Estacada outlasts Woodburn in Homecoming tilt
Woodburn senior football players Dyontae Navarrete and Ethan Ing took a few moments to pose for a couple of photos in the east end zone of Dale Yuranek Field following their Homecoming game with Estacada.
The seniors mingled with several of their peers, savoring this portion of their final year's high school Homecoming experiences. The affable social moment was a fitting addition to the overall Homecoming character shared with fellow students. But for these two football seniors it could have been a little bit better.
Earlier in the evening Woodburn fell behind Estacada in the opening period, stiffened up and made it a competitive game, but ultimately fell short 30-20 before a hearty crowd that filled the stadium and visiting bleachers.
"Oh yeah, for sure," Navarrete affirmed. "We definitely would have liked to add a Homecoming win (to the experience)."
It wasn't for lack of effort. And it certainly wasn't a situation where the Class 4A 10th ranked Estacada broke the Bulldog spirits – though early on the momentum seemed headed that way.
The Rangers took advantage of a first-quarter interception, marching down the field and seeing quarterback Isaiah Schaffer hitting 6-foot-3 senior wide receiver Nate Hagel on a "jump-ball" catch just inside the end zone. Schaffer added a two-point conversion run, affording an 8-0 lead at 8:40 of the first quarter.
Estacada mounted a second scoring drive in the quarter with senior Kaden Settle and Schaffer consecutively scoring and converting to push the lead to 16-0 with 43 seconds remaining in the period.
"They really tried to have their way with us early on," Woodburn coach Nick Federico said. "I thought we able to shake those early experiences off really well."
Estacada mounted another drive into Woodburn territory during the early part of the second quarter, but the Bulldog defense turned them back with several loss yardage plays, forcing a fourth-down pass that fell incomplete.
That was a momentum turner as Woodburn quarterback Jordan Blem came out slinging, connecting on passes to Jose Ortiz, Cole Beyer and Tomas Veliz, while Navarrete added solid run before Beyer hauled in a 19-yard touchdown pass to put the Bulldogs on the board.
Estacada, which attacked with quite a few rushing attempts starting from direct snaps to the back, connected on a late field-position changing pass inside a minute to go in the half. That set up another Schaffer to Settle score, and a Shaffer conversion run sent the Rangers into intermission up 24-6.
Down but not out, Woodburn returned from the locker room ready to go.
Estacada's first possession in the third quarter was a 4-and-out, and its second possession ended with a Jackson Pickett pass interception.
Blem capitalized with a scoring strike to Veliz and a conversion pass to Beyer to tighten the margin to 24-14.
Estacada seemed to respond, driving back into Woodburn territory before Navarrete halted Schaffer on a fourth down run at the 41-yard-line, giving Woodburn the ball back with 28 ticks remaining in the third.
Three minutes and 16 seconds later Blem found Beyer again in the end zone, and Woodburn fans were perking up as the gap had narrowed to 24-20.
Estacada endured another 4-and-out, but Woodburn returned the favor before what would prove to be the cementing play of the game: a 73-yard Schaffer run ending just shy of Woodburn's end zone, and setting up the visitor's and game's final touchdown with 5:35 remaining.
"That definitely hurt our morale," Navarrete said of the breakaway run.
Federico said defensively Woodburn stacked defenders on the play, ready to crimp it off at the line. But in such a stack, if the runner gets past the line of scrimmage, as Schaffer did, it turns out to be a "home run" for the offensive team.
Other than that play, the home defenders stiffened up well enough to ensure that the second half was a reasonably exciting tilt for the spectators.
"Our defense is our strong suit," Navarrete said. "Once people warmed up and got into it, we started playing more physical and got after them.
"I think we went out with good confidence," he added. "We just needed to fix some things up."
Woodburn, 2-3 and 0-2 in SD2, will face Crook County (3-2, 0-2 SD2) on Thursday. Estacada improved to 4-1 and 1-1 SD2.
"We're going to keep fighting and finish strong," Navarrete said. "We are pretty healthy and after this game, the one will be about redemption."
Federico agreed, telling his team that they are down, but not out.
"We are not out by a long shot," he said. "You just have to know you can win, and these guys can. The thing is, they want learn that by me telling them; that's something they have to find out for themselves."
In addition to the Homecoming festivities, the night was celebrated with a rededication of the new artificial turf field, which was completed over the past summer.
Halftime ceremonies saw the families of legendary athletic director Dale Yuranek and long-time track and field coach Pat Carey honored on the field.
Both families took the field accept the rededication honors, bringing several generations of each clan to the turf.
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