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Bowmen win the battle up front


The offensive line is a big key to Sherwood's attack

by: DAN BROOD - CLEARING THE WAY -- Sherwood's offensive line, including, from left, Jordan Kurahara, Joseph Chamberlain, Nick Rowlands, Harrison Shelburne, Travis Kotowski, Michael Alley and Jacob Brooks, helped the Bowmen rush for 428 yards in the state championship game. HILLSBORO — To probably no one’s surprise, the Sherwood High School football team had a big night running the ball in its 46-20 win over Marist in the Class 5A state championship game.

To be exact, the Bowmen rushed for 428 yards and five touchdowns in 64 carries in the title tilt played Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium.

That total is actually under the team’s final season average of 476.0 rushing yards a game.

Now, the Bowmen do have a bevy of talented running backs — but that’s only part of the reason for the team’s rushing success. The other reason — a big reason — is the Sherwood stable of offensive linemen.

“They’re so incredible,” said Sherwood senior running back Cristian Morris, who rushed for a team-best 1,817 yards and 23 touchdowns on 122 carries. “They’ve improved so much and I know how blessed I am to get to run behind them. I think they’re the best offensive line in the state.”

That tag didn’t come without a lot of hard work — and other factors.

“I think we had an amazing group. It was special,” said Sherwood senior center Nick Rowlands, who opened the season as the only returning starter on the Bowmen offensive line. “We had great chemistry throughout the season. And we all trust each other, and trust is everything. When it clicked, it really clicked.”

Joining Rowlands in the starting offensive line in the state championship game were senior guards Joseph Chamberlain and Harrison Shelburne, junior tackle Travis Kotowski, sophomore tackle Saul Urzua and senior tight end Jacob Brooks. The Bowmen also boasted plenty of depth in the offensive line with senior tackle Michael Alley, junior guard Andrew Rice, sophomore tight end Zak Taylor and junior tight end Jordan Kurahara seeing plenty of action.

“We take a lot of pride in the offensive line,” Chamberlain said. “We know we’re a big part of the offense. It’s great to open some holes and do some kick-out blocks.”

Rowlands agrees.

“It’s awesome to block and then look and see our running backs going into the end zone,” he said. “It’s just everyone doing their job. Our running backs run their butts off.”

And the Sherwood backs know they couldn’t do that without the blocks up front.

“It’s all about the offensive line,” Sherwood senior quarterback Joseph Balfour said. “We trust our blockers, and they do a great job.”

“They did everything,” Sherwood junior running back Keegan Lawrence said of the Bowmen’s powerful offensive line. “They make it easy for us. Joey Chamberlain had some great blocks tonight, so did everyone else.”

“It’s fun,” Shelburne said of playing on the Bowmen offensive line. “And we all worked hard all year.”