Sherwood runs over, and past, McMinnville
SHERWOOD — The Sherwood High School football team like to turn to its smash-mouth run attack.
The Bowmen certainly like to score touchdowns.
And Sherwood also enjoys playing stifling defense.
Well, in their Pacific Conference opener, the Bowmen put all of those things together and came away with an impressive victory.
Sherwood, controlling play on both sides of the ball, powered its way to a 42-10 win over McMinnville in a conference opener played Thursday at Sherwood High School.
"It was great. We were firing on all cylinders," Sherwood senior lineman/linebacker Logan Carr said after the game. "We were a little slow in the first half, but we got fired up in the locker room and came out and played great football — team football — and spread the ball around like we always do. The line was playing great and the defense was playing great."
"It went well for us," said Sherwood junior lineman/linebacker Bryan Cuthbertson, who was in on 20 total tackles in the victory. "We knew we had to come out and not overlook these guys. It started off a little rough for us, but we picked it up and played good, old Sherwood football."
With the loss, McMinnville moved to 0-1 in conference play and to 2-4 on the season. Sherwood not only got off to a 1-0 start in conference games, but the Bowmen also improved to 4-2 on the season, in addition to ending a two-game losing skid, with losses to state powerhouses Central Catholic and West Linn.
"This was very important for us, going into our league schedule coming off a pair of tough losses," said Sherwood senior Brody Stevens, who was one of four Bowmen running backs to score a touchdown in the win. "I think this give us a good confidence boost, going into next week and the weeks after that."
"This was super important to us," Carr said. "We were coming off two losses, so we needed this. We know we're a better team than we showed the last two weeks, and we're excited to prove some people wrong."
The Bowmen certainly seemed to prove that they can run the ball. Behind powerful offensive line play from Cuthbertson, senior Ian Glenn, senior Zhayan Perez, junior Sam Shayegi, junior Noah Culbertson, junior Ashton Sarono-Ramos, senior Nick Severson, junior Austin Genz and Carr, among others, Sherwood rushed for 401 yards, on just 25 carries, in the victory over McMinnville.
"Oh yeah, we take pride in being a smash-mouth football team. We want to come out and let you know that you played a game of football," Carr said. "The line was opening holes at the line of scrimmage, and getting into the second level. That's all that's asked of the line. Everyone was playing great — the line, backs and quarterbacks."
"They're everything," Stevens said of the Sherwood linemen. "Those guys open up the holes, and we couldn't be more grateful. Those guys are just super good."
"We just executed our plays, the way we're taught," Cuthbertson said. "We look at film, the way they line up, so we're the most successful when we run our plays."
Meanwhile, the Bowmen defense held McMinnville to just 268 yards of total offense, with 80 of those yards coming in the Grizzlies' lone touchdown drive of the game, when ended with just 11 seconds left in the contest.
"Our defense was good," Stevens said. "Our coach, (defensive coordinator) Coach (Rich) Hannan always knows what to do. He spends so much time and care so much about it — we're just really grateful for him."
"We knew they'd pound the ball up the middle, and throw some play-action in there, so we played according to that," Carr said. "We filled holes, came upfield, and just played great. We were hitting hard."
Sherwood struck quick — very quick — in Thursday's contest. On the very first play from scrimmage, Bowmen senior running back Jamison Guerra, breaking through a big hole opened by the line and then sprinting to the end zone, scored on a 78-yard run. Senior Kaedin Steindorf added the first of his six extra-point kicks on the night, giving Sherwood a 7-0 lead just 22 seconds into the game.
"Leading the game off with that sweep by Jamison, that felt good," Cuthbertson said.
But the Bowmen had some problems after that. McMinnville cut the lead to 7-3 after junior Matthew Washburn connected on a 37-yard field goal with 57.9 seconds left in the first quarter.
Sherwood then lost the ball on a fumbled snap on its ensuing possession. And, after the Bowmen defense forced the Grizzlies to punt, Sherwood lost the ball on another fumble on the punt return, keeping the score at 7-3 as time started to wind down in the second quarter.
But Sherwood, behind its big-play running game, was able to get back on track. Two plays after Washburn missed on a 33-yard field-goal attempt, Bowmen junior Clay Peden scored on a 68-yard run. Then, on Sherwood's very next offensive play from scrimmage, Stevens ran 60 yards, untouched, for another touchdown, which gave the Bowmen a 21-3 advantage with 1:47 left to play in the first half.
"They're all just great blocks — that's our line," Stevens said of his TD run.
Sherwood would go on to take the 21-3 lead to the halftime break, but the Bowmen weren't satisfied.
"We started off fast, but then we went downhill," Stevens said. "But, at the end of the second quarter, we shot back up. And, at halftime, (senior lineman) Nick Severson gave a great speech. We really came together as a team, and that showed in the second half."
It certainly did.
On the first possession of the third quarter, the Bowmen defense stuffed McMinnville on a fourth-and-2 play on the Grizzly 28-yard line, with Cuthbertson stopping McMinnville junior running back Preston Ginter for no gain.
The Bowmen offense then quickly took advantage, getting an 18-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Gavin Evans to senior tight end Blake Jensen, giving Sherwood a 28-3 lead with 7:58 left to play in the third quarter.
In Sherwood's next offensive possession, a 14-yard run by Guerra, a 28-yard run by junior Holden Gilbert and a 15-yard pass from Evans to Jensen set up a 15-yard touchdown run by Peden, which upped the margin to 35-3 with 1:55 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bowmen's next scoring drive was another one-play special, as senior running back Kaden Fuller sprinted 72 yards for a touchdown, which made the score 42-3 with 6:36 left to play in the contest.
McMinnville got a 6-yard touchdown pass from senior Cole Justice to senior Max Egli with 11 seconds left in the game, making the final score 42-10.
"It was fun. It was a nice home game," Cuthbertson said. "It was weird playing on a Thursday, but we still came out fired up and ready to go. It felt good to get another big win."
"This was a lot of fun," Carr said. "We got some of the younger guys in at the end of the game. We're so tight-knit, and we love that."
Peden led a balanced Sherwood rushing attack in the victory with 119 yards on six carries. Guerra had 103 yards on just three carries. Stevens rushed for 81 yards on four carries and Fuller had 72 yards on one carry.
Evans completed five of seven pass attempts for 58 yards. Jensen had three catches for 40 yards. Senior Lucas Voss and Peden had one reception apiece.
For the Sherwood defense, Culbertson, Carr, Glenn, sophomore Aiden Cook and junior Tai Stormont each had a tackle for a loss. And, of course, there's Cuthbertson, who's been a tackling machine all season for the Bowmen.
"I just fly around," Cuthbertson said with a smile. "I get in on as many tackles as I can, and that helps our other guys out, too, because they want to go out and get some, too."
For McMinnville, Ginter ran for 80 yards on 24 carries. Sophomore quarterback Kyran Hoskinson completed six of 19 pass attempts for 63 yards. Justice completed four of six passes for 50 yards. Junior receiver Tony Johnson had six catches for 79 yards.
The Bowmen face a key conference game on Oct. 18, when they travel to Newberg for a 7 p.m. contest. The Tigers, who are 5-1 on the season, opened conference play on Thursday with a 55-21 win at Century.
"We're definitely excited, but we play week-to-week," Carr said.
"I think the sky's the limit for us," Stevens said with a smile.
McMinnville will be back in action on Oct. 18, when it hosts Glencoe in a conference game starting at 7 p.m.
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