Motivated Sherwood smacks McNary
SHERWOOD — A motivated Sherwood High School football team is a dangerous team.
McNary found that out — the hard way.
The motivated Bowmen, behind its powerful running game, and suffocating defense, powered their way over the Celtics in a Class 6A state playoff first-round game played Friday at Sherwood High School — possibly marking the final game on the current Sherwood home field, before the new Sherwood High School opens next fall.
"Last game on this field, it means a ton to our coaches, it means a ton to us," said Sherwood senior running back Jamison Guerra, who scored a pair of touchdowns in the win. "We grew up on this field, and there's so much tradition and history here. We love it."
That was only part of the motivation that the Bowmen carried into the playoff opener.
"We're fired up for the playoffs," said Sherwood senior defensive lineman Nick Severson, who had a big fourth-down tackle to cap off a goal-line stand. "We feel that the No. 12 seed is too low for us. We have a chip on our shoulder, and we're ready to prove people wrong."
"We heard they were talking some smack, a little bit," Sherwood senior tight end/defensive end Blake Jensen said. "We just wanted to make sure we came out and did what we know we can do — and we did."
With the loss, McNary, the Mountain Valley Conference champion, and the No. 21 team in the final OSAA power rankings, finished its season with a final overall record of 4-6.
Sherwood, the Pacific Conference champion, and the No. 12 team in the power rankings, improved to 8-2 on the season. The Bowmen also advance to play in the second round of the state playoffs, where they'll face West Linn in a game set to be played Nov. 15 at West Linn High School.
"We just came out strong from the start," Severson said. "We came out on defense with the strip-sack, and just went from there. We gave up seven points, that's crazy — 49-7, that's awesome."
"It went just as well as we could of wished," Guerra said. "We did a good job stopping their best guy (senior Junior Walling). He's really good, but we did a good job holding him. That was the big goal for tonight."
"I think we did pretty well," Jensen said. "We came out strong."
The Bowmen certainly did.
In McNary's first offensive series, after the Celtics moved the ball into Sherwood territory, the Bowmen defense forced McNary senior quarterback Erik Barker to fumble, with Jensen recovering the loose ball.
"That was fun. Someone knocked it out, and I just jumped on it," Jensen said. "It was a great way to start, and our offense went right down and scored after that."
And it didn't take the Bowmen long to get on the scoreboard following the fumble. An 11-yard run by Guerra and a 31-yard run by senior Lucas Voss helped set up Guerra's 15-yard touchdown run. Sherwood senior Kaedin Steindorf added the first of his seven extra-point kicks on the night, giving the Bowmen a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes and 23 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
The next time Sherwood had the ball, Jensen caught a 17-yard pass from senior quarterback Gavin Evans, and junior Jack Causey followed with a 12-yard run, setting up a 13-yard touchdown run by senior Brody Stevens, upping the lead to 14-0 with 1:40 remaining in the opening period.
Then, it was time for the Bowmen defense to come up with another big play. This time, with McNary facing fourth-and-1 at the Sherwood 4-yard line, Severson stuffed Walling for a 2-yard loss.
"It wasn't just me, it was a team effort," Severson said of the play. "We were flying around all night, hitting them hard. We play physical defense, and we take pride in that. We hit people hard, and want to make them quit. That's what we love — fourth-and-1, you live for those moments."
The Sherwood offense then struck again late in the second quarter — behind a pair of big runs. Stevens had a 36-yard run, and Guerra followed that up three plays later with a 40-yard touchdown run, which upped the margin to 21-0 with 49.3 seconds left to play in the period.
McNary answered, quickly moving the ball downfield following the ensuing kickoff. Barker completed four passes on the drive, including an 8-yard touchdown pass to Walling, coming with 8.5 seconds in the quarter, cutting the Sherwood lead to 21-7 at halftime.
But the Celtics wouldn't get any closer in the second half — Sherwood made sure of that.
The Bowmen defense limited McNary to just 108 yards of total offense after halftime. Meanwhile, Sherwood opened the third quarter with a 10-play, 73-yard drive, which was capped off with an 8-yard touchdown run by Stevens, upping the margin to 28-7 with 7:50 left in the period.
The next time Sherwood had the ball, the Bowmen stuck much quicker. A 37-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Bjorn Bergstrom to senior Tyler McCleskey set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Voss, with gave the Bowmen a 35-7 cushion with 5:55 left to play in the third quarter.
From there, Sherwood got a 37-yard touchdown run by junior Clay Peden with 3:22 left in the third quarter, and a 4-yard TD run by senior Kaden Flesher with 1:50 left to play in the game, closing out the 49-7 victory.
"This was awesome, just flying around, scoring touchdowns, making stops, just playing good football — it was great," Severson said.
Sherwood, as a team, rushed for 416 yards on 52 carries, behind the blocking of senior Ian Glenn, junior Bryan Cuthbertson, junior Noah Culbertson, junior Sam Shayegi and senior Zhayan Perez, among many others.
"Four-hundred and something yards on the ground, that's what we want to do every night," Guerra said. "With Sherwood, running the Wing-T, you have to have that."
Peden led a balanced Bowmen rushing attack with 103 yards on 10 carries. Stevens had 80 yards on eight carries. Voss ran for 76 yards on seven carries, and Guerra had 72 rushing yards on just five carries.
Evans completed two of four pass attempts for 29 yards. Jensen, Guerra and McCleskey each had one reception.
For the Sherwood defense, Cuthbertson had a quarterback sack and another tackle for a loss. Severson had sophomore Alex Costa each had a tackle for a loss. Jensen had a fumble recovery.
"We really wanted to stop their running back, and I thought we did a really great job of it," Jensen said. "On offense, we put up quite a few points, and that's awesome."
"This was so much fun," Guerra said. "Last game on this field, it was all I could ask for. We looked great."
For McNary, Walling ran for a team-high 45 yards on 14 carries. He also had eight receptions for 93 yards. Barker completed 20 of 33 pass attempts for 230 yards.
For the McNary defense, senior Spencer Delacruz and sophomore Jake Paton each had a fumble recovery. Walling, junior Dyami Rios and junior Issac Evarts each had a tackle for a loss.
West Linn, the No. 4 team out of the Three Rivers League, and the No. 5 team in the OSAA power rankings, brings a 7-3 record into the second-round state playoff game with the Bowmen. The teams met earlier in the season, with the Lions getting a 52-27 win over Sherwood in a game played Oct. 4 at West Linn High School.
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