West Salem High School is closing in on the Greater Valley Conference championship.
Senior wide receiver safety Tyler Ballenger scored two touchdowns to lead the 10th-ranked Titans to a 16-8 victory over McMinnville in windy and rainy conditions Thursday at West Salem.
“Conditions could be better, but we play in all conditions,” Ballenger said.
West Salem (6-0 GVC, 6-1 overall) remains one game ahead of Sprague with two leagues games remaining. The Titans will be at South Salem on Oct. 21, and conclude the regular season at home Oct. 28 against McNary.
Ballenger caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jared Oliver midway through the second quarter and West Salem led 6-0 at halftime.
The Titans extended their lead to 9-0 on Nate Okada’s 35-yard field goal at the 7:09 mark of the third quarter.
Late in the third quarter, Ballenger raced 77-yards for a touchdown on an end around, extending the lead to 16-0.
McMinnville (3-3 GVC, 4-3 overall) made things interesting late in the game.
A 5-yard touchdown pass to from quarterback Wyatt Smith to Wyatt Adams, followed by a 2-point conversion pass to Smith cut the lead to 16-8 with 2:03 remaining.
McMinnville recovered the on-side kick at West Salem’s 32-yard line, but the Titans knocked away a fourth down pass to seal the victory.
ghorowitz@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6726 or Twitter.com/ghorowitz