Central Catholic claims the Mount Hood Conference title with 42-14 win at Sandy
Sandy quarterback A.J. Schnell was out with a concussion.
The visiting Central Catholic Rams were up 35-0, ready to clinch their first conference title since 2002.
But Jake Fenwick refused to let his Sandy Pioneers lie down and die.
The senior all-purpose back took matters into his own hands and scored two fourth quarter touchdowns.
One was on a 25-yard criss-cross play. The other was a spectacular pick-up of a Joe Mafara fumble that Fenwick ran in from 44 yards out.
'I thought Jake played really well,' Sandy coach Todd Quinsey said. 'He plays with a lot of passion. That's what we love about him.'
Fenwick also intercepted a pass in the third quarter, killing a Central Catholic drive in the process.
If all that weren't enough, the multi-talented Fenwick filled-in at quarterback for Schnell until junior varsity player Colby Kersey was ready to go in the fourth quarter.
But Fenwick couldn't be everywhere at once, and that's probably the only thing that could've stopped Rams running back Jaden Kaufman.
Kaufman powered through the Sandy defense for four touchdowns, helping Central build its 35-0 lead.
The senior running back totaled 178 yards on 25 carries.
'(Kaufman) runs really well,' Quinsey said. 'He gives them an identity.'
Kaufman finally got a breather late in the third quarter, when Oregon State-bound lineman Kevin Frahm - of all people - got some red zone carries.
But to the Pioneers' credit, they stuffed Frahm on consecutive goal line plays, denying the future Beaver any William 'the Refrigerator' Perry-type notoriety.
Kaufman then returned for limited use in the fourth quarter before giving way to junior Kelly Rodella, who scored Central's final touchdown on an eight-yard run with 1:47 remaining.
'They're really good,' Quinsey said. '(But) they made a lot more mistakes than they usually do.'
Odds and ends: Schnell was knocked out of the game with a concussion but should be ready to play against Hood River Nov 3. 'He'll probably be fine,' Sandy trainer Stefanie Born said.
•Pat Grandy and Traven Lutz both recovered fumbles for the Pioneer defense, and Fenwick recovered two (one by teammate Joe Mafara and another by Central Catholic tight end Kevin Showalter).
The teams combined for a total of 11 fumbles.
•Sandy lineman Eric Anderson had a four-yard carry on Sandy's last offensive series.
•Fenwick had 107 yards rushing on 11 carries. He completed 1-of-3 passes for 20 yards.
•Sophomore quarterback Colby Kersey filled in for Schnell in the fourth quarter. Kersey had already played four quarters of junior varsity football the previous night.
Looking ahead: Sandy wraps up its season at Hood River on Nov. 3.
The Pioneers - for all intents and purposes - are out of the playoff race, as three of the Mount Hood Conference's top berths are locked up, and Centennial and Gresham have the inside track on the fourth and fifth spots.