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Beaverton football shocks state, upsets Sprague

Noyer hits Marcille for two-point score


by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Beaverton quarterback Sam Noyer hit Stephen Marcille for the game-winning two-point conversion against Sprague to send the Beavers to the second round of the 6A playoffs.

The play selection wasn't so much a calculated risk, as it was a gut feeling to go for the win.

Trailing 34-27 in overtime on the road against Sprague on Friday, the Beaverton football team scored to pull within 34-33. Conventional thinking says the Beavers could've kicked the extra point with talented kicker Cole Cooper, and extended the game to another extra session.

However, as the Beaver fans went nuts in the bleachers, head coach Bob Boyer opted to go for the two-point try and waved his offense back onto the field.

“The longer you go in overtime, the more opportunities you have for mistakes,” said Boyer. “It only took us a couple plays to get in there, and score, so I was feeling good about us going ahead and going for it. I believed in the kids and told them to make something happen.”

With their coach's confidence behind them, sophomore quarterback Sam Noyer rolled right and hit Stephen Marcille on a quick out for the game-winning two-point score to send Beaverton home with a 35-34 overtime win, and a berth in the second round of the 6A playoffs versus Canby.

“That was pretty exciting, a lot of pandemonium going on,” said Boyer. “With our hurry-up offense, we didn't have a whole lot of time to sit and talk with our guys out on the field. The coaches on the sidelines decided to go for the win and see what happens.”

Boyer's been pushing the right buttons all year long at the helm from starting Noyer as an unproven sophomore to trusting his junior class to learn on the go to featuring Grant Johnson at running back. The veteran head coach's latest gutsy maneuver steered the young Beavers into the second round and put them on the doorstep of the quarterfinals.

“This is the biggest game these guys have played in,” noted Boyer. “Going down, and doing that against the No. 5 team, they feel pretty good about that. The kids right now believe they can do anything. I think we're playing some of our best ball right now, and this is just going to springboard into this week.”

The Beaver defense did a good job of containing Sprague's running game at the right times and made the important tackles when it looked like the Olympians had the momentum on the ground. Beaverton forced a three-and-out on the first possesion, which led to a Noyer-to-Marcille 27-yard touchdown to go up 7-0.

“The kids were ready to play,” said Boyer. “With a young team, you're never quite sure if they're going to be too loose or too tight. But, after the first couple series, I knew the guys were in it.”

Sprague took a 20-13 lead at halftime, but junior running back Chidubem Nnoli ripped off a 23-yard touchdown run with 2:57 to go in the third to pull Beaverton even, 20-20. The Olympians responded with a 12-yard touchdown pass to regain the lead 27-20 in the fourth quarter. Yet, with 4:45 remaining in the final stanza, Noyer hooked up with Marcille for another 27-yard touchdown pass that deadlocked the contest at 27-27, and eventually led to the overtime period.

“There was no point where I felt our guys didn't believe they were going to win that game,” said Boyer. “We talked all week long about how (Beaverton) was the underdog, but nobody bothered to tell them that. They believed they were the better team, and they were going to go out, execute and get the job done. That's the way they played.”

Marcille led the Beavers with six catches for 124 yards and two scores. Noyer threw for 252 yards and two scores. Nnoli battled through a sore ankle for 57 hard-earned yards. Robby Valentine and Eric Hurd combined for 11 catches and 126 receiving yards.

As satisfying and shocking as the Sprague win was, Boyer said he's gotten more pleasure out of his maturing young team already putting the triumph behind them and zeroing in on Canby.

“It's not a giddy excitement right now,” said Boyer. “It's very workmanlike 'Let's get back out to practice and get going on the next team.' Sometimes it's hard for the coaches to focus on the next team, and to have the kids do that, it's huge. They're ready to see what we can do this week.”

In the playoffs, as Boyer said, teams can't truly relish their victories until the postseason is in the books. Canby is a team Beaverton is very familiar with, because both teams have attended the same spring passing camp for the past decade or so.

The Beavers aren't intimidated by the 12th-ranked Cougars. Boyer said they had decent success during the spring camp, and since all of Beaverton's squad has faced Canby in 7-on-7 situations, they're acquainted with the Cougars' ways on both sides of the football.

“It's be good, or be gone,” said Boyer. “The next week you have to be ready to go, and I think we're in the right mindset. That game is going to help us if we get in that situation again. To come out on top is awesome, but Canby is going to be a tall test. They're big, physical and aggressive.”

As the lowest seed remaining in the 6A playoffs, the 28th-ranked Beavers still feel they have a lot to prove, not only to the rest of the state, but to themselves as well. This season, Beaverton's grown up before Boyer's eyes in the Metro League and two postseason games. He believes they're ready to take on another challenge.

“The kids never backed down, even in the games we lost to Sunset, Southridge and Jesuit,” said Boyer. “When you start having that belief in each other and your team, that's a giant sign of confidence and growth for guys who don't have a lot of varsity experience. Against Thurston (a 49-28 play-in win last week), we started playing harder and faster. The kids were more physical and put more effort on the field and practice. Our kids have grown in that effort, of playing hard all the time.”




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