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Putnam defense shines in win over Oregon City

Kingsmen defeat Pioneers 24-8
by: ROLAND SIMMONS, Putnam quarterback Ryan Smith (8) receives pressure from Oregon City linebacker Andrew Forbito (52) during Friday night's 24-8 win over the Pioneers.

MILWAUKIE - The Rex Putnam Kingsmen used the big play and their defense to stop Oregon City 24-8 in a Three Rivers League football game played here Friday.

The Kingsmen rallied around senior tailback Joevonte Mayes to build a 14-0 lead by halftime. Mayes scored twice in the first half, capping off an 80-yard drive with a 9-yard sprint to paydirt, and breaking tackles on a 69-yard run for a second score.

Senior co-captain Paul Stirneman returned the second-half kickoff 85 yards for a third score, and the Kingsmen appeared to have the game in hand, leading 21-0.

'I've got to give my blockers credit [for the touchdown],' said Stirneman. 'They blocked great for me all day.'

'They're a pretty good team,' said Oregon City senior co-captain Jake Nelson. 'They've got some great athletes like Joevonte who can bust the big play if you aren't ready to play. They came ready to play tonight and we didn't.'

It was fortunate that Stirneman and Mayes broke the two big plays for touchdowns, because Mayes left the game shortly after Stirneman's touchdown, when both of his legs cramped up following a 37-yard punt return to the Oregon City 29.

Kelly McLeod used the field position to split the uprights for a 39-yard field goal. But Putnam's offense stalled without Mayes, and the Kingsmen went scoreless the rest of the way.

In Mayes' absence, Oregon City threatened to mount a comeback.

The Pioneers drove 72 yards in 10 plays, with Preston Christensen taking the ball in from the 2. Nelson passed to Trent Hartill for the two-point conversion, and the Pioneers were within 24-8, with 2-1/2 minutes remaining in the third period.

Oregon City got the ball back a minute later when the Kingsmen fumbled at midfield. Christensen broke a 35-yard run to move the ball to first-and-goal at the 3. But Putnam linebacker Scotty Oleson pounced on a fumble at the 2 to end the threat.

Oregon City threatened again as the game was winding down, but Stirneman leaped for an interception at the Kingsmen 24, and the game was in hand.

Oregon City ended up with a 291- to 248-yard edge in total offense, but four turnovers proved costly.

The Kingsmen (1-1, 3-1) return to league action next Friday when they meet West Linn (4-0, 2-0) on the road.

Stirneman commented on the upcoming game with the Lions, 'We don't look up nor down to any opponent. We just play Kingsmen football.'