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Braves can't stay on top with rivalry game loss

Scappoose takes down No. 1 Banks, 30-14, in homecoming game

The game headed south early and just got worse as it went on for Banks.

Playing as the No. 1 team in the OSAA’s Class 4A power rankings for the first time this season, the Braves committed three first-half turnovers last Friday and never really found their footing against No. 9 Scappoose.

The 30-14 result knocked Banks from the ranks of the undefeated and left the two conference rivals with matching 4-1 overall records. But at 2-0 in Cowapa League play, it is the Indians who now occupy the driver’s seat for the league title. NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KENT FRASURE
 - Banks running back Donny McClean looks for running room during the Braves' 30-14 homecoming loss to Scappoose on Friday night.

“A lot of times this is a game that the winner gets the Cowapa League champs,” Scappoose quarterback Robert Lohman said after the contest while his teammates milled around near the south end zone. “It’s our first goal and we’re headed in the right direction right now.”

The visitors got it done behind the performances of a varied and consistent offense — which outgained Banks 424-280 in total yards — and a defense that prevented Banks from busting many big plays or developing an offensive rhythm. The Indians executed their game plan exactly how they wanted to.

“I think we knew we had the outside edge on them, so we were going to try to run the ball outside, run a lot of screens outside,” said running back Braden Clark, who scored in the third quarter. “We felt we had a lot better athletes on the outside.

“They had a really big D-line. They were popping us pretty good, so we weren’t trying to really run the ball up the middle as much. We were just trying to get the ball outside in space to athletes. We had a lot of speed, I think, so that ended up helping us in the end.”

To start the game, Banks stalled out on its first drive, but Scappoose didn’t fare any better, as McClean intercepted Lohman near midfield.

That seemed promising, but the tone didn’t hold and the Braves’ fortunes changed quickly. After Banks turned the ball over on downs on its next possession, the Indians drove back down the field and found paydirt when Lohman hit Mason Reardon with a 26-yard touchdown pass with 4:30 left in first quarter.

Scappoose didn’t take long to double its advantage. The score flipped 14-0 just a minute later, as Banks fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Indians recovered the ball on the Braves’ 29-yard line. That set up a four-play drive that ended with Lohman finding Brennan McNabb from 4 yards out.

After going down by two touchdowns, the closest Banks ever got again was when McClean bulled in from the 2-yard line with 7:47 remaining in the second quarter for a 14-7 score.

Most of the rest of the way was all Indians, though. The visitors went up 21-7 when Lohman scrambled into the end zone from the 1 with 1:40 left in the half, putting the advantage back at two touchdowns.

Before the halftime whistle, a Banks possession — and a prime opportunity — ended in yet another turnover. The Braves started the drive near midfield after a Scappoose personal foul penalty on the kickoff and drove to the 10 with less than 20 seconds remaining.

But a holding penalty had the home team going backward, and then on the final play of the half, J.D. Wack intercepted quarterback Jake Evans in the end zone to snuff out the scoring threat.

In the third quarter, the Indians picked up where they had left off, scoring on their first possession. After Lohman hit McNabb on fourth down near the Banks 25 to extend the drive, Clark ran up the right side of the field from the 12 to make it 27-7 Scappoose at the 8:29 mark.

The Indians did well in managing the clock when they had the ball in the fourth. Their only points of that period came when Eleanor Jones booted a 22-yard field goal with 1:01 remaining. The Braves finally managed a couple successful passes in a row on their last drive, which McClean finished off from the 12 with 6.2 seconds to go to account for the final score.

Afterward, McClean — whom the Indians could not stop but did well in containing — showed maturity in being able to express his disappointment and yet still see the big picture.

“Emotionally, I’m bummed. I mean, it was homecoming senior year, we’re playing Scappoose at home. I’m definitely bummed out,” he said. “But I know we’re a good football team. We’ll bounce back from this. We’ll make a good run.”

As for the Indians, they had a great time in this one.

“Everyone kept their heads straight and we just came out and rolled them,” Clark said. “It was a great team win. Everyone was just flying around. It was one of the most fun games I’ve ever played.”

For Scappoose, Lohman threw 14-for-26 for 142 yards, an interception and two touchdowns, and Clark had 14 carries for 93 yards and a score. Reardon added three catches for 102 yards and a TD.

McClean led Banks with 24 carries for 162 yards and both Braves TDs. Evans was 8-for-18 for 86 yards and an interception. Mitchell Merritt caught one pass for 41 yards and Jarom Malcom added two for 25 yards.

On defense, McClean and Milo Applebee recorded 13 total tackles apiece, while Trevor Thiessen and Twister McComas added 10 each.

Both Banks and Scappoose will play on Thursday instead of Friday this week. The Braves (4-1, 1-1) travel to Seaside (3-2, 1-1) that night for a 7 o’clock contest, while the Indians (4-1, 2-0) will host Valley Catholic (1-4, 0-2) at the same time.