Eagles put end to Cascade Christian's playoff run
The Cascade Christian football team did many things well against undefeated Santiam Christian in their Class 3A state semifinal game.
But unfortunately for the Challengers, they ran out of steam when it mattered most on Saturday at Cottage Grove High.
Cascade Christian used a persistent running attack and one spectacular touchdown throw to take a three-point lead late in the third quarter. But the final period would belong to Bryce Stutzman and the Eagles, who rattled off 22 unanswered points en route to a 42-23 victory.
"They gave everything they had," Cascade Christian head coach Jon Gettman said of his squad. "We just ran out of energy that last little bit. ... There was not a single kid who had energy left in the tank."
Cascade Christian quarterback Daniel Scottow's 80-yard strike to Tyler Stickler with 1:32 left in the third put the Challengers ahead 23-20. Taking advantage of effective blocks by Wyatt Sosey and Caleb Heidegger, Sticker found daylight and bolted.
After that, Cascade Christian's offense fell silent and Stutzman stole the show, accounting for all the Eagles' offense during a 22-0 run in the fourth. The running back had scoring runs of 6, 4 and 27 yards and finished with 264 yards rushing on 26 carries.
"He's the best player we've seen," Gettman said of Stutzman.
A 1-yard scoring run by Stickler and 31-yard field goal by Tyler Beard gave Cascade Christian a 9-0 lead in the first half. After Santiam Christian quarterback Brian Kessi found Jeff Hendrix for a 35-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, Beard answered with a 2-yard scoring run that boosted the Challengers' advantage to 16-7.
Kessi's 1-yard blast and his 52-yard TD pass to Joe Pelley in the third put Santiam Christian ahead 23-20. After Scottow's impressive connection with Sticker, it was all Eagles.
Santiam Christian finished with 435 yards of total offense, while Cascade Christian had 331. The Challengers (10-3) played a clean game, avoiding any fumbles or penalties. They completed all three of their fourth-down attempts.
Stickler had 106 yards rushing on 23 carries and Beard earned 90 yards on the ground with 18 carries for Cascade Christian, which had a nine-game winning streak snapped. Scottow completed 3 of 8 passes for 108 yards, but was picked off twice.
The Challengers, who have made it to three straight semifinals, lost to Santiam Christian, 46-7, on Sept. 17. Gettman said his team entered focused and was able to make several adjustments with its pass coverage, holding the Eagles to 144 yards through the air.
"They didn't go gunning in the second half," Gettman said of Santiam Christian. "They killed us with this offset I formation. They gave it to Stutzman and they blocked well."
Brandon Williams, one of Cascade Christian's top perimeter running options, tore a medial collateral ligament last week and was not available on Saturday.
Santiam Christian (13-0) will play Rainier (10-3), which beat Dayton 34-20, in the 3A championship game at 11 a.m. on Dec. 4 at Hillsboro Stadium.
Gettman said he could not be more proud of his players, who were part of a squad that returned just three starters.
"Each week, they got better and better," he said. "I felt like this crew just came together. They worked their tails off."
At Cottage Grove High
Cascade Christian 6 10 7 0 —23
Santiam Christian 0 7 13 22 —42
CC — Stickler 1 run
CC — FG Beard 31
SC — Hendrix 35 pass from Kessi (Boshart kick)
CC — Beard 2 run (Beard kick)
SC — Kessi 1 run
SC — Pelley 52 pass from Kessi (Hendrix kick)
CC — Stickler 80 pass from Scottow (Beard kick)
SC — Stutzman 6 run (Schroeder pass from Stutzman)
SC — Stutzman 4 run (Hendrix kick)
SC — Stutzman 27 run (Hendrix kick)
Cascade Christian Santiam Christian
First Downs 13 15
Rushes-Yards 48-223 38-291
Passing Yards 108 144
Comp-Att-Int 3-8-2 7-16-1
Total Yards 331 435
Punts 3-32 2-37.5
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-yards 0-0 3-25
Cascade Christian — Sticker 23-106, Beard 18-90, Banks 5-16, Sha 1-8, Scottow 1-3.
Santiam Christian — Stutzman 26-264, Hendrix 2-11, Kessi 5-9, Alire 4-4, Lange 1-3.
Cascade Christian — Scottow 3-8-2 108.
Santiam Christian — Kessi 7-16-1 144.
Cascade Christian — Stickler 1-80, Beard 1-14, Heidegger 1-14.
Santiam Christian — Hendrix 3-56, Pelley 1-52, Schroeder 1-17, Boshart 1-15, Stutzman 1-4.