victory bell loud and proud into the late March air.

"It's a great way to send off these seniors," NHS coach Kevin Hastin said. "It's a great bunch of guys, and they've worked really hard to persevere through a lot, just like everybody has in the last year. It's great to see them have fun and play a good game."

Newberg (4-0) came into the night ranked No. 3 in the state according to the latest media poll. The Tigers showcased why they're ranked so high throughout a physical contest — particularly with its effort on defense. McMinnville (1-3) rarely managed a first down in the first half and stops led to quick scores by the Tigers' high-powered offense.

After a stop near midfield on the opening drive, Newberg opened the scoring with a 27-yard touchdown run by junior running back Price Pothier. The Tigers managed two more scores in the quarter to make it 21-0: a 17-yard pass from junior Levi Durrell to senior wideout Owen Hawley, and an eight-yard run by sophomore tailback Hudson Davis.

Early in the second quarter, with strong field position at the opposing 23, Newberg punched it in with a two-yard run by Pothier to make it 28-0.

McMinnville responded with its first score of the game: a leaping 10-yard grab by junior Braden Woods to make it 28-6 midway through the second period. A missed extra point capped an otherwise strong drive by the Grizzlies.

It didn't take long for the Tigers to counter, as Durrell heaved it downfield to Hawley for a 62-yard score on the first play of the ensuing drive. It was 35-6 Tigers at that point.

A muffed punt by Newberg late in the second quarter gave McMinnville strong field position, but the Tiger defense held up and forced a turnover. Junior Charlie Evans picked it off in the end zone and returned the interception to the Newberg 29.

The Tigers cashed in on the turnover as Durrell tossed it deep to junior running back Grant Dickenson for a 45-yard touchdown. At half, it was 42-6 Newberg with the handful of fans and parents in attendance roaring.

"It was great energy tonight," Hastin said. "It takes a lot of support from our staff to put this together — it's a lot of work, especially for our athletic director Tim Burke. Hats off to everyone involved."

With a running clock in the second half, McMinnville started out the third quarter strong by recovering a Newberg fumble. After chewing up some clock, though, the Grizzlies elected to kick a field goal inside the opposing 20 instead of going for a touchdown. It went through the uprights and cut the deficit to 42-9 late in the third.

Newberg showed off the strength of its run game later in the third quarter. Pothier broke off a 69-yard touchdown run as the crowd erupted once more, making it 49-9 Tigers through three.

With the ball at the opposing 36 in the early fourth quarter, Newberg kept it on the ground en route to a five-yard touchdown run by junior Jackson Delp. The game arrived at its final score of 56-9. Delp added a fumble recovery to his stat line before the game clock ticked down to zero.

Newberg looks ahead to a road game at Mountainside next Friday. After that, they await a decision by the OSAA as to who they'll play in their sixth and final contest of the season — a "bowl game" that pits teams of similar caliber against one another. There are no OSAA-sanctioned state playoffs this season.

"We want to play the best in the state," Hastin said. "Going through this short season, it's hard not to think about what could have been for us in a full season. But right now, we just need to focus on what we can control, and we took care of business in league.

"We've got a really tough team coming up in Mountainside, so we've got to take care of business there as well. After that, we want to play the best team in the state. Plain and simple."

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