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St. Paul football can't keep up with Badgers in first regular season loss since 2016

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - St. Paul junior Clancy Koch races toward the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that brought the Buckaroos to within 16-14 against the Powder Valley Badgers.

After an 18-month wait, the 2020-21 St. Paul football team was finally able to suit up at the Rodeo Arena for its home opener on Friday. Unfortunately for the Buckaroos, the visiting Powder Valley Badgers were eager to play the spoiler role, pulling out a 44-20 victory that dropped St. Paul to 1-1 on the season.

The Buckaroos had a slow start on Friday, falling behind by two scores before finding the end zone on the final play of the first half on a touchdown pass from quarterback Lance Tuck to Bryce Williams to go into halftime down 16-6. The Bucks carried the momentum into the third quarter with a pair of drives deep into Badger territory, the second of which was converted into a 25-yard touchdown run by junior running back Clancy Koch. Following a successful two-point conversion, the Bucks had pulled within 16-14 and were knocking on the door to take the lead, only for Powder Valley to pull away.

The Badgers responded with an eight-play, 67 yard touchdown drive to go up 22-14 midway through the third quarter. On the ensuing drive St. Paul drive, Powder Valley picked off Tuck on the first play and returned it to the three-yard line, punching it in two plays later. The Badgers added one more score to end the quarter, going into the fourth with a 38-14 lead.

It was the first regular season loss in more than four years for the Bucks, who had won 26 consecutive non-playoff games since returning to the 1A classification in 2017 after a four-year stint in the 2A Tri-River Conference.

Going back further, the last 8-man regular season football loss for St. Paul came on Oct. 4, 2013 against the Dufur Rangers.

The Buckaroos will seek to start a new streak this week when they travel to Falls City on Thursday to take on the Mountaineers (1-0).

Volleyball

Following the football game, the Buckaroos and Badgers took to the court at St. Paul High School in a rematch of the past two 1A state volleyball championships.

While the Bucks claimed victory in the 2018 and 2019 state title games against Powder Valley, this time it was the Badgers who came home the victors, taking the win in straight sets 25-22, 25-21, 25-11.

St. Paul (3-1) was scheduled to return to the court Tuesday against 2A power Kennedy (5-0), followed by a trip to Falls City (2-2) Thursday. The Bucks finish the week Saturday at Noth Clackamas Christian (2-3).


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