Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
Brandon Williams is a marked man, but that hasn't stopped the elusive Cascade Christian senior running back from putting up eye-popping numbers.
Williams was at it again Saturday in a first-round Class 3A football state playoff game against visiting Vale at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
Williams rushed for four touchdowns and 190 yards as the Challengers dominated, 35-7.
Undefeated Cascade Christian will host Pleasant Hill (7-3) in the quarterfinals next week. The Billies opened the playoffs with a 31-28 victory over Nyssa, who the Challengers (10-0) defeated 54-14 on Sept. 22.
"(Williams) is a competitive kid," said Cascade Christian coach Jon Gettman. "He wants the ball in his hands. His determination and perseverance shows through each and every game."
Additionally, Williams had three pass receptions for 72 yards and made five tackles from his safety position.
"It was pretty obvious they were keying on him," said Gettman, "but our kids up front laid out each and every play and gave him a few holes. Once he gets a crease, he can explode and that's what he did today."
Williams scored on touchdown runs of 18 and 11 yards in the first quarter. He added two more touchdown runs in the third period to help stake the Challengers to a 28-0 lead.
The Cascade Christian defense also turned in an impressive performance against the Eastern Oregon League second-place Vikings.
Vale's touchdown didn't come until late in the fourth quarter and most of the Vikings' 246 total yards were picked up with the game out of reach. Vale was held to minus 1 yard rushing in the second half and had eight first downs in the game.
The Challengers defense made 13 tackles in the backfield and recorded five sacks.
Defensive end David Sellers and outside linebacker Daunte Olson spearheaded the Challengers' defensive effort.
Sellers made six tackles, had two sacks and two pass deflections.
"David Sellers stepped up and had an incredible game," said Gettman. "He was in their backfield all day. He was pumped up to play."
Olson, a sophomore, led Cascade with nine tackles, including three for losses.
"(Olson) has a nose for the ball," said Gettman. "He had no fear when he's out there. He has the athleticism to make tackles on the edge."
Cascade Christian has made it to at least the state quarterfinals every year since 2006.
"This team has come together and unified," said Gettman. "The kids are relentless. Defensively we never let up. When we gave up that last score the kids were disappointed."
Vale 0 0 0 7 — 7
Cascade Christian 14 0 14 7 — 35
CC — Williams 18 run (Parker kick)
CC — Williams 11 run (Parker kick)
CC — Williams 1 run (kick failed)
CC — Williams 24 run (Scottow run)
CC — Girardot 4 run (Parker kick)
V — DeLong 62 pass from Skerjanec
ONTARIO 39, NORTH VALLEY 34 — At Grants Pass, Skyline Conference champion North Valley suffered a heartbreaking loss in the opening round of the Class 4A state playoffs at Mel Ingram Field.
The Knights (8-2) took a 34-33 lead with 16.5 seconds left in the game on a 32-yard field goal by JJ Chirnside.
But Joe Delgado caught a desperation, 68-yard touchdown pass as time expired to give the Tigers the victory.
Ontario (8-2), the No. 2 team from the Greater Oregon League, will play at La Salle in the quarterfinals next week.
Ontario 0 13 13 13 — 39
North Valley 9 13 7 5 — 34