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Sherwood earns its third straight trip to the finals with a 46-19 win over Silverton

by: DAN BROOD - IN FOR SIX -- Sherwood senior running back Cristian Morris dives inside the pylon to complete an 8-yard touchdown run during Friday's state playoff semifinal game. The Bowmen scored a 46-19 win over Silverton. SALEM — A runaway train.

The Sherwood High School football team.

They have something in common.

Once they get going, you definitely don’t want to stand in their way.

Silverton tried, but even the talented, undefeated, hard-hitting Foxes couldn’t keep the runaway train that is the Bowmen from reaching their desired destination — the Class 5A state championship game.

Sherwood powered its way to the state title tilt by rolling to a 46-19 win over Silverton in a Class 5A state playoff semifinal contest played Friday at Willamette University.

“This means the whole world to us,” said Sherwood junior running back Keegan Lawrence, who was one of three Bowmen to rush for more than 100 yards in the semifinal contest. “We just wanted to go out and do what we do, focus on our game and not let anything stop us.”

“This is incredible,” Sherwood senior running back Cristian Morris said with a smile. “We did all we could out there today. It was a physical game, but we like it that way. That was a lot of fun.”

by: DAN BROOD - I GOT HIM -- Sherwood High School senior linebacker Alex Barzee yells out after sacking Silverton quarterback Cole Chandler in the first quarter of Friday's Class 5A state playoff semifinal game.Silverton, the Mid-Willamette Conference champion, finished its season with a final overall record of 11-1.

Sherwood, the Northwest Oregon Conference champion, improved to 12-0 on the season with the victory. The Bowmen also advance to play in the Class 5A state championship game for the third straight year. Sherwood will face Marist Saturday in the state title game, which is set to start at 7:30 p.m. at Hillsboro Stadium.

“That means a lot — three in a row,” Sherwood senior quarterback/defensive back Joseph Balfour said. “Not a lot of people get to do that.”

“That’s really exciting,” said Sherwood senior linebacker Alex Barzee, who helped spark the Bowmen defense in the semifinal victory. “We’re going back.”

And the Bowmen earned their return trip to the state championship game behind its defense as well as its ball-control offensive attack.

Sherwood, as a team, rushed for 410 yards on 61 carries behind the offensive line that included senior Nick Rowlands at center, senior Harrison Shelburne and senior Joseph Chamberlain at guard, senior Michael Alley and junior Travis Kotowski at tackle and senior Jacob Brooks at tight end.

“Our line executed to perfection,” Morris said. “And all of our running backs stepped up.”by: DAN BROOD - BLOCK THAT KICK -- Sherwood junior defensive end Jordan Kurahara (35) goes up high to block a Silverton extra-point attempt during Friday's game. Kurahara also had a quarterback sack in the win.

That certainly seemed to be the case for Lawrence, who ran for a game-high 138 yards on 17 carries.

“I wanted to prove myself,” he said. “I wanted to do my part — everyone did. It was a team effort. We had great fakes, Travis Kotowski had some great blocks, Chamberlain had some great blocks. Everyone did their part.”

And, with everyone doing their part, the Bowmen took charge early in Friday’s semifinal contest.

Sherwood, in its first possession of the game, got a 27-yard pass from Balfour to Morris. That set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Morris that gave the Bowmen a 7-0 lead with 8 minutes and 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

“We came out strong, and we took it down and scored,” Balfour said.

The Bowmen defense also got off to a fast start. Barzee had thunderous, third-down quarterback sacks in each of the Foxes’ first two possessions of the contest.

“I was really fired up,” Barzee said. “I just got to the ball.”

“Alex Barzee had a great game,” Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence said.

The Bowmen pushed their lead to 14-0 when junior fullback Jake Reimer sprinted up the middle through a huge hole opened by Rowlands and Shelburne for an 8-yard touchdown coming with 10:29 left in the second quarter.

Silverton, after getting back-to-back deep receptions by senior receiver Preston Kirk, got a 1-yard touchdown run by senior Chris Garcia. Sherwood’s Jordan Kurahara, a 6-foot-11 junior, blocked the extra-point kick to keep the score at 14-6 with 9:07 remaining in the first half.

The Bowmen answered right back. A 35-yard pass from Balfour to Keegan Lawrence helped set up a 31-yard field goal by freshman Adley Rutschman, which upped the Sherwood lead to 17-6 with 5:47 left in the half.

by: DAN BROOD - ROOM TO RUN -- Sherwood junior fullback Jake Reimer sprints through a hole opened by Bowmen linemen Harrison Shelburne (54) and Nick Rowlands (51) on his way to scoring a touchdown.Then, after Balfour recovered a fumble on the ensuing Silverton possession, the Bowmen struck again. Junior fullback Mickey Schaefer scored on a 29-yard run after taking an inside handoff to up the margin to 24-6 with 2:36 left in the second quarter.

Persistent Silverton fought back, getting a 9-yard TD pass from sophomore quarterback Cole Chandler to Kirk with just 2 seconds remaining in the period, trimming the lead to 24-12 at halftime.

The Foxes then struck first in the third quarter. Another touchdown pass from Chandler to Kirk trimmed the Sherwood lead to 24-19 with 7:54 left in the period.

Silverton then seemed to claim total momentum in the game after that, as senior Nick Teubel intercepted a Sherwood pass in the end zone.

But the Bowmen quickly regained momentum as Balfour made a diving interception of a Silverton pass on the Foxes’ ensuing possession.

“I’m always looking to help the team,” Balfour said.

The turnover led to a 10-yard TD pass from Balfour to Keegan Lawrence. Morris added a two-point conversion run to up the Bowmen lead to 32-19 with 1:45 left in the third quarter.

Sherwood then got a 5-yard touchdown run by Morris and a 9-yard TD scamper by Keegan Lawrence in the fourth quarter to cap off the 46-19 victory.

“That was a great game,” Greg Lawrence said. “Our kids had to overcome a little adversity, but they persevered. (Former Sherwood standout quarterback/defensive back) Lukkes Gilgan talked to the team before the game about persevering, and we did that. I’m super proud of the guys.”

“We persevered,” Balfour said. “And it showed. We took some punches, but we got back up.”

“We had great coaching and we worked hard to get ready,” Barzee said. “And we really came together as a team.”

Keegan Lawrence, in addition to his game-high 138 rushing yards, also had a pair of receptions for 45 yards and he had a pair of TDs in the win.

Morris rushed for 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 13 carries and Schaeffer had 114 rushing yards on 14 carries.

Balfour completed four of 10 pass attempts for 73 yards.

Barzee led the way for the Sherwood defense with nine total tackles, including his two quarterback sacks. Kurahara and Brooks each added a quarterback sack and Shelburne recovered a Silverton fumble.

For the Foxes, Chandler completed nine of 16 pass attempts for 129 yards. Kirk had six catches for 104 yards. Senior Ken Pike was Silverton’s leading rusher with 56 yards on 11 carries.

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