Potter's hands craft Beaverton victory
CEDAR MILL - After relying on the run game in the first half, Beaverton went back to what it knows best - putting the ball in quarterback Austin Potter's hands and letting him work his magic.
That did the trick.
Potter led the Beavers on a furious second-half comeback, throwing three touchdowns and for more than 200 yards as Beaverton rallied from a 27-7 deficit late in the third quarter for a thrilling 34-33 victory Friday night at Sunset High School.
Potter's 22-yard touchdown strike to Joel Gross gave the Beavers the one-point lead with 1 minute, 33 seconds remaining. The Apollos marched to the Beaverton 12-yard line, but a 30-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left as time expired, putting a damper on Sunset's Homecoming game.
'We knew we could win. We just weren't putting things together in the first half,' said Beaverton senior wide receiver David Mabry, who had seven catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.
'We pulled together. Once I got that first touchdown, things kind of sparked for us.'
Mabry hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Potter with 2 minutes, 24 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 27-14 and ignite a 21-0 Beavers spurt.
Tyler McBee's seven-yard touchdown run gave Beaverton its first lead of the night at 28-27 with 5:04 left in the game after Gordo Izquierdo's extra point.
Sunset responded with a 58-yard drive capped by senior running back Tim Molloy's 1-yard touchdown run as the Apollos regained the lead with 3:04 remaining.
But the Beavers weren't done. After a nice 26-yard kickoff return by Gross, who had four catches for 82 yards, and a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Sunset, Beaverton started its game-winning drive at its own 49.
Potter went 6-for-6, completing three passes to both Mabry and Gross and marching the Beavers down the field. He capped the drive after scrambling right and tossing to Gross, who made the catch at the Sunset 1 and went into the end zone for a 34-33 lead.
'It was pretty crazy,' said Potter, who finished 16 of 24 for 258 yards and three touchdowns. 'Toward the end, we just wanted it more. We knew this was going to be a big game. We fought hard and got the job done. That was definitely one of my best football games ever.'
The victory moved Beaverton into sole possession of the Metro League's fourth and final playoff spot at 1-2 (3-5 overall). Sunset dropped its fourth straight game and fell to 0-3 in league play.
'Beaverton did a great job of putting themselves in position to be the fourth-place team,' Sunset coach Mike Mitchell said. 'They battled and kept coming back. I was real proud with how our kids played. They left everything on the field.'
The Apollos played a near flawless first half, using touchdown runs by Kevin Petermeyer (57 yards), Tim Molloy (four yards) and Kerry Degman (six yards) to take a 21-7 lead into halftime. Sunset expanded the advantage on its first possession of the second half when Molloy capped a 10-play, 38-yard touchdown drive with a two-yard plunge into the end zone with 4:27 left in the third quarter.
Potter and the Beavers caught fire from there on out, scoring on their final four possessions to pull out the victory. Potter aired it out to Mabry in the end zone for touchdown passes of 33 and 37 yards to draw Beaverton within 27-21.
'I think it was just Potter's ability to read the defense,' Mabry said. 'It was all him finding me. The passes couldn't have been any more perfect. I just had a concentrate and make the catch.'
Gross' 40-yard punt return set up Beaverton's go-ahead score. Potter found Alex Corona along the sideline for a 22-yard gain on third-and-9. He hooked up with Corona again for a 14-yard gain later in the drive to set up McBee's 7-yard touchdown run off the left tackle to give Beaverton a 28-27 lead.
Sunset responded with senior Kevin Petermeyer's 45-yard scamper to the Beavers' 1. Molloy plunged into paydirt for a 33-27 lead before Beaverton rallied one last time.
The Apollos' ground game was effective most of the night as Sunset gained 274 yards on 45 carries and ran for all five of its touchdowns. Petermeyer paced the Apollos, going in motion from his receiver spot and taking a quick handoff from quarterback Kyle Harper to gain 133 yards on 13 carries. Molloy (92 rushing yards) and Degman (45 yards) each had a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Beaverton ran the ball 12 of its 18 first-half plays with McBee gaining 53 yards before halftime. McBee, who missed much of the second half with an injury, finished with 70 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.