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Trojans advance to 2A football state semifinals for fourth time in five years

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - The Kennedy Trojans make their fourth trip to the state semifinals in the past five years ('15, '16, '18, '19) after defeating the Oakland Oakers 45-7 on Saturday at Silverton High School.The Kennedy football team earned the top seed of the 2019 playoffs behind the strength of its defense, and on Saturday it showed why.

The No. 1 Trojans (9-1) held No. 9 Oakland (8-3) scoreless in the second half, putting up 25 unanswered points to beat the visiting Oakers 45-7 at Silverton High School and advance to the 2A semifinals.

Led by senior Bruce Beyer and junior Isaiah Basargin, Kennedy scored three times in the opening quarter to take a 20-0 lead before Oakland got on the board. Basargin struck first, hauling in a six-yard pass from junior Dylan Kleinschmit to put the Trojans up 7-0. Beyer followed with two scores of his own.

Oakland responded with their lone touchdown drive of the game, punctuated with a six-yard touchdown run from junior Corbin Picknell to cut Oakland's deficit to 13 points.

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Kennedy senior Bruce Beyer had a strong all-around day, rushing for a game-high 102 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a 57-yard fumble return for score, four PATs, a two-point conversion pass and a 22-yard field goal.But that's as close as it would get.

Kennedy finished the half with a 22-yard field goal from Beyer to make it 23-7 heading into the break.

The Trojans came out looking to pass, with Kleinschmit tossing a pair of touchdowns to Basargin and junior Brady Traeger, respectively. Kennedy capped their day with a 57-yard fumble return for touchdown from Beyer in the fourth quarter.

Beyer finished with a game-high 102 yards on 15 carries and one catch for 14 yards. The senior put points on the board in a myriad of ways, scoring twice on the ground, once on defense, four points after touchdown, a field goal and a two-point conversion pass.

Kleinschmit was 9-of-12 for 103 yards and three touchdowns. Traeger led the team with five catches for 48 yards and a score, while Basargin's two touchdown receptions netted 25 yards.

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Kennedy's Cole Boen (50) and Brady Traeger converge on Oakland running back Corbin Picknell. The Trojans held the Oakers to 85 yards on 35 carries and the semifinals with the second-best 2A defense in the state.Demetre Marseille added 37 yards on nine carries and a 16-yard catch. David Reyes and Kleinschmit rushed for 33 and 28 yards, respectively, as the Trojans amassed 200 yards on the ground.

The Kennedy defense held Oakland 85 rushing yards on 35 carries, just 2.4 yards per attempt, and 172 yards total.

The victory pushed the Trojans into the 2A State Semifinals for the fourth time in the past five years (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019).

Standing in their way of a title defense is No. 4 Monroe (10-1).

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Kennedy junior Isaiah Basargin scored the opening touchdown of the game and finished with two catches for two scores and 35 yards.The Dragons are no strangers to deep playoff runs, this being the third consecutive semifinal appearance. The two teams last met in the 2017 quarterfinals, with Monroe eliminating Kennedy 41-35 en route to the program's first outright state championship.

The Dragons boast the top-ranked 2A offense in the state, with 529 points in 11 games, while scoring 44 or more points in all but one contest.

In contrast, the Trojans pack one of the state's most potent 2A defenses. Kennedy has given up just 117 points all season, second only to the Heppner Mustangs. The Trojans have allowed just one touchdown in six games this season, including their past four.

The two teams will meet at Hillsboro Stadium at 11 a.m. The winner will advance to the 2019 2A State Championship on Nov. 30 against either No. 3 Heppner (11-0) or No. 7 Knappa (9-2).

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Traeger led the Trojans with a game-high five catches for 48 yards and a score. Teammate Dylan Kleinschmit completed 9-of-12 passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns.

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