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...
Cascade Christian's march to the Class 3A football state championship yielded 10 first-team positions in all-state voting and top accolades for several players and coaches.
Senior quarterback Seth Knox was chosen offensive player of the year, junior linebacker Dante Olson was co-defensive player of the year and Jon Gettman was named coach of the year.
Two Challengers — David Sellers and TJ Alvarez — made the first team on offense and defense.
Meanwhile, at the 5A level, Ashland senior quarterback Danial White led three Grizzlies on the all-state first team.
Cascade Christian, which defeated Nyssa 41-6 in the state title game to complete a 12-2 campaign, had six offensive first-teamers and four on defense.
Knox excelled in the title game, completing 21 of 27 passes for 222 yards and four touchdowns. He wasn't intercepted.
For the year, he was 186 of 292 for 2,671 yards and 36 touchdowns with only four interceptions.
Olson led the Challengers' defensive charge in the title game and throughout the year.
For the season, he had 135 tackles, including 11 for losses, three interceptions, seven passes defensed, one sack and one forced fumble. He also scored a defensive touchdown.
He shared the defensive honor with Nyssa linebacker Tyler Osborn.
Sellers, a senior, made the top units at both tight end and on the defensive line. The senior Alvarez made it as a first-team lineman on both sides of the ball.
Other Challengers on the offensive first unit were senior wide receivers Cody Parker and Cooper Clark and senior lineman Trace Walker.
Illinois Valley running back James Thornton, a junior who was named offensive player in the Southern Cascade Hybrid, also made the first team.
Cascade Christian defensive back Jake Brown also earned first-team acclaim.
Walker was named to the second team as defensive lineman, and Parker was the second-unit kicker.
For Ashland, junior defensive back Max Montgomery and sophomore punter Walker Shibley-Styer joined White with first-team selections.
The Grizzlies had nine first- and second-team selections.
White was a rock of consistency for the Grizzlies all season, leading Ashland to its best season in 15 years, making it to the state semifinals before losing to Sherwood, resulting in an 11-1 season.
White, a three-year starter, passed for 2,042 yards and 25 touchdowns and ran for 647 yards and a team-high 11 TDs.
Second-team offensive choices for Ashland were Shashi Penn, sophomore wide receiver; Parker Layton, junior tight end; and Matt Hedges, senior kicker.
On the defensive second unit were senior linemen Cody Frost-Eisenberg and Tyree Heesacker and senior linebacker Mason Montgomery.
Mason Montgomery received honorable mention as a running back, as did Hedges as a wide receiver. Senior center Nate Carver and junior offensive lineman Ivan Tagui also gained honorable mention.