League champs has a nice ring
With first title since 1947, Cleveland savors first 5A playoff berth
Cleveland couldn't have scripted it much better - the Warriors are in the state football playoffs for the first time since 1988, with their first league title since 1947.
A 28-22 victory Friday over Roosevelt, which came a week after a 30-23 home win against Jefferson, gave Cleveland the top spot in the new PIL 5A.
In 1947, when Cleveland was Commerce, it shared the PIL crown with Jefferson and Washington. But only eight teams total advanced to the state playoffs, and Jefferson represented the Portland league. Commerce also won the PIL in 1930, but any playoffs from that era are unofficial.
Friday at Roosevelt, Cleveland got two touchdowns on the ground from Taylor Avritt and two TD passes from Andy Johnson to Sam McIntyre, and McIntyre led a tough defense.
'Before the game, Coach (Todd Pasche) told us that every good football movie has a beginning and an ending,' McIntyre says. 'The Jefferson win was the beginning of our story - we had to scrap and come back against them - and he said we had to make the Roosevelt game the end of the story.'
The Warriors (5-2 overall) rely heavily on about 20 seniors, including two-way lineman Pete Curtis. 'A lot of us have been playing together since sixth grade,' he says. 'All the hard work has paid off. This team is really together, like a family. We just played our hearts out.'
• Cleveland will get a first-round bye in the 5A state playoffs, then open at home Nov. 17 or Nov. 18 in the 16-team second round against the Intermountain Conference runner-up. Bend, Mountain View and Pendleton are tied for second, one game behind Hermiston.
• Roosevelt also will be in the playoffs, opening in the second round on the road versus the Mid-Willamette champ (West Albany, Corvallis or Dallas).
• Franklin, Wilson and Benson still are in the running for the third and final playoff berth from PIL 6A. Franklin can eliminate Benson with a win on Friday. That would set up a decisive showdown Nov. 3, with Franklin at Wilson.
• Central Catholic and David Douglas are in great position to finish 1-2 in the Mount Hood Conference, which gets five teams in the 6A state playoffs. The Rams need to win Friday at Sandy and Nov. 3 at home against Centennial to finish 7-0 in league. David Douglas is 4-1 going into a home game Friday versus Hood River Valley. The Scots finish Nov. 3 at Gresham.
• Calvin Bair, part of Central Catholic's dominating defensive line, recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown as the Rams clubbed HRV 44-8 on Friday. That Ram front four includes Division I prospects Myles Wade, Kevin Frahm and Zach Ka'ahanui. Bair, meanwhile, is a first-year starter.
• Portland Christian, 8-0 and ranked No. 1 among 2A schools, plays host to Nestucca (7-1) on Friday in a game to decide the Northwest League title.
Neat story on Portland Christian: A couple of weeks ago, the Royals led Chemawa Indian School 51-0 at halftime. Throughout the second half, PC refused every penalty called on the Braves, including one call that gave Chemawa about 50 yards of field position. Portland Christian won 58-0 and left Salem with a few more fans.
• Other huge games set for Friday: Jesuit at Westview for control of the Metro League race and Sherwood at Wilsonville for the 5A Northwest Oregon Conference title. Lake Oswego plays a nonleague game at West Salem.