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La Salle Falcons soar at Gladstone

Falcons knock off their top-ranked rivals 19-7


by: JAIME VALDEZ - La Salle Prep senior Colin Meisner (5) gets the jump on Gladstone defender Eric Prom (33) and hauls down a pass in the second quarter of last Fridays game. The 62-yard pass play set up a touchdown that put the Falcons on top 19-0.Rankings and records matter very little when it comes to athletic contests between rivals La Salle and Gladstone.

The defending state champion La Salle Falcons proved that in spades last Friday night, when they knocked off the top-ranked Gladstone Gladiators 19-7 at Gladstone, putting a damper on the Gladiators’ homecoming.

Gladstone entered the contest with a 4-0 record, while the unheralded Falcons were 2-2, having lost to McKinley of Hawaii (43-22) and to Philomath (38-34).

La Salle co-captain Mark Holenstein entered the game in the right frame of mind, and it showed following the game, when Holenstein remarked: “When you’re playing Gladstone, records don’t matter. It’s such a good rivalry....

“[This win] means a lot to me. It’s my senior year, and it might be the last time we play them....”

Holenstein and his teammates had additional motivation this year. A year ago they defeated Gladstone on a last-second field goal, and — because the officials lost track of downs — Holenstein’s winning field goal went through the uprights on a fifth-down play.

“I’ve had a little chip on my shoulder [since last year’s game],” Holenstein admitted. “It was a little extra motivation for this game.”

The Falcons last Friday scored all of their points in the first half, and defense was the story of the game. The Gladiators, who entered the game averaging 44 points an outing, struggled to sustain drives all night long. Their only touchdown was scored with under five minutes to play.

“Stopping their offense was definitely the key,” said La Salle senior co-captain Colin Meisner. “We knew they were going to run a lot of counters and dives. The key was shutting down the run, and we did that. Without the run, they had nothing.”

“Not taking anything away from La Salle, because they played well,” said Gladstone second co-captain Dalton Moe. “But I think we beat ourselves. We made a lot of mistakes — untimely penalties and turnovers. We shot ourselves in the foot.”

The Falcons were all business in the first half.

After stopping the Gladiators on downs at the La Salle 34, Holenstein orchestrated a 10-play drive and capped it off with a one-yard quarterback keeper for the touchdown.

Gladstone senior Ben Hunter blocked Holenstein’s PAT kick, but the Falcons had gained confidence by Gladstone’s inability to stop their offense.

A short out-of-bounds punt gained the Falcons possession at the midfield stripe on their next possession. Nine plays later, Meisner skipped into the end zone from one yard out, and it was a 13-0 game, with the first quarter winding down.

La Salle senior Alex Tetherow pounced on a fumbled punt early in the second quarter, and it appeared that La Salle was back in business.

Slowed by penalties, the Falcons punted again. Meisner’s punt pushed the Gladiators back to their own 7. Two plays later, Gladstone sophomore running back Handsome Smith danced through La Salle defenders 87 yards to the end zone, and it appeared that the Gladiators were coming to life.

However an illegal block brought Smith’s touchdown back.

The Gladiators punted, Holenstein connected with Meisner for a 62-yard pass that put the ball at the Gladstone 1-yard line, and the Falcons were back in business. La Salle sophomore running back Mike Bianca waltzed in from the one, and the Falcon lead was 19-0 with time winding down in the first half.

Neither team threatened in the second half, until Smith broke a 52-yard run for Gladstone’s only touchdown with 4:48 to play.

La Salle punted seven times in the second half, while Gladstone punted four times. The Falcons took four delay of game penalties in the fourth quarter, as they attempted to wind time off the clock.

Meisner had a big game all around for the Falcons, rushing 20 times for 96 yards and a touchdown, hauling down two passes for 95 yards, averaging 34 yards on nine punts, and intercepting a pass with 3:15 to play to end all Gladiator hopes of mounting a comeback.

“On both sides of the ball and special teams, he’s been a stud for us,” Holenstein said of Meisner. “He’s been doing it every week.”

Holenstein also had praise for cornerbacks Alex Soberanis and Michael Duarte and sophomore Brandon Falk for standout play on defense.

“For his first year playing football, he’s been doing really well,” Holenstein said of Falk.

Holenstein completed 9-of-24 passes for 147 yards.

The Falcons out-gained the Gladiators in total offense, 320- to 270 yards.

Bianca, a 6-0, 182 sophomore running back/linebacker, was La Salle’s leading tackler, with 12 solo tackles and one assist. Senior lineman Sam Eichhorn was in on nine tackles and junior lineman Ryan Cavanagh played a part in eight tackles.

Gladstone’s Handsome Smith finished up with 197 yards on 25 rushing plays, and he would have had a lot more had it not been for untimely penalties.

The Gladiators struggled with their passing game. Quarterbacks Austin Galvin and D.J. Williams combined to complete only 3-of-15 passes for 38 yards, and they were intercepted twice.

Moe said of the Gladiator loss, “I think it’ll motivate a lot of people. I think we’ll come back next week in practice and get after it.”

Holenstein said: “We’ve been improving every week in practice, and now we’re sharpening the sword....

“Our main goal is always a state championship, but we have to take it one game at a time from here on out, and not look past anybody. We’re getting better, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

The Falcons (3-2, 1-0) host North Marion (3-1, 0-1) this Friday, while Gladstone (4-1, 0-1) plays Estacada (4-1, 1-0) on the road. North Marion lost to Madras 46-18 last Friday, while Estacada defeated Molalla 6-0.

Rallying around junior running backs Dan Sherrell and Dalon Hudson, the Clackamas Cavaliers played ball control Friday night, as they bounced Lakeridge 45-21 in their Three Rivers League football opener.

Sherrell was a workhorse, as he picked up a career-high 284 yards and five touchdowns on 40 carries.

Hudson carried 22 times for 123 yards and he scored the Cavaliers’ first touchdown on a 9-yard run.

The Cavaliers were in charge from the get-go, outscoring their hosts 14-0 in the first quarter and 24-0 in the first half.

Sherrell scored on 50- and 11-yard runs before the intermission, and he added 3-, 4- and 20-yard dashes to paydirt after the break.

Clackamas junior quarterback Doonie Johnson and Clackamas senior wide receiver Erick Douglas III were tough to stop in the air. Johnson completed 8-for-14 passes for 69 yards, hitting Douglas III seven times for 66 yards.

Junior linebacker Zach Farnes had a huge game on defense, making 13 tackles and assisting on four more.

It was like night and day from a year ago, when the Cavaliers fell to the Pacers 63-21.

The win put the Cavaliers at 3-2 on the season (1-0 in league) heading into this Friday’s home game with West Linn (2-3, 0-1). The Lions got upended by the defending state champion Lake Oswego Lakers last Friday, 41-0.

Stelk is a handful

for Oregon City

The Oregon City Pioneers last Friday had their hands full in trying to slow Canby quarterback Sam Stelk in a 42-20 loss. The 6-5, 225-pound senior completed 9-of-16 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns, and he rushed 10 times for 82 yards and two more touchdowns. He completed passes to seven different receivers and he didn’t throw an interception.

The Pioneers dug themselves an early hole. With the score tied at 7-7, a fumbled punt at the Oregon City 46 led to a second Cougar touchdown.

A short time later, Canby safety Coby Cates intercepted a wayward aerial and returned it to the midfield stripe. Two plays later, Stelk hooked up with Cates for a 44-yard touchdown pass, and the Cougar lead was 21-7. Canby was in the drivers’ seat the rest of the way.

Canby stretched its advantage to 42-14 before Oregon City quarterback Jacob Tipton hit Matt Oades with an 8-yard scoring strike in the final minutes of the game.

Oregon City 5-8, 170-pound senior Mitchell Thompson continued on a mission, carrying the pigskin 26 times for 207 yards and one touchdown. It was the fourth straight, 200-plus-yard rushing game for Thompson, who has rushed for 1,174 yards and 12 touchdowns in five games this season.

Oregon City (3-2, 1-1) travels to Lincoln High School this Friday for a nonleague game with Grant (2-3). Gametime is 7 p.m. The Generals dropped a 36-33 barnburner to Sprague last Friday.

Canby (2-3, 1-0) will face a stiff challenge on Friday, when the Cougars entertain Lake Oswego (5-0, 1-0).

Next Tuesday (Oct. 9), the Oregon City Optimists will host their annual Oregon City/West Linn football breakfast at 6:30 a.m. at the Oregon City Elks Lodge. The breakfast is held each year in advance of the varsity game between the two schools, which this year will be played at West Linn on Thursday, Oct. 11.

The breakfast is open to the public. Tickets will be available at the door for $10.

Retired West Linn coach Ron Chappell, who coached at West Linn for 17 years, will be the featured speaker.

An historic night

for the Kingsmen

Last Friday was an historic night for Putnam’s football team. With a 68-40 win at Parkrose, the Kingsmen set a new school record for points scored in a game.

The old record was set way back in 1987, when the Kingsmen blanked Molalla 56-0 in their season opener, en route to a 5-4 record. That team was coached by Rusty Law, who coached the Kingsmen to an 11-1 record and the state quarterfinals in 1986.

Last Friday’s game was a dogfight until late in the third quarter and early in the fourth period, when the Kingsmen scored four straight touchdowns to rally from a 28-26 deficit to a 54-28 advantage. During the four-touchdown run, Putnam senior quarterback Max Bailey ran for a touchdown and passed to Eli Skiles for a touchdown, Skiles ran for a touchdown, and DeShawn Stephens returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown.

Skiles scored four touchdowns in the game, three of them on running plays. He picked up 49 yards in just seven rushing plays, and he hauled down three passes for 56 yards.

Bailey had a career night, completing 10-of-13 passes for 258 yards and four touchdowns, and rushing four times for 41 yards and a fifth touchdown.

Stephens (3 receptions for 134 yards) scored three touchdowns — on 75- and 54-yard pass receptions and on his punt return.

Senior wide receiver Devin Hegar scored a touchdown on a 41-yard reception.

Sophomore quarterback Josey Swain teamed up with Josh Bancroft for a 52-yard touchdown pass play as the game was winding down.

Tucker Fleischmann headed the Kingsmen ground attack, with eight carries for 82 yards.

The Kingsmen out-gained their hosts 472- to 379 yards in total offense.

The win kept the Kingsmen (2-3, 2-1) in the thick of things in the Northwest Oregon Conference title chase. Parkrose slipped to 0-3 in conference (2-3 overall) with the loss.

The Kingsmen host Liberty (1-4, 1-2) this Friday. The Falcons got blown out by Sherwood 61-20 last Friday. Liberty earned a narrow 33-30 victory over Putnam a year ago, en route to a 5-2 record in conference.

Mustangs get it

done at Sandy

Second-half defense was pivotal for the Milwaukie Mustangs last Friday, as they upped their season record to 4-1 (2-1 in league) with a 42-23 Northwest Oregon Conference win at Sandy.

Nursing a 30-23 lead at the halftime break, the Mustangs held the Pioneers scoreless after the intermission.

Kendrick Bourne upped the lead to 36-23 with a 35-yard touchdown pass reception from senior quarterback DaJuan Gant in the third quarter, and Richard Ramsey put the game on ice in the fourth quarter when he picked off a wayward aerial and returned the ball 79 yards for a touchdown and a 42-23 Mustang advantage.

Ramsey put the nails in the Pioneers’ coffin a short time later, chasing down Sandy wide receiver Karsten Short from behind to rob the Pioneers of what appeared to be a certain 73-yard touchdown pass play. Ramsey knocked the ball out of Short’s hands, and Milwaukie junior linebacker Brenton Oten pounced on the fumble to end any hopes of a late-game rally.

Bourne and Gant also sparked the Mustang defense with pass interceptions.

Gant had a break-out night on offense, completing 12-of-22 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns.

Bourne hauled down four passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns; Trevontae Anderson had four catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Ramsey headed the ground attack, picking up 161 yards and scoring two touchdowns in just nine rushing plays.

Ramsey raced 65 yards to the end zone the first time he touched the ball. The 5-10, 190-pound senior scored on a 47-yard run the second time he touched the ball to put the Mustangs up 22-16 at the end of the first quarter.

Sandy 6-6, 230-pound senior quarterback Justin Adams had a big night, completing 24-of-45 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown, and rushing 18 times for 82 yards and a touchdown.

The Mustangs earned a 499- to 348-yard advantage in total offense on the night.

The win avenged a 42-6 loss to the Pioneers a year ago.

Ranked 13th in Oregon Class 5A high school football, the Mustangs face a stiff challenge this Friday, when they entertain sixth-ranked Wilsonville (4-1, 3-0).

The Wildcats (4-1, 3-0) this season have league wins over St. Helens (64-21), Parkrose (35-14) and Putnam (51-14). They defeated 2011 state champion Mountain View 49-33 in a nonleague game last Friday. They beat Milwaukie 51-6 last year en route to going 6-1 in the NWOC and advancing to the state quarterfinals.

Milwaukie this season has outscored its first five opponents by an average tally of 40-26; Wilsonville has outscored its opponents by an average of 44-22.

The Mustangs have won four games in a row, after getting blown out by 2011 state finalist Sherwood in their Aug. 31 season opener. The Wildcats lost to Class 6A Sprague 30-20 in their season opener.