Football -- The Bowmen rush for 368 yards in their 34-20 victory over the Spartans
HILLSBORO - For Sherwood, it was all about the run.
It was the running game that propelled the Bowmen to their big early lead. And it was the running game that Sherwood used to finally wrap up the victory.
The Sherwood High School football team, rushing for 368 yards on 53 carries, ran to a 34-20 win over Hillsboro in a Northwest Oregon Conference game played tonight at Hare Field.
'The line did an awesome job,' said Sherwood senior fullback Derek Kotowski, who ran for a game-high 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 24 carries. 'They opened some huge holes and all for the backs ran hard. It was a great job - it was an all-around effort.'
With the win, the No. 3-ranked Bowmen improved to 2-0 in Northwest Oregon Conference play while also moving to 4-1 on the season. Hillsboro, which came into the contest ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press Class 5A rankings, dropped to 0-2 in conference play and to 3-2 on the season.
'This is a big win,' Sherwood junior Travis Lutes said. 'We showed we can play with anyone.'
'This is huge,' Kotowski said. 'Hillsboro is right up there at the top of the league. This is one step toward the league championship that we want.'
Sherwood, behind the strong play of its offensive line, including Michael Worrell, Travis Boehm, Chris Horab, Nic Clure, James Peters and Spencer Wolfley, among others, ran the ball often and effectively early in the game.
The Bowmen - rushing for 231 yards on 27 carries in the first half - turned that rushing attack into a comfortable halftime lead.
Sherwood, the first time it had the ball, turned to that running game to grab the early lead. The Bowmen, behind runs of 12 yards by Kotowski, 17 yards by senior Bijan Tavazoie and eight yards by senior Jared Newell, marched 87 yards in 13 plays, culminating with senior quarterback Aaron Czyzewski's 3-yard touchdown pass to Wolfley, the Bowmen's senior tight end.
The TD, along with Brennan Hickok's extra-point kick, gave the Bowmen a 7-0 lead with 6 minutes and 11 seconds left in the first quarter.
Sherwood didn't waste any time adding onto that lead. A 27-yard run by Kotowski set up junior Sam Karpeles' 14-yard touchdown run up the middle, upping the margin to 14-0 with 2:58 left to play in the first quarter.
The running game also helped produce the next Sherwood score. Junior Travis Lutes ran 22 yards around right end down to the Spartan 23-yard line. On the next play, Tavazoie sprinted 23 yards to the end zone on an inside counter to push the margin to 21-0 with 10:18 to play in the second quarter.
Hillsboro, at that point, started to battle back. The Spartans cut the lead to 21-7 on a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Cory Bean with 4:00 remaining in the first half.
But Sherwood answered back before the half ended. Taking over at their own 45-yard line with 1:32 left in the quarter, the Bowmen quickly moved downfield. A 15-yard screen pass from Czyzewski to Kotowski and a 15-yard run by Newell moved the ball to the Spartan 8-yard line with 40 seconds left in the period.
On the next play, Kotowski, after taking a direct snap, scored on a run up the middle to push the lead to 28-7 at the intermission.
But Hillsboro came storming back in the second half. The Spartans, behind touchdown passes of 23 and 11 yards from Bean to senior Trevor Gates cut the Sherwood lead to 28-20 with 9:11 left in the contest.
The Spartans then had a chance to possibly tie the game, as they moved the ball to the Sherwood 38-yard with just over six minutes left to play. But that's when the Sherwood's defense stepped up. Bean's first-down pass attempt from the Sherwood 38 was incomplete. Sherwood sophomore Chase Thorson knocked down Bean's second-down pass. Wolfley put a heavy pass run on Bean on third down, leading to another incompletion.
On fourth down, Bean's pass sailed over the head of Trevor Rose.
'We had to step up on defense,' said Lutes, who plays at strong safety. 'We were still confident, but we had some ups and downs. But we got it done.'
From there, Sherwood turned to its running game to wrap up the victory. A 13-yard run by Kotowski and a 12-yard run by Karpeles set up Kotowski's second TD of the game, coming on a 21-yard run, upping the lead to 34-20 with 2:15 left to play.
'That felt great,' Kotowski said with a smile. 'The line did awesome. That was a huge hole.'
'I feel good about how we dominated on the offensive line,' Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence said. 'And the backs ran hard. Derek really ran hard tonight. It was very nice to get this win. This gives us a good indication of where we're at.'
In addition to Kotowski's big night, Tavazoie added 73 rushing yards on six carries and Karpeles ran for 44 yards on four carries. Czyzewski completed five of 10 passes for 40 yards.
'The line did an unbelievable job,' said Lutes, who ran for 37 yards on five carries. 'The line opened up the holes and all of the backs ran hard.'