SHERWOOD — First half frustration.
Second half domination.
And that led to a whole bunch of jubilation.
The Sherwood High School football team, after trailing Sprague 14-7 at halftime — following a first half that saw the Bowmen barely possess the ball — came roaring back in a big way in the second half, outscoring the Olympians 35-0, to get a 42-14 win in the non-league game played at Sherwood.
"It went really well," said Sherwood senior running back Brody Stevens, who rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown in the victory. "It wasn't too good at the beginning. We started off really slow, but we did some talking at halftime, and I think we just came together as a team, and it showed on the scoreboard."
"First half was a little slow, but, in the second half, we came out and we were ready," Sherwood senior lineman Nick Severson said. "We made some adjustments at halftime, and we were really ready."
"We started pretty slow, but we made some halftime adjustments and came out strong, and we knew we were the better team," said Bowmen running back Clay Peden, who scored three touchdowns. "We came out excited in the second half, and that was the difference."
With the loss, Sprague moved to 0-2 on the season. Sherwood, which opened the season last week with a 52-9 win at Sandy, improved to 2-0.
"We definitely needed this," Stevens said. "Coming off of last game, I think we were maybe too confident coming into this game, so I think it was a reality check."
"It was a lot of fun," Peden said. "We knew what we were capable of coming into this game. The first half was disappointing, because we didn't show it, but the second half we did what we wanted to do, and expected to do, and that was a lot of fun."
Sprague got off to a methodical, but strong, start to the game. The Olympians, after receiving the opening kickoff, moved 80 yards in 20 plays. Sprague capped off the drive, which ate 8 minutes and 38 seconds off the clock, with a 2-yard touchdown run by junior Ethan Bullock. A 2-point conversion pass gave the Olympians an 8-0 early lead.
It didn't take Sherwood long to answer back. On the Bowmen's second play from scrimmage, Peden sprinted threw a huge hole opened by the offensive line and ran 56 yards for a touchdown. Senior Kaedin Steindorf added the first of his six extra-point kicks on the night, cutting the Sprague lead to 8-7 with 2:32 left to play in the first quarter.
But the Olympians came back with another 80-yard scoring drive. This scoring march, which lasted 12 plays and took 6:23 off the clock, was capped by a 26-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Elias Polanski to junior Carson Vankempen, which gave Sprague a 14-7 lead with 8:14 left in the first half.
The Olympians, who held a 17:16 to 6:44 advantage in time of possession in the first half, took its seven-point lead to halftime.
"It was definitely frustrating," Peden said. "They held it for awhile, and we couldn't get stops, but that all led up to what we talked about at halftime."
"I don't know what to say," Severson said. "I don't know if we weren't expecting it, or what? But I knew we had it in us."
"Yeah, it was frustrating, because we know we can play better than that," Stevens said. "It wasn't our best football at all. I think the second half showed what kind of team that we are."
And the Bowmen wasted no time in showing that once the second half started.
A 29-yard return by Sherwood senior Sam Fangon, on a short second-half kickoff by the Olympians, followed by a 29-yard run by junior Jack Causey, helped set up Steven's 2-yard touchdown blast, which tied the game at 14-14 with 10:13 left in the third quarter.
And the Bowmen were off and running.
An 11-yard run by junior Holden Gilbert, followed by a 36-yard run by Stevens, set up a 16-yard touchdown run by Peden, which gave Sherwood its first lead of the game, at 21-14, with 11:37 left to play in the contest.
On the very next play from scrimmage, Sherwood junior cornerback Jacob Pollock made a leaping interception of a Sprague pass. And, on the very next play after that, Peden scored from 20 yards out, upping the margin to 28-14 with 11:17 left in the game.
On the Bowmen's next possession, senior fullback Lucas Voss appeared to score on a 25-yard run, but that play was nullified due to an illegal shift penalty. But, as it turned out, that didn't matter, as Voss scored on the very next play, on a 30-yard run up the middle, pushing the margin to 35-14 with 7:42 left in the contest.
Sherwood added on a 20-yard touchdown run by Gilbert with 2:22 left to play, making the final score 42-14.
"I just think we realized that we weren't playing together in the first half," Stevens said. "We just really came together, and showed them how Sherwood football really is."
"We just knew we could keep it up," Severson said. "We knew we'd come back and take it to them."
Sherwood, in its dominating second half, ran the ball 20 times for 214 yards and four touchdowns. Meanwhile, Sprague gained just 67 yards in the second half.
"The offense had it together all night. The defense didn't get enough stops," Severson said. "But, in the second half, we took away their big plays. The second half was phenomenal — 35 unanswered points, you can't get much better than that."
The Bowmen, behind the offensive line of Severson, senior Ian Glenn, junior Noah Culbertson, junior Bryan Cuthbertson and junior Ashton Sarono-Ramos, among others, rushed for 343 yards on 30 carries in the victory.
"Our O-line, I personally think we have the best line in the state," Stevens said. "We've got guys like Bryan Cuthbertson, Nick Severson, Ian Glenn, those guys leading the way and opening the holes. We may not have the biggest guys, but we've got the most heart."
"Those guys work so hard, and they do a great job," Peden said.
"It's just classic Sherwood ground and pound," Severson said with a smile. "It's how it's always been, and we love it."
Peden led the Sherwood rushing attack with 112 yards on seven carries.
"A lot of those plays, there weren't a lot of guys in front of me," he said. "The blockers did a great job, hat's off to them."
Stevens got his 87 yards on seven carries. Voss ran for 34 yards on two carries. Gilbert had 33 yards on four carries.
For the Sherwood defense, senior Jamison Guerra and Pollock each had an interception. Senior Blake Jensen and junior John Henry each had a quarterback sack. Senior Logan Carr had two tackles for losses. Culbertson and Severson each had one tackle for a loss. Cuthbertson was in on 21 total tackles.
For Sprague, Bullock ran for 115 yards on 34 carries. Polanski completed 11 of 16 pass attempts for 82 yards.
Both teams will be back in action next Friday. Sherwood will travel to Lakeridge and Sprague will face Central Catholic at Hillsboro Stadium. Both of those non-league games are set to start at 7 p.m.
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