Missed chances doom SOU against Yotes
ASHLAND — Cole Schmidt’s defensive heroics sealed a 17-15 win for No. 25-ranked College of Idaho on a Saturday afternoon full of missed opportunities for Southern Oregon at Raider Stadium.
Schmidt, a redshirt-freshman defensive end, blocked a punt with 10:54 remaining in the fourth quarter, recovered it, and returned it 4 yards for a touchdown that extended the Yotes’ one-point lead to 17-9. With 2:24 left to play, he came up with an interception that was tipped at the line of scrimmage by Dylan Martinez, ruining SOU’s last chance.
The Yotes (6-2) moved into a first-place tie with Rocky Mountain (Mont.) in the Frontier Conference standings after the Battlin’ Bears went down at Montana Tech. SOU, which missed on a two-point conversion try that could have tied the game in the final minutes, dropped to 3-5 and sits in sixth place.
After lightning strikes delayed the opening kickoff 1 hour, 37 minutes, the Raiders built a 9-0 advantage to take into halftime on Cesar Ruiz field goals from 41, 26 and 25 yards. They also left some crucial points behind. Stokes Botelho returned two interceptions for touchdowns, but the first was called back because of an illegal block, and the second was called back after he transferred the ball to a teammate without any Yotes in the picture a few yards from the end zone and was flagged for a forward handoff.
The Yotes finally broke through thanks to another SOU mistake, a muffed punt that they recovered at the Raider 19-yard line midway through the third quarter. Cameron Simons took advantage with a 31-yard field goal.
With 12:40 left in the fourth, Nick Calzaretta’s third straight rush turned into his 12th TD of the season after a Raider unsportsmanlike conduct penalty set the Yotes up with a short field. Simons’ ensuing point-after kick gave them their first lead at 10-9.
Their momentum continued to build minutes later with Schmidt’s blocked punt and touchdown, but SOU responded.
Facing fourth-and-33 from C of I’s 36-yard line with 4:43 left, Blake Asciutto hit Bryce Goggin over the middle and Goggin maneuvered to the outside — speeding past the Yotes defense and extending into the corner of the end zone. The Raiders needed two more points to tie it; Asciutto’s attempted pass to Christian Graney fell incomplete.
Asciutto, making his first start for injured quarterback Matt Struck, completed 21 of 38 passes for 219 yards. Graney caught eight of them for 65 yards.
Defensively, Botelho became just the third Raider in the last five years to pick off two passes in a game. He’s up to four interceptions on the season. Jared Smith added another on his senior day.
Drew Schuler led the Raiders with nine tackles. Bryce Kasch had six, with two for losses.
SOU 2, MULTNOMAH 1: At Portland, Southern Oregon scored the first two goals of the afternoon, getting the first from Noah Addie in the 10th minute and the second from Luis Navarrete on an assist from Izaiha Bruce in the 25th to finish off a third-place showing in the Cascade Conference regular season.
Multnomah’s Axel Mbuyu cut the lead in half in the 32nd minute but the Lions only put one more shot on goal the rest of the day.
Goalkeeper Anthony Armenta got his second start for the Raiders (14-3, 10-3 CCC) and made two saves.
SOU 3, MULTNOMAH 0: At Portland, three months after being picked to finish seventh in the Cascade Conference preseason coaches’ poll, Southern Oregon put the finishing touches on a 10-2 CCC record in a regular-season finale that clinched no worse than second place.
The Raiders (12-4-1) posted their fifth consecutive shutout victory against the last-place Lions (1-13, 0-12). Kaya Baird scored in the third minute, Trinity Rhoades netted a penalty kick in the sixth and Baylee Touey added the final goal in the 16th. Phoebe Bunn assisted both Baird and Touey’s goals.
The shutout was SOU’s 11th, two away from the program’s single-season record. Ashlynn Hernandez completed it with one save.
COLLEGE OF IDAHO 3, SOU 0: At Caldwell, Idaho, College of Idaho only trailed for one point and rolled to a 25-21, 25-19, 26-24 win over Southern Oregon behind Emily Vandenberg’s 12 kills.
The loss spoiled outside hitter Katie Vroman’s career-high total of 11 kills for the Raiders (12-13, 7-13 CC). The sophomore achieved it on 22 swings while Hailey Van Well had 14 kills on 27 attempts.
The rest of the Raiders, however, combined for 16 kills and 15 attacking errors as SOU was officially eliminated from postseason contention.
SOU’s Gwen Sheldon had 21 assists, Taylor Russell had 15 and five digs, and Kadyn Jones added a match-high 17 digs.
LINN-BENTON CC 3, ROGUE CC 0: At Grants Pass, Catherine Rostel had 11 kills and 12 digs, Tessa Frodge added eight kills and Devin Ireland dished out 35 assists but Rogue Community College could not hold back Linn-Benton in a 25-19, 25-20, 25-17 setback.
Jeanie Palsis contributed 15 digs for the Ospreys (18-8, 9-5) against top-ranked Linn-Benton (23-2, 13-0).
Rogue CC clinched a playoff spot with Friday’s four-set win over Lane CC and are fourth in the NWAC South Region standings.