HILLSBORO, Ore. — The South ended the North’s recent reign of the Les Schwab Bowl with a 42-21 win Saturday night at Hillsboro Stadium.
“We tried to get them to buy in, to be more disciplined than the North team,” said Lane Johnson, head coach of the South and Sheldon High School.
It took some time for the South to buy in. After a lackadaisical practice on Tuesday morning, Johnson had one message for his team.
“He just told us to wake up,” South and Lakeridge quarterback Eric Dungey said. “It’s our last high school game. Play your hearts out.”
The message obviously sunk in.
“Our guys were shuffling around,” Johnson said of the Tuesday morning practice. “Our afternoon practice, they beat the coaches out there. They had a meeting. I’m not sure what went on, but things got better after that.”
Apparently it wasn’t so much what the South team said as what the North team, who had won three of the last four games, said that fueled the South.
“We wanted to win and beat the North,” Dungey said. “They were talking smack, so let’s go put points on the board and see what they say after.”
The south wasted no time to light up the scoreboard. After a fumble by Sirgeo Hoffman on the North’s opening possession, Dungey scored on a two-yard touchdown run to give the South a 7-0 lead. Dungey rushed for 82 yards on 13 carries.
Hoffman, who led 6A in rushing yards at Gresham High School last season, bounced back and scored on a three-yard touchdown run to tie the game midway through the first quarter.
The South responded with a three-yard touchdown run by Silverton quarterback Cole Chandler to take a 14-7 lead in the opening minute of the second quarter.
After forcing a North punt, the South drove 72 yards in 1:54, capped by a 12-yard touchdown pass from Dungey to Central wide receiver Wes Riddel to put the South up 21-7. Dungey was 13 of 17 for 186 yards and three touchdowns. The Syracuse-bound quarterback was named the game’s most valuable player.
“Obviously he’s a great athlete, but he’s a really good competitor,” Johnson said of Dungey. “Syracuse is lucky to have him.”
The teams continued to trade scores midway through the third quarter. Mason Rivers picked up 59 of his 112 rushing yards on a touchdown run to pull the North within 28-21.
The South took over late in the third quarter after a disastrous sequence for the North.
Chandler found Sheldon wide receiver Kellen Strahm, the 6A/5A male athlete of the year, for a nine-yard touchdown to put the south up 35-21 with 2:29 left in the third quarter. On the North’s following possession, Westview quarterback Austin Brisbee was picked off by Mt. View’s Chris Adamo. Dungey found Strahm for a 59-yard touchdown on the next play to take a commanding 42-21 lead with a 1:43 left in the third quarter.
“Kellen was on a linebacker. It was going to be a touchdown no matter what,” Dungey said. “He’s fast, he’s the best player in the state, so he came down with it.”
Strahm, who will play baseball at Oregon next spring, had his high school career end early when he suffered a right leg injury in the fourth quarter and did not return to the game. Strahm did got out with a win though, which many players don’t get to experience in their final high school game.
“We lost in my last game in the playoffs, and I really wanted to win this last high school game,” Dungey said.
The quieting of the North’s smack talk was icing on the cake.
“We beat them pretty well,” Dungey said while looking at the scoreboard.
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