by: DAN BROOD - ALL BY HIMSELF -- There's no one near Sherwood senior Cristian Morris as he scores on a 33-yard run.WILSONVILLE — Cristian Morris was motivated.

He was fired-up.

He was ready to shine.

And, oh yeah, he’s fast — real fast.

He’s so fast, neither Wilsonville, nor the rain, could slow him down.

Morris, a senior on the Sherwood High School football team, got the Bowmen off to a flying start. Then he, and his Sherwood teammates, never looked back as they rolled to a 35-14 win over rival Wilsonville in a Northwest Oregon Conference showdown played Friday in a driving rainstorm at Wilsonville High School.

“Oh, this is incredible,” said Morris, who had an 83-yard return on the game’s opening kickoff, in addition to rushing for 132 yards and three touchdowns in 11 carries while also intercepting a pair of passes on defense. “It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. My body hurts now, but this all drowns that out.”

Wilsonville, which came into the contest tied with Sherwood for first place in the NWOC, fell to 4-1 in league play and to 5-2 on the season with the DAN BROOD - SACK ATTACK -- Sherwood High School senior Nick Rowlands (51) and sophomore Zak Taylor team up to bring down Wilsonville senior quarterback Nick Highberger in Friday's game.

The Bowmen improved to 5-0 in NWOC games and to 7-0 on the season with the win, their eighth in a row against the Wildcats.

“The streak continues,” Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence said with a smile. “This is really big. This game has been on our calendar since summer. We kept hitting and hitting and we wore them down. We really played as a team tonight, and we took it to them.”

“This was a great team win,” Sherwood sophomore linebacker Zak Taylor said.

“It’s big,” Bowman senior lineman Harrison Shelburne said of the victory. “They’re our big rival, and they’ve stepped up this year. But we really played like a team. We have speed, conditioning, coaches and players.”

Speaking of speed, Morris, one of the top track and field sprinters in the state, showed off his speed right from the start, as he returned the game’s opening kickoff 83 yards to the Wilsonville 7-yard line.

“I wanted to set the tone early,” Morris said.

“That was big,” Shelburne said. “We wanted to get off to a good start.”

Bowmen junior Mickey Schaefer scored on a 7-yard run on the first play following Morris’ big kickoff return and junior Martin Layna added the extra-point kick to give Sherwood a 7-0 lead just 20 seconds into the contest.

Morris capped off Sherwood’s second offensive possession of the contest with a 33-yard touchdown run to up the margin to 13-0 with 9 minutes and 1 second left in the first quarter.

“We definitely wanted to get going early,” Morris said. “We kept hearing how they were a big-play team. We wanted to show that we could make big plays, too.”

While the Bowmen certainly showed that they have big-play capabilities, they also showed that they could put together a sustained drive.

Morris capped off a 17-play, 75-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run, which upped the Sherwood lead to 19-0 with 1:45 left in the first half.

The Bowmen kept rolling early in the second half. Sherwood senior Joseph Balfour recovered a Wilsonville fumble at the Wildcat 41-yard line early in the third quarter. Two plays after the turnover, Morris scored on a 38-yard run to push the margin to 27-0 with 10:44 left in the period.

Wilsonville tried to battle back. Wildcat senior Tanner Shipley had touchdown runs of 27 and 59 yards to cut the Sherwood lead to 27-14 with 3:41 left in the third quarter.

The Bowmen answered right back. A 44-yard run by junior fullback Jake Reimer helped set up a 1-yard touchdown blast by junior Scott Skurdahl. A two-point conversion pass from Balfour to Morris upped the lead to 35-14 with 1:49 left in the third quarter.

Neither team scored in the fourth quarter, leaving the Bowmen with the 35-14 victory.

And, after the win, no one was smiling brighter than Morris, who missed last year’s game with the rival Wildcats due to a knee injury.

“I’ve been waiting two years for this game,” he said. “It was definitely worth the wait. I think this was the biggest game of my career, so far. And it the most fun I’ve ever had, playing with all my teammates.”

“I’m so proud of Cristian,” Lawrence said. “This was his time to shine, and he did it. He did everything.”

According to Lawrence, Morris was also running for his younger brother, David Morris, a Sherwood eighth-grader and youth football star who suffered a spiral fracture earlier in the week.

“He was really motivated,” Lawrence said. “I saw him keep looking up in the stands at his brother.”

Sherwood, as a team rushed for 341 yards on 52 carries behind the blocking of linemen Nick Rowlands, Shelburne, Joseph Chamberlain, Travis Kotowski and Saul Urzua.

“Up front, we all work hard,” Shelburne said. “We’re one of the smaller lines in the state, but we do our techniques. I think we did awesome tonight.”

“We played all together,” Urzua said. “It’ was teamwork.”

In addition to Morris’ big night, Reimer rushed for 57 yards on six carries and junior Keegan Lawrence ran for 44 yards on five carries.

For the Sherwood defense, Reimer had a quarterback sack and another tackle for a loss. Taylor had a quarterback sack and Shelburne had two tackles for losses. Rowlands, Layna, Skurdahl, Schaefer, senior Logan Smith and junior Tanner Shadbolt each added a tackle for a loss.

“It was 11 hats to the ball every time,” Taylor said of the defensive effort. “This was really fun. We all worked hard for this.”

For Wilsonville, Shipley rushed for 160 yards on 21 carries. The Sherwood defense held Wilsonville to 209 yards of offense.

The Bowmen will be back in action Friday when they host Sandy in a game starting at 7:30 p.m. Sandy is 3-2 in NWOC play and 3-4 on the season.

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