Sherwood opens league play by rolling to a 58-13 victory over Liberty on Friday
SHERWOOD - If Sherwood had any concerns about competing in the newly formed Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference, they were put to rest Friday night.
The No. 3-ranked Bowmen (3-1) did more then compete. They completely dominated, annihilating Liberty 58-13 at Sherwood High School.
Sherwood piled up 513 total yards and took advantage of 10 turnovers, including seven lost fumbles, by the Falcons (2-2) in the league opener for both schools. The Bowmen led 28-7 at halftime and 49-7 after three quarters, allowing their junior varsity team to finish off the game by playing the entire fourth quarter.
'We wanted to make a statement that we're for real,' Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence said.
Point taken. The Bowmen, who were the Class 3A runner-up last year, ran for 336 yards and six touchdowns with 12 different players getting a least one carry and five finding the end zone.
Senior fullback Derek Kotowski led Sherwood with 78 yards and a pair of touchdowns on nine carries. Kotowski burst through the line and rumbled for a 47-yard touchdown to give the Bowmen a 16-0 lead early in the second quarter. He added a four-yard touchdown run with 8:23 left in the third quarter to cap his night and give Sherwood a 42-7 lead.
'It was a great way to start off the league,' Kotowski said. 'That was a lot of fun.'
The Bowmen also threw for 177 yards with senior quarterback Aaron Czyzewski completing 8 of 14 passes and tossing two touchdowns, including a 67-yard strike to tight end Spencer Wolfley on the first play of the second half.
'We were hoping for a closer game,' Czyzewski said. 'But I'm happy we came out and won big.'
The Falcons proved to be their own undoing. Six of Liberty's eight first-half possessions ended in turnovers. Things didn't get much better for the Falcons in the second half when they turned the ball over on their first four possessions. Sherwood scored 44 of its points after Liberty turnovers.
'It took us a little while to figure out their defense,' Lawrence said. 'But after that it was a piece of cake. They had a lot of turnovers that hurt them. You can't have that many turnovers and expect to win.'
The Bowmen's first drive went 70 yards on 12 plays, but stalled at the Falcons' 11 and Brennan Hickok connected for a 28-yard field goal to start the scoring.
Sherwood would strike quickly and often from there, scoring touchdowns on its next four possessions. Two of the drives last all of one play, while another took two to find paydirt after Czyzewski found Jared Newell along the sideline and Newell cut upfield for a 26-yard touchdown and 10-0 lead.
Kotowski's 47-yard touchdown run on the first play of the next possession made it 16-0. Liberty fumbled on the first play of the ensuing possession, Wolfley recovered and Sherwood went back to work.
Junior running back Sam Karpeles capped a 33-yard drive when he cut through a hole for a 7-yard touchdown run. The Falcons' turned the ball over on their third consecutive offensive play when Sherwood junior Travis Lutes intercepted Liberty quarterback Chad Malensek, returning it 22 yards to the Falcons' 23.
On the Bowmen's next play, senior running back Chris Kiser took a handoff through the middle, cut to the outside and down the Liberty sideline, slipping inside the pylon for a 23-yard touchdown and 28-0 lead.
Liberty finally got on the scoreboard with a touchdown late in the first half, but the third quarter would offer no reprieve for the Falcons.
The Bowmen's first play of the half was testament to that. Czyzewski found Wolfley wide open on a deep drag pattern behind the Falcons' secondary. Wolfley made the catch and raced down the Sherwood sideline for the 67-yard touchdown.
Kotowski capped the first-team offense's night when he shot through a big hole for a 4-yard touchdown and 42-7 lead with 8:23 left in the third.
Six minutes later, Newell scored his second touchdown of the game on a 43-yard run to make it 49-7.
After a tough preseason schedule, the blowout was a nice break for the Bowmen and confirmation that trips to No. 9 Crater and No. 1 West Albany paid off. It was also a nice bounce back after a 28-21 loss to West Albany last Friday.
'This gave us some confidence about what we can do at the 5A level,' Czyzewski said.
'We had some good games to get us started,' Kotowski said. 'We prepared like they were the best team in the league. We didn't know what to expect.'
What they got was a team overmatched, even with the reserves in. Sherwood's junior varsity team got into the act late in the game. Sophomore running back Tyler Dickson headed left then cut back across the field and dove over the pylon for a 38-yard TD.
'That's awesome,' said Kotowski, whose younger brother Joseph is the center on the JV team. 'Some of the seniors have brothers on the JV team that we don't usually get to see play. It was a lot of fun to see the future of the program.'