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Bulldogs end Scappoose playoff run

Costly turnovers gave North Bend too many chances, as the Bulldogs escape with a 21-20 road victory.


by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Indian defenders Bryan McFeron (65) and Mychal Hortert (17) do their best to take down North Bend power back Mason Laird. At 5-foot-11, 210 pounds, Laird was a freight train for the Bulldogs, and a difficult task for the Indian defense to stop. After falling down by a pair of touchdowns, Scappoose made a furious second-half comeback, only to see their rally fall just short, snapping their title hopes and putting an end to one of the best seasons in recent memory. North Bend left town with a 21-20 win in hand, off to face Cottage Grove in the semi-finals.

Turnovers were what made the difference. No matter how stout the defense, few squads can overcome four miscues, as the Indians coughed up a pair of fumbles and a pair of interceptions. Two of the turnovers – a fumbled punt return in the first quarter and an interception in the third quarter – led to easy Bulldog touchdowns.

“That stuff is gonna happen,” said Head Coach Sean McNabb. “That's what I told the guys, I said ‘You know something? Maybe there's some mistakes. We can't just pinpoint one or two things. We had opportunities to make it happen.'”

Perhaps the wildest string of events occurred midway through the third quarter. Scappoose had just forced the Bulldogs to punt, but on the first play, a hard hit knocked the ball loose from the hands of Nick Rust. North Bend was able to jump on the ball, and four plays later got a huge fourth-down conversion, and then a power run by senior Mason Laird to set up first-and-goal at the three yard line. The defense stepped up, and forced the Bulldogs to turn the ball over on downs, but on the Indians' fourth play, Taj Wilson stepped up and picked off Taylor Loss, setting up a four-play, 26-yard touchdown drive to put the Bulldogs up 21-7.

Then the Indians turned to the feet of Carson Davison. Already having punched in the first touchdown for Scappoose, Davison carried four times on a nine-play, 56-yard drive, capped with a five-yard run from Davison to pull the Tribe to 21-14.

The Indians held North Bend down on the resulting possession, forcing a three-and-out, and once the ball was back in the home team's hands, they rumbled back down the field – once again with help from Davison – and completed an 11-play, 53-yard scoring drive. Now down just 21-20 with the extra point to come, it looked like a tie and possible overtime were in the works.

However, it was not to be. The extra point went awry, and though Scappoose was able to regain the ball, an interception by Laird put an end to the Indians' drive and stopped Scappoose in their tracks.

“I'll be alright, but it does hurt,” said senior quarterback Taylor Loss, who completed 22 of 36 passes for 288 yards. “(It) always hurts, losing in the playoffs. We wanted to get (to a championship), but a hard fought season is definitely nothing to be ashamed of.”

As with their other two losses this season, at Central and at Banks, the Indians struggled to get their high-powered offense going. North Bend defensive backs routinely knocked passes out of the hands of seniors Justice Oman and Nick Rust, stifling what is normally a blistering pass attack and for just the second time all season, excluding the shut out at Banks, Scappoose was unable to score a passing touchdown.

Much of the credit for slowing the Tribe's passing game rests on the shoulders of the North Bend defense, which has been one of the best in Class 4A this season, but even more impressive was the performance of the Scappoose defense on Bulldog quarterback Cameron Lucero.

“[Lucero] has had his way with everybody that he's played,” said McNabb. “Even in the game they lost, he was able to throw the ball all over the place and make tons of plays. I feel like we really held him in check.”

Though Lucero was able to make plays here and there, he was forced to abandon his lightning-quick running game in favor of the pass and a handoff to Laird. The stingy Indian defense kept Lucero from getting out of the backfield or attempting a rush whatsoever. Lucero had only 14 attempts in the game, and only five in the second half.

“They're a good team, definitely,” said senior linebacker Lionel Sandoval. “That's what it was. We came in a little lackadaisical. Just kinda played a little too lax. Defensive side, we did great. Offensively, we just needed to try to get things done a little earlier.”

In spite of the loss, Sandoval said it was little mistakes here and there, and that he was still proud of their hard-fought season, one which McNabb has continually said is one of the best he has led in his 14 years as head coach in Scappoose. For the game against North Bend, McNabb said he was happy the team gave everything they had in the season's final game.

“There are some things I would like to have back. Some calls, maybe something different in certain situations, but you can't second guess yourself,” he said. “You go out (and) play as hard as you can. Leave it on the field. I felt like our guys did that, and you can't walk off here feeling bad about that. They gave it their all. I'm proud of them for that.”

SUMMARY:

North Bend 0 13 8 0 – 21

Scappoose 0 7 7 6 – 20

First Downs

North Bend: 28

Scappoose: 27

Turnovers

North Bend: None

Scappoose: 4 – Fumbles (2), Interceptions (2)

Scoring:

Second Quarter

NBD – Drew Matthews 9 pass from Cameron Lucero (Gabby Hobson kick) 5:11

SCP – Carson Davison 1 run (Eleanor Jones kick) 2:28

NBD – Levi Rider 32 pass from Lucero (Hobson kick failed) :56

Third Quarter

NBD – Matthews 27 pass from Lucero (Ty Roane from Lucero) 4:06

Fourth Quarter

SCP – Davison 6 run (Jones kick failed) 7:46