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Cascade Christian comes up short to South Umpqua

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No. 4 Challengers nearly pull off comeback to knock off unbeaten, third-ranked Lancers

Cascade Christian has gone toe-to-toe with two of the top Class 3A teams in the last month, but the Challengers’ latest attempt to dethrone one, this time undefeated South Umpqua on Friday at U.S. Cellular Community Park, fell just short.

The No. 4-ranked Challengers scored three second-half touchdowns, all while playing from behind, but No. 3 South Umpqua (8-0, 3-0 Far West League) preserved a 28-26 win after the Challengers’ potential game-tying, two-point conversion pass was intercepted with less than two minutes remaining.

Quarterback Keith Reed rushed for three touchdowns, including a 9-yard run to bring the Challengers (3-3, 1-1) within two points, and completed 23-of-35 passes for 246 yards and a score.

South Umpqua quarterback Jace Johnson had 189 passing yards, which included a pair of connections with Kade Johnson and Isaac Simpson for scores of 63 and 49 yards.

“It was an awesome game to be a part of,” Cascade Christian head coach Jon Gettman said. “Both teams just making play after play.”

Cascade Christian faced a 21-7 deficit in the second half after the Kade Johnson touchdown, and responded with a drive ending in a 7-yard TD catch from Peyton Maurer from Reed near the end of the third quarter.

Triston Wallace blocked South Umpqua’s punt on the Lancers’ next possession, which Maurer recovered to set up great field position at South Umpqua’s 27-yard line.

Reed scored an 8-yard rushing touchdown to get the Challengers within 21-20, but Cascade Christian’s point after attempt was off target.

South Umpqua went on to score on a flea-flicker from Jace Johnson to Simpson, giving South Umpqua a 28-20 advantage with three minutes left.

The score turned out to be to the Challengers’ benefit, as it gave them plenty of time to put together a drive that ended with Reed running in his third touchdown from nine yards out, before South Umpqua picked off the two-point conversion pass.

Austin Waits led the Challengers with 80 yards receiving on five catches, with Maurer (7-71), Tyler Almasy (6-45) and Brody Sample (5-44) also providing targets for Reed.

“I just thought it was great to see the kids respond when they got down,” Gettman said. “I thought that was awesome to see.”

In the end, the Challengers’ defense held South Umpqua to its lowest scoring output of the season, and aside from the two big scoring plays through the air, South Umpqua’s offense was mostly held in check, which Gettman said was a credit to defensive coordinator Mike Schaan’s game plan.

“He had the kids prepared for what was in front of them,” said Gettman, noting the defense was mentally dialed in all night.

Cascade Christian’s losses this season have been to 4A Marist, No. 2-ranked Siuslaw and now South Umpqua, three teams that have a combined 21-1 record on the season. The Challengers play host to Sutherlin next Friday to close the regular season, before awaiting their seeding for the 3A playoffs.

“That’s the message to the team — we got to grow, take these losses and learn to grow with them,” Gettman said.

South Umpqua7777—28

Cascade Christian07712—26

SU — J. Johnson 9 run (Moros kick)

CC — Reed 3 run (Knobloch-Scott kick)

SU — Jenks 1 run (Moros kick)

SU — C. Johnson 63 pass from J. Johnson (Moros kick)

CC — Maurer 7 pass from Reed (Knobloch-Scott kick)

CC — Reed 8 run (kick failed)

SU — Simpson 49 pass from J. Johnson (Moros kick)

CC — Reed 9 run (pass failed)

Reach reporter Will Denner at 541-776-4480 or wdenner@rosebudmedia.com.

Cascade Christian's Brody Sample fights through South Umpqua defenders at U.S/ Cellular on Friday. (Larry Stauth Jr. / for the Mail Tribune)
Cascade Christian quarterback Keith Reed attempts to run the ball through South Umpqua defenders at U.S. Cellular on Friday. (Larry Stauth Jr. / for the Mail Tribune)
Cascade Christian receiver Peyton Maurer reaches high above the linemen to pull down the reception against South Umpqua at U.S. Cellular on Friday. (Larry Stauth Jr. / for the Mail Tribune)
Cascade Christian running back Triston Wallace races up to the line against South Umpqua at U.S. Cellular on Friday. (Larry Stauth Jr. / for the Mail Tribune)
Cascade Christian quarterback Keith Reed prepares to hand the ball to running back Triston Wallace against South Umpqua at U.S. Cellular on Friday. (Larry Stauth Jr. / for the Mail Tribune)
Cascade Christian quarterback Keith Reed attempts to stretch for extra yards against South Umpqua at U.S. Cellular on Friday. (Larry Stauth Jr. / for the Mail Tribune)