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Benson rebounds after slow start

Minutemen rough up the Roughriders (this is the teaser head for the front page photo)

Even with an 0-4 record coming in, Benson didn't look like a team that has given up on reaching the state playoffs during Friday's 24-17 victory over Franklin at Mike Walsh Field.

The best indicator came when Jonathan Stephens ran 56 yards for a score on the final play of the first half, giving the Techmen an 18-0 lead. Left tackle Nick Olson ran 20 yards downfield to block Franklin safety Jeff Pry and spring Stephens for the score.

Stephens, a senior running back, finished with 224 yards and two touchdowns. Junior fullback Trent Davis added 106 yards on 21 carries as Benson moved into a four-way tie for second in the PIL's Columbia Division.

If Benson finishes second in the division, it will play Oct. 31 against the No. 2 team from the Willamette Division for a spot in the state playoffs.

'If we keep playing like we can, and our line blocks like it did today, we know we have a shot,' Stephens says. 'We all still think we can get to the state playoffs.'

Benson's four losses were to Newberg, Hood River, Jefferson and Marshall Ñ all teams that could make the playoffs, so the Techmen have been learning from quality opponents.

Benson piled up 336 yards on the ground against Franklin and held the Quakers to 212 yards of total offense. Franklin receiver Thip Vongbouthy had six catches for 95 yards.

Benson meets Lincoln on Thursday night at Mike Walsh Field, with both teams needing a win to keep their playoff hopes intact. Lincoln coach Bill Griffin is hoping his team will control its knack for attracting penalties. In a 34-14 win over Madison on Friday, the Cardinals had two touchdowns called back.

This week's big game in the Portland Interscholastic League features Jefferson (4-1 overall, 3-0 in league) at Wilson (5-0, 3-0). Jefferson ran over Cleveland 50-14 on Friday, while Wilson tuned up with a 37-0 victory over Grant.

Thursday's Marshall at Cleveland game will be carried live on KBPS (1450 AM) at 3:30 p.m. It'll be the first live broadcast of a PIL game since 1995, when the station began renting its evening hours to KPSU, Portland State's student-run station.

Also, Cleveland has moved its Oct. 19 homecoming game to Oct. 18. The game will start at 3 p.m., Athletic Director Mike Shanahan says. The change is partially to accommodate all the players taking the SAT on Oct. 19.

MORE FOOTBALL: Central Catholic linebacker Carl Appleton isn't shy about his team's performance since its 61-59 loss to Jesuit on Aug. 30. Since then, the Rams (4-1, 3-0 Mount Hood Conference) have given up just 13 points and shut out two teams.

'We just needed to get ourselves settled,' Appleton said Friday, after the Rams beat Parkrose 61-0. 'If we had played Jesuit the next week, we would have won by 40.'

The Rams play Barlow this week.

'I don't know much about Barlow,' Appleton said. 'But I know they're going to lose (this) week. And by a lot.'

SOCCER: Grant rallied from a 1-0 deficit and beat Lincoln 2-1 Friday at Mike Walsh Field in a key girls game. Ericka Volker and Alyssa Kessler scored for Grant, which took a big step toward its third straight PIL title.

'The league title is our minor goal,' Kessler sats. 'Our major goal is to play to our potential. If we do that, good things will happen for us.'

Today's big game, also at Mike Walsh Field, features defending league champion Wilson at Lincoln. The Trojans, who have won or tied for the league title in 12 straight years, are 2-0-1, so a win is crucial to their title hopes. Lincoln is 3-0 and tied with Grant atop the PIL standings.

VOLLEYBALL: Lincoln and Benson, battling for the PIL lead, play at 6 p.m. today at Benson. The Techsters also play Grant as part of the five-team mini-tournament that begins at 4:30 p.m.

Many of the top teams in the state will be in Bend on Saturday for the Clearwater Classic.

CROSS COUNTRY: Grant, Lincoln and Central Catholic, three schools that avoided a full-scale battle last week at the PIL-Mt. Hood Crossover because they were all recovering from the Stanford Invitational the previous weekend, will race Wednesday at Franklin. Alec Wall and Joaquin Chapa of Grant, Galen Rupp of Central Catholic and Mike McGrath of Lincoln figure to be at the front of the boys race.

LINCOLN: McGrath has given a verbal commitment to run track at the University of Oregon, joining Grant senior Wall in heading for Eugene.

The Lincoln boys basketball team will play in an invitational tournament in Hawaii in December and are busy raising funds for the trip. The Cardinals, featuring 6-4 sophomore Latravis Turner, are likely to be one of the top teams in Oregon this season. In Hawaii, they will be in a field of 16 teams that includes Crenshaw and Fairfax of Los Angeles and a team from Italy.

'We wanted to be in the Les Schwab Invitational, but we didn't get invited,' Lincoln coach Troy Berry says. 'So we're going to Hawaii instead.'

Contact Cliff Pfenning at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .