Sherwood makes a statement at Newberg
NEWBERG — There was plenty to prove for the Newberg and Sherwood high school football teams as they faced off Friday night at Loran Douglas Field and it was the Bowmen who delivered a statement.
Sherwood ran away with a 35-14 road victory thanks to a strong second half, seizing control of the race for the Pacific Conference championship in the process.
"Hopefully we take care of business and win a league championship," Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence said. "Hopefully beating (Newberg) puts us up in the (OSAA power rankings) a little bit. We believe we should be a little bit higher, but that's how it goes."
With the victory, Sherwood improved to 2-0 in Pacific Conference play (5-2 overall), putting the Bowmen alone atop the conference standings.
"Our whole focus was to make sure we were still the kings of the Wing T," Lawrence said. "(Newberg is) our neighbors and they do a great job running it, but our kids have seen it so much that they are always ready."
Newberg fell to 1-1 in Pacific Conference games (5-2 overall), leaving the Tigers tied with Liberty, Glencoe and McMinnville for second place in the standings.
With bouts of heavy rain falling in spurts throughout the night, the run game was prominently featured for both teams. It would have been anyway, given both squads' penchants for pounding the ball with their Wing-T offensive attacks.
A Newberg three-and-out on the opening drive, followed by a shanked punt, placed Sherwood at the opposing 25-yard line on its first offensive possession. That possession ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by junior running back Clay Peden. Kaedin Steindorf added the first of his five extra-point kicks on the night to give the Bowmen an early 7-0 lead.
Sherwood maintained its superior physicality on its second drive, picking up chunk plays en route to a 1-yard touchdown run by senior back Brody Stevens. Through one quarter, it was 14-0 in favor of the road team.
After the Bowmen missed a chip shot field goal, it appeared momentum was shifting toward the Tigers late in the second quarter. A spectacular catch by junior wideout Owen Hawley on a long pass – where he stretched out and hauled it in between two defenders – set up a red zone opportunity for Newberg that resulted in a 2-yard rushing touchdown from sophomore Price Pothier.
The Tigers held up on defense to send the game to half with Sherwood up 14-7.
But the Bowmen came out of the half strong. On a critical third down, senior running back Lucas Voss caught a short pass from senior quarterback Gavin Evans and scampered 70 yards for the touchdown — a back-breaking play for the Tiger defense — that upped the Sherwood lead to 21-0.
Just under four minutes later, the Tigers responded with a 6-yard rushing touchdown by senior Justin Holtan on a fourth-down play, bringing the game back to a one-score margin.
An interception by Tiger junior Gabe Ramos minutes later seemed like a potential turning point, but Newberg's offense fizzled and its special teams unit had trouble snapping the ball to its punter.
The result of those mistakes was a 2-yard touchdown run by Voss to cap Sherwood's offensive drive; the extra point was blocked to make it 27-14 Bowmen through three.
In the fourth quarter, Voss tacked on another touchdown with a 2-yard run and Evans executed the two-point conversion, wrapping up the scoring in Sherwood's 35-14 victory.
"I think the key was that first drive in the fourth quarter where we took off about six minutes and just pounded the ball at them," Lawrence said. "That's what we say, when you need to win a ball game you go out and do some old fashioned ground and pound."
Sherwood, as a team, rushed for 331 yards on 41 carries in the victory. Peden led a balanced Bowmen rushing attack with 107 yards on 14 carries. Steven added 101 yards on eight carries and Voss ran for 76 yards on 11 carries, to go with his 70-yard touchdown reception."Lucas is just a hard-running kid. He's not very big and not very tall, but he's strong as an ox," Lawrence said. "Stevens, our other fullback, rushed for over 100 and Clay got some big yardage by finding holes. Hats off to our backfield."
Meanwhile, the Sherwood defense limited Newberg to just 74 rushing yards on 41 carries.
"We wanted them to throw the ball because, in the Wing T, that's not really your specialty," Lawrence said. "They caught the ball on us and kept some drives going, but, in the second half, the kids responded and held them in check."
Junior linebacker Bryan Cuthbertson helped lead the Sherwood defense, as he was in on 12 total tackles, including two tackles for losses. Bowmen junior Jacob Williams had a quarterback sack and one other tackle for a loss. Sherwood senior Blake Jensen also had a quarterback sack.
For Newberg, Pothier ran for 61 yards on 17 carries. Holtan had 33 yards on 12 carries.
"(Newberg is) getting better and they've got a young group of kids that are going to be dynamite in a couple years," Lawrence said. "We just wanted to prove we were still the kings here and I think we did that."
Both teams will be back in action on Friday. Sherwood will be home to face Liberty and Newberg will travel to McMinnville for Pacific Conference games starting at 7 p.m.
Dan Brood of the Times contributed to this story.
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