Sherwood starts off strong and then holds off Ashland
Football: Mooney picks off three passes in the 14-3 state playoff quarterfinal win
SHERWOOD - It wasn't the best of games for Sherwood's offense.
But the Bowmen defense more than made up for that.
The Sherwood High School football team scored 14 first-quarter points and made that stand up as it powered its way to a 14-3 win over Ashland in a Class 5A state playoff quarterfinal contest played Friday at Sherwood High School.
'It was good,' said Sherwood senior quarterback Dusty Crabtree, who had a 40-yard touchdown pass in the victory. 'We didn't have a big game on offense, but our defense came through.'
'Our defense stepped up when we needed it,' said Bowmen senior Connor Munro, who caught Crabtree's touchdown toss. 'We weren't really clicking on offense, but we got the tough yards when we needed them.'
Ashland, the No. 2 team out of the Midwestern League, finished its season with a final overall record of 8-3. Sherwood, the No. 1 team from the Northwest Oregon Conference, improved to 12-0 on the season with the victory, the 25th straight for the defending Class 5A state champions.
The Bowmen also advance to the semifinal round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
They'll face West Albany Friday in a state semifinal game set to start at noon at Willamette University in Salem.
Sherwood likely will be more prepared for the semifinal test after fighting off Ashland in last Friday's quarterfinal bout.
'I think that having a challenge like that will make us better,' Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence said.
Sherwood, in the victory over the Grizzlies, got a big game on defense from junior Cyrus Mooney, who started at safety in place of injured senior A.J. Spencer.
Mooney had three interceptions in the game. The first two set up Bowmen touchdowns while his third interception, coming late in the contest, all but clinched the Bowmen victory.
'He did a fabulous job,' Lawrence said of Mooney. 'He came through and stepped up. That's the good thing about this team. When we lose guys to injury, we have other guys come in and step up.'
Mooney's first interception of the contest helped set up Crabtree's 40-yard touchdown pass to Munro. Senior Nate Montgomery added the first of his two extra-point kicks to give the Bowmen a 7-0 lead with 4 minutes and 44 seconds left in the first quarter.
Another Mooney interception set up Sherwood's other touchdown in the opening period.
Following the turnover, the Bowmen got a 25-yard touchdown run by senior halfback Paul Dodson to up the margin to 14-0.
Sherwood wouldn't be able to score again, but thanks to the Bowmen defense, it didn't have to.
The Grizzlies got a 22-yard field goal from senior kicker Ian Wurfl in the second quarter to trim the Bowmen lead to 14-3, but neither team was able to score in the second half.
Mooney's third interception, coming with 2:07 left in the contest, capped off the victory.
'They were averaging 38 points a game, so, to shut them down says a lot,' Lawrence said. 'We got our scores quick, and after that our defense did a great job.'
The Bowmen defense limited Ashland to 191 yards of total offense in the contest.
Sherwood had six quarterback sacks, with defensive linemen Zane Groves and John Powers each having one-and-a-half sacks. Dylan Flannery, Andrew Hennings and Jordan Kurahara each added a quarterback sack.
Sherwood senior linebacker Travis Dyer had 12 solo tackles and five assists. Flannery had 10 solo tackles. Meanwhile, Mooney had 72 return yards on his three interceptions.
Dodson rushed for 68 yards on 10 carries and Dyer had 68 rushing yards on 11 carries to lead the Sherwood offense.
Crabtree completed one of seven pass attempts for 40 yards.
For Ashland, sophomore quarterback Danial White rushed for a team-high 61 yards on 20 carries and he also completed seven of 19 pass attempts for 35 yards.