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Cascade Christian rumbles past Sheridan

When the going got tough Saturday afternoon at Spiegelberg Stadium, Cascade Christian simply leaned on what it does best.

After visiting Sheridan trimmed the Challengers' lead to three points with 7:21 to play in the Class 3A football state quarterfinal, Cascade Christian cranked up its run blocking and cemented a third straight trip to the semifinals.

With Tyler Stickler churning away for positive yardage behind a good line surge, the Challengers (10-2) were able to mount a 12-play drive that covered 63 yards and concluded with a 6-yard touchdown run by Stickler for a 23-13 advantage.

The drive, which included four personal foul penalties on the Spartans, took roughly six minutes off the clock.

"It was great to see us keep our composure and hold onto the ball like that," said Cascade Christian head coach Jon Gettman. "That's kind of what our offense is all about, when the opportunity is there to win the game just by holding onto the ball and not letting them get another chance at it."

"Stick ran hard and the line blocked well," added the first-year coach. "Tyler made some moves spinning away from people or just running people over. We needed all those guys to step up right there and they all played great."

Sheridan (9-2) had its final drive halted at the 3-yard line on a fumble that was recovered by Stickler as time expired.

Stickler finished with 105 yards and two TDs on 24 carries, while Tyler Beard added 92 yards on 22 carries and Brandon Williams had 65 yards and one score on seven carries. The Challengers amassed 251 of their 273 total yards on the ground.

Saturday's win set up a rematch with Santiam Christian next Saturday in a time and place to be determined. Gettman said initial talk suggested the 3A semifinal would be played in Cottage Grove. The Eagles (12-0) beat the Challengers 46-7 in a home game Sept. 17.

"It's going to be a battle for us ... a tough, tough game," said Gettman. "Going in we're certainly going to be the underdogs and our kids know that. They took it to us the last game, but for us it was kind of a wake-up call for the rest of the season."

Tyler Beard got Cascade Christian on the board first with a season-long 42-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Williams set up another score with 2:04 to go in the second quarter when he blocked a Sheridan punt deep in the Spartans' zone. The sophomore scored from 18 yards out on the Challengers' first play from scrimmage after the block.

Cascade Christian's lead ballooned to 16-0 following another defensive stand when Caleb Heidegger alertly tackled Sheridan's punter for a loss on a fake attempt inside the final minute of the first half. With the ball on the Spartans' 38 with 45 seconds to go, Daniel Scottow found Andrew Sha for a 22-yard completion and Beard ran for 15 yards to get the ball down to the 1-yard line. After hustling to the line of scrimmage, Scottow handed the ball off to Stickler for a 1-yard plunge to cap a stellar first half.

Sheridan mounted a rally in the second half, scoring on a 2-yard run by quarterback Brock Ingram to cut its deficit to 16-6. Things turned even more interesting in the fourth quarter when Ingram connected with Tre Hale-Edmerson for a 96-yard scoring strike.

"We had kids there, we just weren't able to make the play," said Gettman. "The kid made a great play on the ball for them and then made a great run after the catch."

Instead of letting down with their lead trimmed to 16-13 with 7:21 to go after the shocking score, the Challengers kept their wits about them and mounted their game-clinching drive.

"The kids really responded," said Gettman. "Even when it was tough and only a three-point game, the kids knew what they wanted to do and what they had to do. Their mentality in the huddle was great."

Heidegger and Beard paced the defensive attack with seven tackles and one sack apiece, while Garrett Banks added five tackles and Stickler was vital in positioning his peers at safety.

Ingram completed 19 of 35 passes for 335 yards to lead Sheridan, with Hale-Edmerson hauling in five passes for 189 yards and Jake Denton adding five catches for 76 yards. The Spartans were limited to 39 yards on 20 carries.

Sheridan 0 0 6 7 — 13

Cascade Christian 3 13 0 7 — 23

CC — FG Beard 42

CC — Williams 18 run (kick blocked)

CC — Stickler 1 run (Beard kick)

S — Ingram 2 run (pass failed)

S — Hale-Edmerson 96 pass from Ingram (Hale-Edmerson kick)

CC — Stickler 6 run (Beard kick)

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com