Clackamas amasses 612 yards in offense in a 49-28 state play-in win over North Medford

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Ryan Gilbert (left) and Jacob Iverson (5) celebrate a touchdown in Friday nights 49-28 state play-in win over North Medford.The Clackamas Cavaliers gave home fans a lot to cheer about Friday night, as they put seven touchdowns on the scoreboard in a 49-28 win over North Medford in a play-in game of the Class 6A state high school football playoffs.

The Cavaliers were clearly the dominant team. They piled up 612 yards in total offense and they earned 27 first downs, while holding their opponents to 347 yards and just 9 first downs. And the outcome would have been a lot more one-sided except for 110 yards in penalties and three Cavalier turnovers.

The Black Tornado didn’t have an answer for Clackamas 5-8, 165-pound junior running back Dan Sherrell, who rushed 31 times for 302 yards and two touchdowns.

But Sherrell didn’t do it alone. Clackamas junior quarterback Doonie Johnson completed 14-of-20 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns, and Cavalier 5-10, 185-pound junior running back Dalon Hudson picked up 118 yards and two touchdowns in 18 trips with the pigskin.

“People forget about Dalon,” said Clackamas senior Jacob Iverson. “He’s one of the best backs in the Three Rivers League. He’s got power and speed. When Dan [Sherrell] comes out, we don’t lose anything. It’s like we’ve got a two-headed monster in the backfield.”

The Cavaliers started the North Medford game like a house afire, scoring on their first two possessions.

Johnson hit a streaking Ryan Gilbert on the goal line for a 13-yard touchdown pass play for the first score on the Cavaliers’ fourth play from scrimmage.

Clackamas senior lineman Jon Kenion got the ball back a short time later on a fumble recovery at the North Medford 41. And seven plays later Hudson skipped into the end zone from one yard out to make it 14-0 Clackamas.

The Black Tornado then showed some life. Taking possession at the Clackamas 40 after a shotgun snap soared over Johnson’s head, North Medford marched the 40 yards in five plays. Senior quarterback Jordan Towe hooked up with 5-11, 215-pound senior running back Evan Hisey on a 24-yard pass for the score.

Later in the second quarter, the Black Tornado halted a Clackamas drive with an interception at the North Medford one-yard line. Four plays later, Hisey raced 86 yards to Clackamas’ end zone to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to 14-13, and it appeared that North Medford might make it a game.

But the Cavaliers had other plans. They cut down on their mistakes and dominated the play through most of the remainder of the game.

Johnson found Brady Haehlen open in the middle of the end zone from six yards out to cap off an 11-play, 80-yard drive that gained Clackamas a 21-13 lead heading into halftime.

The Cavaliers marched 80 yards again, this time in nine plays, on their first possession of the second half, with Sherrell scoring from the one, for a 28-13 Cavalier advantage.

Following a North Medford punt into the end zone, Sherrell sprinted 80 yards to up the gap to 35-13 with 6:41 remaining in the third stanza.

Hudson capped off a 12-play, 65-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown rush early in the fourth quarter to make it 42-20 Clackamas.

Gilbert rounded out the Cavaliers’ scoring, hauling in a 16-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to make it 49-20 Clackamas near the midpoint of the final period.

“The way we came out at the start of the game was not very ideal,” said Clackamas senior co-captain Jon Kenion. “But a win’s a win. I’ll take it....”

Kenion added, “If we want to have a chance to win in the first round, we’re going to have to play better than we did in the first half of this game. We’re going to have to play like we did in the second half of the Canby game. If we do that, if we play like we did against Canby for a complete game, I think we can be successful in the playoffs.”

“This win means a lot,” said Clackamas senior co-captain Erick Douglas III. “We had a good week of practice. We worked hard. We wanted to win for our community and for our brothers and our coaches. It could be our last game at home, and we came together and played together and got a win.”

“At halftime our coaches said we have talent, we just need to play together and cut down on the mistakes,” Iverson said. “We came out in the second half and did that.”

With the win over the Black Tornado, the Cavaliers (5-5) advanced to a first round state playoff game with eighth-ranked Tualatin, scheduled Friday, at Tualatin. The Timberwolves sport an 8-1 record, their only loss in an Oct. 5 game with seventh-ranked Tigard.

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