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SOU runs away from EOU in season finale

SOU runs away from EOU in season finale

ASHLAND — The SOU football team secured consecutive winning seasons for the first time in nine years with a 42-21 win over Eastern Oregon University on Saturday.

The Raiders finished the season at 5-4 overall by scoring three third-quarter touchdowns that broke a 14-14 halftime tie.

I'm real happy with the way we finished up, said Raiders coach Jeff Olson, whose team was knocked out of playoff consideration the week before against Pacific Lutheran. Our 20 seniors came back after a real frustrating loss last week.

With the playoff pressure removed, the Raiders were care-free in practice.

The kids certainly made me nervous, said Olson. They were really loosey-goosey. But everything they did, they seemed very confident they?d come out and play well. And for the most part, they did.

The Mountaineers, 2-8 overall, took leads of 7-0 and 14-7 in the first half.

But Southern Oregon senior quarterback Dan Walters answered each time with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Adam Clinton and a 25-yard keeper, which was his first career rushing score.

Sophomore Nick Daniken, a Crater High product, gave the Raiders the lead for good when he took the opening kickoff in the second half for 96 yards and a touchdown.

In the second quarter, Daniken had blocked a field goal and returned it to about the Raider 40, where he tried to pitch the ball to a teammate and wound up turning it over.

Shortly thereafter, Eastern Oregon went up 14-7.

He was really hanging his head, said Olson. After the kickoff return, however, he probably felt a little better about himself.

It was the school's longest kickoff return since 1969 and Daniken's second in three weeks. He returned one 87 yards against Montana State-Northern University.

Redshirt freshman Dusty McGrorty rushed for 94 yards on 22 carries, including two scores, to become the youngest player in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.

McGrorty, who had a long touchdown run called back, finished the season with 1,093 yards and moved into fourth place on the SOU season rushing touchdown list with 15.

Along with McGrorty, the entire offensive line returns next year.

Walters threw for 249 yards, completing passes to 10 different receivers, and finished his career with 4,773 yards.

He's been our field general for the last two winning seasons and had us on the brink of getting to the national playoffs, said Olson. I'm just real proud of how he finished up his career.

The Mountaineers were led by senior quarterback Chuck Nyby, who threw for 228 yards, and freshman fullback Scott Alcock who rushed for 105 yards.

Two seniors who had suffered otherwise season-ending injuries — receiver Toby Taylor and All-American free safety Jenner Yriarte — managed to end their careers on the field.

Each was inserted late in the game and caught passes, with instructions to immediately fall down.

SOU runs away from EOU in season finale