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Skyhawks push Sheldon to the limit in loss

Southridge leads 14-0 and 21-14 before finally coming up short


EUGENE — Southridge's football team knew it had a tall order ahead of it on Friday night — battling perennial power Sheldon on the Irish's home field in both teams' 2012 season opener.

While the Skyhawks did not get the win they wanted so badly, they played very well and gave Sheldon all that it wanted and more before finally coming up on the short end of a 35-28 decision.

“They're a really good football team, but I was really proud of our kids,” said Southridge coach Doug Dean, following his first game as head coach after several years as the Skyhawks' defensive coordinator. “We came away from that game excited because we showed we have the ability to compete at a high level.”

Southridge showed that from the get-go on Friday night, pushing out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, kicking things off when quarterback A.J. Woodin connected with junior wide receiver Jordan Morgan for an 80-yard touchdown on the Skyhawks’ first play from scrimmage. Southridge added to that edge near the end of the period when tailback Devin Martinez broke a 25-yard run for a score and that 14-0 edge.

The Irish came back strong in the second quarter, though, getting a pair of touchdown runs from Connor Strahm, the first of those from 10 yards and the second from 22 to tie the game at 14-14. But Southridge answered before halftime when Woodin found Morgan for a 43-yard score that sent the Skyhawks into the break with a 21-14 lead.

Suitably roused, the Irish rallied in the second half and scored three unanswered touchdowns to take control. First, Sheldon got a 36-yard scoring strike from Taylor Allie to Mitchell Herbert to tie the game. Then, the Irish took their first lead at 28-21 when Allie scored on a 3-yard run.

Sheldon made it three straight when Kellen Strahm picked off a Woodin pass and took it back 20 yards to score, but Southridge wasn't quite done yet. Martinez came back with a 26-yard TD run that cut the gap to 35-28 with three minutes to play, but the Skyhawks weren't able to get the ball back before time ran out.

“We thought that if we held them to a three-and-out, we'd be able to make a run at them, but we weren't quite able to get it done,” Dean added.

For the game, Martinez finished with 21 carries for 125 yards, Woodin connected on 7-of-11 passes for 200 yards, and Morgan made five catches for 176 yards.

Connor Strahm led the Irish with 166 yards and two TDs.

On Friday, Southridge will host Tualatin at 7 p.m.