Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
It took Cascade Christian just one half of football to match what it did all of last Friday.
Suffice it to say, the result was much better this time around. And much more thrilling.
Cody Parker booted in a game-winning 38-yard field goal with 2:27 left and the Class 3A Challengers edged 4A Henley, 17-14, in nonleague action at U.S. Cellular Community Park on Friday.
Cascade Christian was left searching for answers after a 21-0 loss to Santiam Christian in its season opener. The Challenger defense played solid in the loss — Santiam Christian scored two touchdowns on turnovers — but the offense mustered just 197 yards.
Fast forward to Week 2, when Cascade Christian (1-1) tallied exactly 197 yards of offense en route to a 14-0 halftime advantage over the Hornets (1-1). After quarterback Seth Knox connected with wide receiver Cooper Clark on a pair of scoring strikes, Henley answered a quarter later with two touchdown passes of its own.
Enter Parker, whose deciding kick capped a grinding five-minute drive that began at the Challengers' 47.
The boot easily split the uprights.
"I was just excited," Cascade Christian head coach Jon Gettman said of the game-winner. "It was good to see Cody kicking well during the week and he stepped up and made a huge play and we needed it."
Dante Olson helped to seal the winning deal with an interception after the Hornets completed a quick pass for 16 yards on their ensuing drive.
The Challengers prevailed despite four turnovers. Their first two drives ended in fumbles.
"I finally felt like we got in a groove offensively and the kids saw what our focus is and what our goal is offensively," said Gettman. "Now we've get to go back and watch ourselves on film and take another huge step. We took a huge step and now we've got to get better."
Knox hauled in a wide-open 31-yard TD catch with 6:36 remaining in the first quarter. The score capped a six-play, 70-yard drive that included a key 17-yard run by sophomore Chase Wager.
The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Wager finished with 116 rushing yards on 22 carries, but he had three fumbles (including two lost).
The 6-5, 170-pound Knox, in his second start of the season, found Clark again on a 5-yard scoring strike with 36 seconds to go before intermission, putting the final touch on a 10-play, 42-yard drive.
Henley, which beat Crook County 21-14 last Friday, responded in the third quarter, using a 19-yard TD pass from Josh Overstreet to Hunter Rasick and a 27-yard strike from Daniel Goodell to Kelly Greif to even the score.
Knox was 13 of 24 for 115 yards with an interception and Clark finished with five catches for 61 yards.
"Seth made some good throws and Cooper is just a player," Gettman said. "He was great running his routes and had good hands and ball security."
Dalton Palmer recorded seven tackles and Olson finished with five tackles for the Challengers.
Henley 0 0 14 0 — 14
Cascade Christian 0 14 0 3 — 17
CC — Clark 31 pass from Knox (Cody Parker kick)
CC — Clark 5 pass from Knox (Cody Parker kick)
H — Rasick 19 pass from Overstreet (Goheen kick)
H — Greif 27 pass from Goodell (Goheen kick)
CC — FG Cody Parker 38
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email email@example.com