Siuslaw 40, Molalla 14
A stifling defense and Siuslaw’s explosive offense combined to send the Vikings to the quarterfinal round of the OSAA 4A football playoffs this week. The Far West League Champions took care of business on their home field Friday night with a 40-14 victory over Molalla, the 3rd place team out of the Tri-Valley Conference.
After a 13 yard kickoff return by the Indians’ Alex McGann, Molalla went to work at their own 36 yard line on their first possession. A Bryce Leedham run ended with a one yard loss to start things off so quarterback Drew Johnson went to the air on the next play where he connected with Michael Manns for a 45 yard reception. After an incomplete pass and a short loss by Leedham again, Jacob Thompson picked off Johnson’s third pass of the night on his own 3 yard line, returning it to the 7.
With 10:15 showing on the clock, the Vikings put together a 93 yard drive that ended on a 24 yard touchdown pass from John Johnson to Ryan Smitth to put Siuslaw up for good. It was Johnson’s first connection of the night after throwing 3 incompletions on the drive.
The Viking defense forced a 3-and-out punt by the Indians and the Vikings were set for their second possession of the night on the 50 yard line. After knocking Johnson for a 1-yard loss and limiting Sonny Tupua to a 2-yard gain, it appeared that the Molalla defense had figured out the key to slowing down Siuslaw’s success. But, on the third play of the drive Neal Larson exploded through the defensive secondary for a 27 yard run to set up a drive to the Molalla one yard line as time expired on the first quarter. Sonny Tupua capped the 50 yard, 11 play, 4-minute drive with a one yard touchdown run to start the second period.
Siuslaw dominated for the next 8 ½ minutes, forcing Molalla to turn it over on downs on the Vikings 22 yard line. An 88 yard drive led to Tupua’s 2nd touchdown run of the night with 6 seconds in the half and, due to a rare miss by exchange student Henrique Sotello the Vikings led 26-nothing at the half.
Siuslaw took the opening drive of the 2nd half 49 yards into the end zone for a 33-0 lead with 8 1.2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, then Ryan Smith picked off the second interception of they night from the arm of Drew Johnson, returning it 26 yards to give the Vikings first and goal just inside the 10. Three plays later Jacob Thompson caught his second touchdown pass of the season, a four-yarder across the middle to make it 40-nothing.
Another 3-and-out by the Indians prepared the Vikings for a short drive from the Molalla 43, but it stalled out on the 1 yard line where Siuslaw turned it over on downs after reserve running back Josh Iabachello was stopped on a fourth and goal from the 5. The drive brought out one negative incident of the night when junior lineman Jed Norberg was ejected from the game for throwing a punch. That altercation led to personal foul penalties against each team, but the Vikings ended up the worse for it after the ball was marched back to the 15 from the one.
The Indians didn’t take long to put a positive spin on things. After downing the ball on the one yard line following the kickoff, Drew Johnson connected with wide receiver Michael Manns for a 99 yard touchdown pass over the middle. Siuslaw then used mainly reserves to move the ball within reach of the end zone once again, stalling on a 4th and goal from the six… leaving the Indians on their own 1 yard line with the ball once again. That drive ended with the third Viking interception of the night. Drew Johnson had connected on two passes, a 16-yarder and a 14 yarder when he went across the middle for the third straight time, only to have it picked by Kody Stonelake who was immediately tackled on the Molalla 45.
Siuslaw would not score again, but did allow the Indians into the end zone on a 3-pass, 50-yard Molalla drive with 2:48 left.
Looking at the numbers
Sonny Tupua rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns, but it was Neal Larson that seemed to make the difference many times. He never found the end zone, but carried 22 times for 141 yards. Siuslaw amassed a total of 350 yards on the ground with 8 different ball carriers.
Despite missing on his first three passes, John Johnson ended with 6 of 11 on the night for 67 yard and two touchdowns, a 4-yarder to Jake Thompson and a 24 yarder to Ryan Smith. In all, five different receivers had catches on the night for 71 yards in the air, taking Siuslaw’s total offense over 400 yards for the third time this season.
The Vikings played the ‘takeaway’ game to exception this week, snagging 3 interceptions while giving up neither an interception, nor a fumble.
Penalties continue to be a sore spot for Siuslaw. They were flagged 13 times for 90 yards while Molalla was flagged 7 times for 53 yards and one ejection.
Significant Stats for Sonny
Sonny Tupua brought his career rushing total to 3866 yards, bringing him to the verge of becoming Siuslaw’s only 4,000 yard rusher. He continues to put distance between himself and the previous career rushing record of 3,032 yards set by Brent Sanford in 1989, 90 and 91.
With 1192 yards rushing Tupua also moves up to #13 on the single season rushing record. He’s already Number two (1460 yards in 2009) and #10 (1246 yards in 2010).
His rushing average per carry continues to be in the top four in a single season with 9.1. The best was Tristan Hartzell who averaged 10.3 yards per carry in 1995, followed by Brad Wilson at 9.3 in 1975 and David Mesa with 9.2 in 2006.
With three scores this week, that brings his total to 19 this season, bypassing David Mesa, Brent Sanford, Himself in 2009 and Scott Parker for number four on the single season record list. Wayne Jackson found the endzone 20 times in 1973, Tristan Hartzell 22 in ’95 and the most touchdowns in a single season were by Guy Mamac with 23 in 1998.
Tupua is a leader in the scoring category as well. He has 19 touchdowns and two conversions this season giving him 118 points, his second entry in the 100-point club (108 in 2009). He’s still number 8 on the single season scoring list with at least one more game to go.
But, his career accumulation has shattered previous records. So far he has scored 328 points in his career, the only person to break the 300 point barrier.
John Johnson has accumulated 1187 yards on 86 completions for 129 attempts and 5 interceptions. That puts him 14th overall on the single-season passing yardage list. The next mark to hit for him is 1245 yards, that would pass his own yardage mark from two years ago.
His career yardage of 2432 yards is 4th on the alltime career passing list. He’s displaced two other two-year quarterbacks, Nick Vavich from 85-86 and Brandon Little from 00-01. He would likely need another season to move up any higher. Number 3 is Gabe Haberly’s 4310 yards, Jef McClellan’s 4399 and Jacob Mitchell’s four year accumulation is a nearly unreachable 4,451 yards.
Old Number Seven is on track for the single season pass completion average mark however. With 86 of 129 so far this season he’s completed 66.7%, just a single completion behind Jacob Mitchell’s 67.7% from 2007 (136 of 201).
With 17 touchdown passes this year, John tied Jacob Mitchell’s 2008 mark for a piece of #4. He needs four more to remain tied with Mitchell’s 21 in 2007. Gabe Haberly holds the top two spots with 22 TDs in 2004 and 27 in 2003.
With six receivers catching 5 or more passes this season, it was going to be a tough job for any one to stand out, but Ryan Smith has converted 33 catches for 543 yards and 9 touchdowns. That puts him just outside the top 10 on the single season list at #11. In order to displace Jordan Rainwater (2005) he’ll need 18 more yards Friday night. If he picks up 24 yards he’ll displace Everett May’s mark from 1968. 130 yards would move him ahead of Hall of Famer Joe Hill and take him to #8.
Smith is one of the higher scoring receivers in a single season as well. His 9 catches for scores puts him in a 3-way tie with Everett May and Jordan Rainwater for the 5th most. One more ties him with 2007’s Anthoney Robinson, Jared Kreil has 11 in 2003 and 12 in 2004 and Collin Cram-Watkins has the most touchdown catches in a single season with 16 in 2003.
Dylan Alameda has had a successful year, he’s been the number two yardage king of catches with 21 for 369 yards putting him in the top 30.
Alameda leads the way on the current roster with career yardage from catches, more than doubling his previous accumulations from the past two years to give him 732 yards, still well short of the 1,000 yards he’ll need to crack into the top nine.
His 17.6 yard per average catch is the team’s best (with more than 3 catches).
The Tale of the Toe
Henrique Sotello’s string of 30 consecutive point after kicks ended in the 2nd quarter against Molalla when he missed on his third try of the night. There’s some dispute of that string from Dan Gray who kicked 20 in a row more than 30-years ago. That’s because a failed conversion was scored against Henrique in the game against South Umpqua when a bad snap resulted in John Johnson sprinting to the right to try to get in. He was stopped short and it was initially scored as a ‘miss’ for Sotello, but the book was corrected by a decree from the quarterback club the following week. That put Sotello’s previous (and only) miss of the year coming clear back on September 30th against Sutherlin. He’s 32 of 34 so far on the season with a 95.2% average. The current season high average was set in 1977 by Gray who went 23 of 25 for a 92% mark. He would need to attempt 16 more point afters in order to make the career list by the way.
Remember the Alameda
Moving to the other side of the ball, Dylan Alameda held at 13, his record setting mark for career interceptions.
Take it away maestro
As a team, Siuslaw continues to dominate in the takeaway categories with 20 interceptions and 16 fumble recoveries for a total of 36. That’s opposed to giving up 17 interceptions and 11 lost fumbles for 28 giveaways.
Dylan Alameda continues to be the team leader in that area with 6 interceptions on the year. Alex Snow has 2 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions and two Vikings have three takeaways, Kody Stonelake with 2 fumble and one pick, Jake Thompson also with 2 fumbles and a pick.
What’s the score?
Siuslaw has outscored their opponents 427 – 172 this season, averaging 42.7 points a game while giving up only 17.2. the most they scored was 49 against Brookings and North Bend, their lowest output was 34 against Sutherlin. Elmira scored 37 points and North Bend 35 against the Vikings, and Siuslaw has been unable to pitch a shutout, Newport scored only once, leaving Hans Peterson Field with 6 points on the night.
Siuslaw has outrushed opponents 2598 to 1446 and holds the edge in the air with 1392 yards to opponents’ 1205. That gives the Vikings a clear advantage of 3988 total yards to 2641.
Run it up the flagpole
The Vikings continue to lead in two other statistical categories that I’m sure they would rather not. They’ve been flagged 85 times for 646 yards this season while their opponents have been penalized 67 times with a loss of 531 yards in all.
The fewest flags were thrown in the South Umpqua game, one 15-yarder against the Vikings and two for 15 yards total against the Lancers. Siuslaw was flagged 13 times against Sutherlin and 13 against Molalla with the most penalty yardage, 105, against the Bulldogs.
Moving on to the Brackets
Two other Far West League Teams remain in contention this week. Douglas downed Stayton 45-13 in Winston on Friday night, then Saturday afternoon North Bend tamed the Ontario Tigers 48-15. Sweet Home fell to Baker 43-7, Klamath Union bounced the Newport Cubs 41-21, Central edged Gladstone 22-17 in the closest contest of the night; Elmira beat Banks 35-14; and La Salle Prep ran roughshod over Roosevelt 37-14.
Here are the matchups:
Friday afternoon, 1 PM, Klamath Union at Central in Monmouth.
Friday evening, Douglas at Elmira for a rematch.
Saturday, 1, Baker at Siuslaw
Saturday at 2, North Bend at La Salle Prep in Milwaukie.
It will be the winner of the Baker/Siuslaw and KU/Central matchup in one semifinal on 11/26 with the other semi being the winner of Elmira/Douglas going up against North Bend/La Salle.
I’m going with Siuslaw and Klamath Union in Cottage Grove (actually, if it’s Siuslaw and Central, it would still likely be in Cottage Grove)j.
The other one… Douglas and La Salle… that might wind up being a double header in Cottage Grove because of the desire for OSAA to go with neutral sites and turf fields this late in the season. Both semis are likely to be at Cottage Grove unless Baker beats Siuslaw, then OSAA would likely use that to justify moving all semis to Hillsboro, the site of the final game set for 12-3.