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Upset special

Southridge forces seven turnovers and survives a late Jesuit rally to win
by: Miles Vance TO TIME — Southridge junior Devin McRae (left) — here with teammate Eric Scruggs — celebrates after recovering a fumble in his team’s 21-20 victory over Jesuit at Southridge High School on Friday.

BEAVERTON - Numbers don't always tell the whole story.

Just listen to some of the stats from Friday's Jesuit-at-Southridge football game.

The Crusaders rushed for 340 yards, passed for 100 more, and outgained the Skyhawks more than two to one. Further, Jesuit completed more passes, were assessed fewer penalties, and got more first downs by a 22-6 margin.

Despite all that, Southridge walked away with a 21-20 upset win at Southridge High School that lifted the Skyhawks into a first-place tie with the fifth-ranked Crusaders, each team at 3-1.

But the reason for that win was in the numbers too. In this case, the number that counted was 'six,' representing the number of times Jesuit turned the ball over, three times by lost fumbles and three more times through interceptions.

'We're a team. We're family,' said Southridge junior linebacker Matt McRae, who picked off a Jesuit pass and took it back for a touchdown and also recovered a Crusader fumble. 'As a team, we can do anything, we can accomplish anything.'

'I told you ... that this team is special,' said Southridge quarterback Reza Aleaziz, who led his team on two second-half scoring drives. 'It doesn't matter how you start, it's how you finish, and we definitely finished that game. We played our hearts out.'

With one week left, Southridge (4-4 overall) can clinch at least a share of the 2011 Metro League championship with a win over Westview (2-2 in league, 2-6 overall) at Southridge High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Jesuit, meanwhile, knew that it had wasted a golden opportunity after turning the ball over six times in the game and missing an extra point with 31 seconds left on the clock that would have tied the score and likely forced overtime.

'Little things haunt you, and they haunted us tonight,' said Jesuit junior tailback AJ Glass, who ran for 238 yards and two touchdowns, but also fumbled the ball away twice.

'But we're going to get back at Beaverton on Friday. I'm going to stop making those mistakes and we're going to get rolling.'

'We had a couple plays that didn't go our way, but we've got to come out next week and we've got to be better,' said Jesuit senior quarterback Patrick Roy, who came off the bench for injured starter Nicholas Rothstein in the second quarter and led his team on three second-half scoring drives. 'Any time you have the number of turnovers we did, it's going to be tough to win.'

Friday's first half was a back-and forth affair that featured five Jesuit turnovers, five Southridge punts and likely would have been a 0-0 tie except for McRae's interception and 85-yard TD return with 2 minutes, 13 seconds left in the first half.

Jesuit's first-half turnover problems went like this: Southridge's Matt Miller stopped Jesuit's first drive with an interception of Rothstein at the Skyhawk 38; Glass fumbled the ball away to McRae at the Hawks' 43 on Jesuit's next series; on the Crusaders' third possession, Glass fumbled the ball away to Miller at the Southridge 15; McRae came through with his pick of Roy and long TD return late in the first half ('That was fun,' McRae said. 'That felt great'); and Kevin McClean ended the half by intercepting Joseph Graham's halfback pass with 1:22 to go in the half.

But things heated up in the second half, starting when Jesuit drove 80 yards to open the third and tied the game at 7-7 on a 2-yard Glass scoring run and Ryan Cope's extra point.

Jesuit pushed ahead 14-7 two series later, this time marching 76 yards in six plays, with senior tailback Morgan Sellers breaking off a 51-yard TD run with 3:26 to go in the third.

Southridge tied the game on its ensuing possession, getting a 43-yard Devin Martinez run and a 15-yard Aleaziz-to-Justin Calo completion that set up Aleaziz's 1-yard sneak with 1:18 remaining in the third frame.

The turnover bug bit Jesuit again on its next drive and bit it hard. Glass took Southridge's kickoff back 52 yards to the Skyhawks' 46, and from there, Sellers picked up 33 yards on six carries before fumbling the ball away to Southridge's Alec Powell at the Skyhawk 5-yard line.

Southridge punted the ball away four plays later, but got it back after Cope missed a 40-yard field goal for Jesuit. Then, operating from its 20-yard line, Southridge scored in just two plays, first getting a 32-yard Aleaziz-to-Jordan Morgan completion, then a 53-yard Martinez TD run with 4:31 left that pushed Southridge ahead 21-14.

Jesuit wasn't done yet, though. The Crusaders drove 87 yards in 15 plays, converting two fourth-down plays to keep their drive alive, with Roy going 5-for-8 for 66 yards on the series, and Glass getting the TD on a 2-yard run with 31 seconds to go.

But Cope, who also missed a field goal attempt of 37 yards in the first half, missed the ensuing extra point and Southridge walked off with the 21-20 victory.

'I don't think we've ever played that well on defense, not this year and maybe not last year,' Aleaziz said.

'I knew we had it,' McRae added. 'I knew we could pull it through.'

Martinez led Southridge with 140 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, while Jesuit's Roy went 9-of-13 passing for 99 yards, with Adam Winterling making four catches for 45 yards.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.