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Rams continue roll with 48-27 win over Thurston

by: jaimE VALDEZ Hayward Demison flies to a touchdown from 50 yards early in Central Catholic's playoff victory over Thurston at Jeld-Wen Field.

Though temperatures dropped to borderline freezing Friday night, Central Catholic High continued its hot streak at Jeld-Wen Field.

The Rams put away visiting Thurston 48-27 in the second round of the Oregon School Activities Association Class 6A playoffs.

Now winners of eight games in a row, the 9-2 Rams are headed for a match-up with Oregon City, which finished fourth in the Three Rivers League and beat visiting David Douglas 28-18 on Friday.

Central Catholic defeated David Douglas 30-20 on Sept. 30. It was win No. 2 in a row for the Rams.

'We'll go as far as our kids will let us go,' Central Catholic coach Steve Pyne said. 'I think we can play with anybody in the state, but you've got to do it one (game) at a time. We've been telling our kids, 'Don't exhale.' '

The first quarter at Jeld-Wen turned into a circus of offensive production, with Central Catholic leading 28-21 after the 12 minutes of flurry.

After a 74-yard touchdown run by Colts running back Trevor Westover, Central senior quarterback Ben Cook found all-Mt. Hood Conference wide receiver Beau Duronslet, who took a quick screen pass up the left sideline for a 52-yard score.

Coming into the game, all-MHC running back Hayward Demison needed 122 rushing yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the season. The senior needed jst two attempts to get there.

Demison took his first carry up the middle through a gaping hole and went untouched for a 50-yard TD. On the next series, Demison got the carry from the Rams' 25-yard line, bounced outside and torched the Colts' defense, going all the way to the end zone.

'We want to play using that six inches between our ears,' Demison said. 'We came out with a mental focus. We wanted to play hard and get a victory.'

The Colts scored another touchdown on their next offensive series, tying the game at 21-21.

After a failed onside kick by Thurston, the Rams were given a short field, and Demison made them pay again. The offense moved quickly, and with 31 seconds left in the quarter, Demison punched it into the end zone from 4 yards - dragging defenders with him.

'Hayward was the man tonight, and our offensive line did a great job again,' Pyne said. 'What a nice thing to have.'

Thurston put another touchdown on the scoreboard, but Central Catholic sophomore Chase Cole blocked the extra point, sparking another scoring drive.

The offense continued to ride the strong play of Demison, who ran for gains of 18 and 10 yards on the drive. Cook finished off the series, finding his tight end Max Rompa for a 4-yard touchdown.

Central Catholic went into halftime on top 35-27.

The scoring frenzy finally subsided after that, and the defensive intensity picked up for the rest of the game.

Led by Alex Balducci, MHC defensive player of the year and a future Oregon Duck, the Rams' defense did not allow another score.

To begin the second half, Central Catholic forced a three-and-out. The punt attempt was botched, and the Rams recovered the football on the 8-yard line. Two plays later, Demison was in the end zone again, this time from three yards.

Demison finished with 20 carries for 262 yards and four touchdowns.

After what Pyne called a 'tough first half,' all-MHC linebacker Mick Hartwig sacked Colts quarterback Chad Olson, causing him to fumble.

'He really responded in the second half,' Pyne said, of Hartwig. 'He's the heart and soul of our defense. He lives, breathes and dies Rams football.'

Hartwig's sack and forced fumbled led to another Central Catholic touchdown. Cook hit receiver Lawrence Wilson for a 14-yard grab in the back of the end zone.

Cook connected on 8 of 11 passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns.

Central Catholic's defense forced two more Thurston turnovers, as Olson was picked off twice by Rams linebacker Xavier Griggs.

Griggs "came up big,' Pyne said, of the 190-pound junior. 'I thought our defensive line and linebackers did a great job of flattening out and making (Westover) run to the sidelines.

'They're a very good team, and we were fortunate to get out of here with a win.'