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Football: Lions fall to Sandy, will close season at North Eugene

Sophomore Haidon Allen scores twice against Sandy and Tyler Rea runs for 112 yards, but Lions can't hold on to the ball


Playing on the wrecked varsity field for the final time in 2014, the St. Helens Lions discovered something in the mud: Once sophomore running back Tyler Rea gets rolling, he's extremely difficult to pull down.

Rea ran for 112 yards on eight carries against the Sandy Pioneers (4-4, 3-4 NWOC) last Friday, including a run of 72 yards as the Lions (1-7, 1-7 NWOC) fell to Sandy 42-13 on homecoming night.

The loss drops St. Helens firmly out of playoff contention with one game remaining on the schedule, a long trip to face winless North Eugene with a chance to finish the season on a high note.

A high note is exactly where the Lions started in their homecoming tilt. With less than three minutes remaining in the first, sophomore Haidon Allen dashed seven yards up the middle to score and put St. Helens on top 7-0. Half a quarter later, Sandy powered through to tie the game up and never looked back.

The Pioneers scored two more before the second quarter closed, knocking in touchdowns from three and four yards out after the Lions failed to hold on to the ball. St. Helens scored — another touchdown from Allen — to open the third quarter, but the deficit ballooned to three touchdowns in the final seconds of the third period. A 60-yard interception return on the second pick of the night for St. Helens quarterback Levi Norton sealed the loss early in the fourth quarter.

It's the first game of the season in which Norton hasn't thrown a touchdown pass, and ties a season low in points for the Lions.

However, a season high in rushing yards bodes well for the future of the offense. The Lions will lose a handful of seniors on the offensive and defensive lines — particularly 5-foot-10, 265 lb Mario Olmedo and 6-foot-4, 235 lb defensive tackle Dallin Opdahl — but will return several of their leaders for next season. Junior defensive tackle Trenton Beatty, listed at 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, was named the Lions' athlete of the month for September and has continued to be a force as St. Helens improves their running game.

On defense, Beatty has 40 tackles and trails only Opdahl in total tackles among the defensive linemen.

Beatty and the defense will have a chance to shine against North Eugene, which has scored more than three touchdowns on just one occasion this season in a 48-45 loss to Woodburn.

The offense will have an edge as well. Finally stepping out of the mud and on to turf at North Eugene's stadium. The Highlanders have allowed at least 40 points in seven of their eight games, giving up more than 50 points twice, and watching Redmond walk off with a 70-24 victory on Oct. 24.

The Highlanders opted to play an independent schedule after concerns — and very real concerns — they couldn't compete in the tough Midwester 5A league. North Eugene hasn't won a game since beating Willammette 13-6 on Sept. 21, 2012 and has won just two regular season games dating back to the 2010 season.

St. Helens and North Eugene will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday evening in the final game of the season for both teams.

SUMMARY

No. 13 Sandy 42, St. Helens 13

SAND 00 21 14 07 — 42

STHE 07 00 06 00 13

Scoring:

1st Quarter

STHE — Haidon Allen 7 run (Jacob Hawkins kick)

2nd Quarter

SAND — Robert Snyder 3 pass from Spencer Barnett (Kaden Walker kick)

SAND — Calvin McKinnis 3 run (K. Walker kick)

SAND — Zachary Shields 4 run (K. Walker kick)

3rd Quarter

STHE — Haidon Allen 9 run (Kick failed)

SAND — C. McKinnis 5 run (K. Walker kick)

SAND — Z. Shields 24 pass from S. Barnett (K. Walker kick)

4th Quarter

SAND — Cole Holmlund 60 INT return (K. Walker kick)

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