Saturday, October 18, 2008

{rebels clinch playoff bid}

South Albany football coach Tony Matta let his team know from the first day he took the reins last spring that he believed the Rebels were a playoff team.The players bought in, and Friday they proved their coach right.Sixth-ranked South rushed for 365 yards — including 247 in the first half — in a dominating 56-28 Mid-Willamette Conference win against visiting Crescent Valley.The victory wraps up a 5A state playoff berth with two weeks to go. The Rebels (7-1, 5-0 league) play at top-ranked West Albany (8-0, 5-0) next week.“Hard work pays off,” said senior running back Jesse Duke. “We’ve been working for four years now, and this is the outcome of it. We’re just playing like a team and getting it done.”Duke rushed 15 times for 79 yards and two first-half touchdowns.South junior Lane Stutzman scored on a 33-yard pass reception, a 3-yard run and a 70-yard interception return on the last play of the first half that gave the Rebels a 36-7 halftime lead.Sophomore Bryce Stutzman added two touchdown runs in the second half, including one for 68 yards on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter.“They really stacked it up well,” Matta said of Crescent Valley. “We had a couple long passes, and that really loosens it up a little bit.“That’s the best O-line we’ve had here in a long time.”That offensive line includes Jake Atkins, TJ Chapman, Steven Gonzalez, David Hardenbrook, Justin Robbins, Trever Rediger, Kyle Sprenkle and Bond Sumey.The line also protected quarterback Zac Hunter, who completed 5 of 10 passes for 109 yards, including a 43-yarder to Lane Stutzman for South’s first score.The Rebels led big at halftime, allowing them to enjoy the win a littler earlier.The seniors gathered after the game for a group picture with their coaches.“I feel excited for those senior kids who worked hard for four years and built on the legacy before them and continued to improve,” Matta said.It’s been a long road back to state for the Rebels. That’s particularly true the last two seasons, when South finished fifth in the Mid-Willamette and one game out of the state playoffs.In 2006, two of the Rebels’ league losses were by a total of seven points, including a 10-7 overtime defeat to Dallas.Last year, the season went right down to the final week, when Silverton defeated South for the final playoff spot.“The last two years we just didn’t click like we are this year,” Duke said.Added senior lineman Michael VanDoren: “We’re just better as a whole and making plays when we need to make them.”Crescent Valley (5-3, 3-2) entered the game with a chance to get closer to a playoff berth, but the odds are now slim with games against Corvallis (4-4, 4-1) and West Albany remaining.Andre Oglesby led the Raiders with 82 yards on 22 carries.South Albany 56, Crescent Valley 28Crescent Valley 7 0 7 14 — 28South Albany 24 12 13 7 — 56First quarterCV: Kiel Larkin 33 pass from Andre Oglesby (Jake Weber kick), 10:43SA: Lane Stutzman 43 pass from Zac Hunter (Jesse Duke run), 9:05SA: Duke 5 run (L. Stutzman run), 2:36SA: Greg Hoover 46 run (Hoover run), :33Second quarterSA: Duke 2 run (run failed), :11SA: L. Stutzman 70 interception return (run failed), :00Third quarterSA—Bryce Stutzman 68 run (Justin Robbins kick), 11:32CV—Olgesby 6 run (Weber kick), 5:45SA—L. Stutzman 3 run (kick failed), 2:24Fourth quarterSA—B. Stutzman 20 run (Robbins kick), 9:41CV—Wes Winningham 1 run (pass failed), 5:20CV—Grant Mattes 1 run (Daniel Ha run), :18Individual statisticsRushing: Crescent Valley, Oglesby 22-82, Dunning 3-14, Blunt 4-13, Paasch 3-12, Ransom 1-11, Park 3-7, Mattes 4-6, Ha 1-5, Winningham 2-4, Team 2-(minus-8); South Albany, Hoover 11-147, B. Stutzman 7-108, Duke 15-79, L. Stutzman 5-15, Savage 1-10, Lehman 1-3, DelReal 1-2, Chambers 1-2, Dibble 2-2, Team 2-(minus-3)Passing: Crescent Valley, Trujillo 7-10-1-74, Olgesby 1-1-0-33, 6-6-0-71; South Albany, Hunter 5-10-0-109Receiving: Crescent Valley, Ransom 5-68, Larkin 1-33, Dunning 2-27, Borgerson 3-26, Blunt 1-11, Cabell 1-7, Winningham 1-6; South Albany, L. Stutzman 2-63, Duke 2-46, Savage 1-0

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