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Kicking it off with a bang

The Skyhawks win 45-7 over Beaverton in both teams' Metro openers
by: Miles Vance UP FOR GRABS — Southridge receiver Justin Calo (right) watches the ball bounce away after Beaverton’s Randy Salsedo (center) nearly made an interception during Southridge’s 45-7 home win on Friday.

BEAVERTON - Tick, tick, tick.

That was the sound of the Southridge football team as it prepared for its Friday night Metro League opener against Beaverton at Southridge High School.

Everybody knows what comes next.

The Skyhawks exploded for 28 points in the game's first 6 minutes and 9 seconds and used that fast start to fuel their 45-7 rout of the Beavers.

The win lifted Southridge's Metro League record to 1-0, gave it a second straight win, and helped improve its season record to 2-3. Next up, Southridge plays at Aloha (0-1 in Metro play, 2-3 overall) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

'Coming into this season, I thought we were highly underestimated,' said Southridge senior tailback Blake Wolfington, who scored two touchdowns and rushed for 144 yards on 25 carries. 'I felt like that would give us an advantage, and as the weeks have gone on, we've worked really hard and I think we've improved a lot.'

After that '0-3 start, it was typical that people thought we would just roll over, but no,' said Southridge junior quarterback Reza Aleaziz, who went 6-for-13 passing for 170 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. 'They're our hometown rival. We really wanted this one. We came out hard.'

Beaverton, meanwhile, lost for the second straight time and fell to 0-1 in Metro play and 2-3 overall. The Beavers host Sunset (0-1, 4-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Southridge's fast start 'was everything. Our heads went down and they never came back up,' said Beaverton junior linebacker Greg Marshall, who picked off an Aleaziz pass and took it back 37 yards for his team's lone score. 'After the first couple plays, they (hit) a couple big ones and we were just mentally beat at that point.'

As to that fast start, Southridge needed just one play to notch its first score, with Aleaziz connecting with junior wide receiver Justin Calo on the right side and Calo turning the play into a 69-yard touchdown just 19 seconds into the game.

Southridge was back in the end zone again 1:03 later when junior Alec Powell picked off a Kyle Eckrosh pass and returned it 46 yards for a two-touchdown lead. Munther Dajani added the second of his six extra points to make it 14-0.

Then, after a stop by the Southridge 'D' highlighted by Rhyce Pruit's sack of Eckrosh, Aleaziz went to work through the air again. This time, on the fourth play of his team's second offensive series, Aleaziz hit Derek Westhora over the middle and Westhora broke away for a 67-yard score and a 21-0 lead with 6:48 remaining in the first quarter.

To make matters worse, Beaverton fumbled away the ensuing kickoff and Matt Miller recovered for Southridge at the Beaverton 16-yard line. From there, on second down, Wolfington went off left tackle for a 10-yard TD and that dominating 28-0 lead.

Beaverton's offense came up empty again on its next possession too, but the Beaver 'D' made sure there would be no shutout this night. Marshall ended Southridge's next possession when he picked off an Aleaziz pass near the sideline and took it back 37 yards to score. Marshall added the PAT to make it 28-7 with 1:33 left in the quarter.

Beaverton then notched a quick stop that included a Brandon Cornwell sack of Aleaziz and raised hope that the Beavers might be able to cut Southridge's edge back to two TDs at the half.

But Southridge had other ideas. The Skyhawk 'D' forced a three-and-out, and Southridge's offense came back with a 12-play, 96-yard drive that took more than five minutes off the clock and ended when Wolfington broke free for a 35-yard scoring run with 4:39 left in the first half to extend his team's lead to 35-7 at the half.

Wolfington and his offensive line did most of the heavy lifting on that drive, with the senior tailback carrying seven times for 69 yards on the drive.

Aleaziz provided the lone touchdown of the game's final two quarters, hitting Brandon Brezic over the left side for a 7-yard TD two minutes into the fourth quarter. Alex Beekman added the final points of the game when he drilled a 37-yard field goal for Southridge later in the fourth.

'I think this gives our team a big confidence boost coming in for our homecoming game against Jesuit,' Wolfington said. 'People are going to need to look out for Southridge.'

'Defense wins games, and obviously, that shows with us,' Aleaziz added. 'When the defense plays like that, We can win anything.'

For the game, that Southridge defense held Beaverton to 141 yards in total offense and got interceptions from Powell, Mason Tanuvasa, Naji Saker and Jordan Morgan. Nick Houlemard led Beaverton rushers with 30 yards on five carries, while Eckrosh went 10-of-20 passing for 65 yards with three interceptions. Randy Salsedo led the Beavers with three catches for 39 yards.