Sherwood runs past Marist for a 46-20 win in the Class 5A state championship game

by: DAN BROOD - WE'RE NO. 1 -- Sherwood seniors Joseph Balfour (left) and Harrison Shelburne rejoice following the 46-20 win over Marist in the state championship game.HILLSBORO — No doubt.

No question.

And there was absolutely, positively no stopping them.

The unwavering Sherwood Bowmen weren’t about to be denied the shiny blue trophy that just barely escaped their grasp a year ago.

And, with that in mind, the Bowmen stormed their way to the Class 5A state football championship in dominating fashion, running to a 46-20 win over Marist in the state title game played under rainy conditions Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium.

“This is a dream come true,” Sherwood High School junior running back Keegan Lawrence said with a rain-soaked smile during the Bowmen’s victory celebration. “This means the whole world to us.”

“Words cannot explain it,” Sherwood senior lineman Joseph Chamberlain said. “Everything we’ve been doing since last year has been for this. It’s been crazy.”

“It’s incredible. It’s an amazing feeling,” Sherwood senior running back Cristian Morris said. “The whole year, we knew we’d be ready. We wanted to prove a point.”

Point proven.

Marist, the Midwestern League champion, finished its season with a final overall record of 11-2 — with both losses coming to the Bowmen.

by: DAN BROOD - TROPHY TIME -- The Bowmen gather with the state championship trophy following Saturday's game. Sherwood, the Northwest Oregon Conference champion, finished its season with a perfect mark of 13-0. The state championship was the second for the Bowmen in the past three years, as they also defeated Marist 26-23, in overtime, in the 2010 title tilt.

In fact, Sherwood has put together an incredible three-year run that has seen it go 39-1 over that time. The Bowmen’s only setback the past three seasons was a 14-13 loss to Mountain View in the 2011 state championship game.

It was that defeat that had Sherwood motivated for the 2012 season — all the way up to Saturday’s championship contest.

“We remember last year, and that feeling of losing was awful,” Bowmen senior center Nick Rowlands said. “We weren’t going to let that happen again. This means everything to us. Our hard work paid off.”

“From the beginning of the season, our kids were focused,” Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence said. “The guys really came together as one. They did everything we asked of them — it’s sort of sad that it’s over.”

Sherwood’s banner, championship season may be over, but, wow, what a way to finish up.

And the Bowmen wasted no time at all in taking charge in Saturday’s championship game.

The Sherwood defense quickly forced Marist into a three-and-out in the first possession of the contest. And then the Bowmen offense took over.

Morris capped off Sherwood’s first possession of the contest with a 48-yard touchdown run around right end — sprinting past the Spartan secondary on his way to the end zone — to give the Bowmen a 6-0 lead with 8 minutes and 17 seconds left in the first quarter.

“We were all fired up and ready to go,” Morris said.

“We came out and got a three-and-out and they we took right down and scored,” Sherwood senior quarterback/defensive back Joseph Balfour said. “That was great.”

by: DAN BROOD - TITLE-GAME TOUCHDOWN -- Sherwood senior Cristian Morris dives over the goal line for his second touchdown in Saturday's state championship game.And the Bowmen didn’t stop there.

Soon after the first score, Sherwood senior defensive tackle Logan Smith recovered a Marist fumble at the Spartan 28-yard line. And it didn’t take the Bowmen long to capitalize on the turnover.

A 15-yard run by junior Mickey Schaefer helped set up a 1-yard touchdown blast by Morris, who then tacked on a two-point conversion run to up the Sherwood lead to 14-0 with 2:15 left in the first quarter.

Marist, showing some fight, came back to trim the margin to 14-6 on a 1-yard touchdown run by junior Andrew Park coming with 10:57 left in the second quarter.

But Sherwood answered the Marist score — and then some.

On their ensuing possession, the Bowmen marched 90 yards in 12 plays. Schaefer had a 17-yard run in the drive while Keegan Lawrence had an 18-yard run and Morris a 13-yard run. That all set up Schaefer’s drive-ending 7-yard touchdown run, which gave Sherwood a 21-6 lead with 6:01 left in the period.

Sherwood senior Jack Matney then recovered a high, bouncing loose ball on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Bowmen possession at the Marist 27-yard line.

Two plays later, Keegan Lawrence scored on a 27-yard run to the left side. He then added a two-point conversion run, following a Marist penalty, to up the margin to 29-6 with 5:16 remaining in the first half.

Smith then came up with another fumble recovery on Marist’s first offensive play following Lawrence’s touchdown.

On the next play after that, Morris completed a 24-yard toss to senior receiver Cyrus Mooney on a halfback pass down to the Marist 14-yard line. Four plays later, Lawrence scored on a 7-yard run coming with 2:23 left in the second quarter.

The TD gave Sherwood 22 unanswered points in a time span of 3:38, and it also gave the Bowmen a 36-6 lead, which they took to halftime.

by: DAN BROOD - SPLASH ATTACK -- Sherwood defensive coordinator Wes Montgomery has a bucket of ice water dumped on him near the end of Saturday's Class 5A state championship contest. And the Bowmen weren’t about to turn down their intensity in the second half.

“At the start of the second half, we said ‘it’s right there for us,’” Greg Lawrence said.

It got even closer early in the third quarter. On the second play from scrimmage in the period, Keegan Lawrence, sprinting through a huge hole opened by the offensive line, ran 61 yards for a touchdown that upped the Bowmen lead to 43-6 with 11:15 left in the period.

Marist, getting a 1-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Kamrun Smith to Kaelen Byrum, cut the lead to 43-14 with 9:49 remaining in the third quarter.

The Bowmen pushed the margin to 46-14 when freshman Adley Rutschman booted a 34-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter. The three-pointer was set up by a 23-yard pass from Balfour to Keegan Lawrence and a 14-yard run by Morris.

Marist got a 3-yard touchdown run by Park with 6:51 left to play to complete the scoring in the contest.

Sherwood, which had been playing reserves throughout most of the fourth quarter, sent its first-team offense back on the field for the final play of the game. Balfour took a kneel-down on that final play, signaling the start of the Bowmen’s championship celebration.

“This means everything to us,” Sherwood senior lineman Harrison Shelburne said. “Ever since third grade we set a goal of winning the championship our senior year.”

“And we got it,” Balfour added with a smile. “It was a total team effort. It was all about the team.”

“This feels so great and I feel so blessed,” Rowlands said. “We came out strong. We were on it from the first snap. We took advantage of their mistakes and we finished.”

“This is just amazing,” Chamberlain said.

“It was so great to beat those guys in the fashion we did,” Greg Lawrence said. “I’m so proud of everyone.”

And that includes the Sherwood coaching staff.

“Our coaching staff is the best,” Greg Lawrence said of the group that includes Wes Montgomery, Mark Gribble, Rich Hannan, Mark Flint, Jason Travnicek, Brad Turner, Jeff Wilson, Doug Dickson, Steve Holsberry, Justin Gabler, Jim Winkler, Charlie Newcomer, Peter Lehl, David Balfour, Ryan Boatsman, Dan Steffens and Andrew Lee. “Monty (Montgomery) is a film freak. With all of the hard work and many hours they all put in, we couldn’t have done it without them.”

As usual, Sherwood, in the championship game, had a big night running the ball, as the Bowmen rushed for 428 yards on 64 carries.

“The offensive line did everything,” Keegan Lawrence said. “They made it easy for the backs.”

Morris led the rushing attack with 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.

“It still hasn’t all hit me,” he said. “I’ve dreamt about this my whole life.”

Keegan Lawrence had 132 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries and he also had two receptions for 24 yards. Schaefer added 73 rushing yards on 10 carries.

For the Sherwood defense, Logan Smith had two fumble recoveries and senior linebacker Alex Barzee had one. Barzee also had a quarterback sack and he forced a fumble. Senior linebacker Jake Reimer and senior cornerback Jordan Skoubo were each in on a team-high seven tackles.

For Marist, Kamrun Smith completed 12 of 24 pass attempts for 128 yards. Park was the Spartans’ leading rusher with 73 yards on 15 carries and junior Liam Henshaw had five receptions for 52 yards.

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