The state semifinal game will be played Friday in Salem

by: DAN BROOD - TOP RUSHER -- Sherwood High School senior Cristian Morris has rushed for 1,552 yards and 21 touchdowns on the season going into the Bowmen's Class 5A state semifinal playoff game with Silverton. SALEM — Sherwood: undefeated.

Silverton: undefeated.

Something has to give.

In fact, it’s all cut and dry — Friday, one of those undefeated teams will see its season end while the other will get the chance to play for a state championship.

A lot is on the line when, in a battle of unbeatens, Sherwood and Silverton clash in a Class 5A state playoff semifinal game starting at noon Friday at Willamette University.

“It should be a real good game,” Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence said. “We’re hoping to come out of there with a win.”

Sherwood, the Northwest Oregon Conference champion, has an 11-0 overall record going into Friday’s semifinal game.

Silverton, the No. 1 team out of the Mid-Willamette Conference, also has an overall mark of 11-0.

And that may not be where the similarities end.

“They’re having a great year,” Lawrence said. “They remind me a lot of our team. They’re not real big, but they’re scrappy.”

The Silverton offense is guided by sophomore quarterback Cole Chandler (6-foot-1, 175 pounds), who was an all-Mid-Willamette Conference first-team selection.

The Foxes also have a first-team all-league pick at running back in senior Chris Garcia (6-0, 200) and a first-team all-league receiver in senior Preston Kirk (6-1, 175).

In the offensive line, Silverton features a trio of first-team all-league selections in junior center Joseph Kuenzi (6-1, 223), senior guard Quinn Dreher (5-10, 183) and junior tackle Matthew Willis (6-3, 207).

“They have some Wing-T tendencies,” Lawrence said. “They believe in their system and they score a lot of points.”

On defense, Silverton is led by Garcia, who, while playing at linebacker, was named the Mid-Willamette Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

Garcia was joined on the MWC all-league first-team defense by junior Matt Craig (6-0, 197) on the defensive line, Dreher at linebacker and senior Nick Teubel (5-9, 170) in the secondary.

“On offense, were going to need to do what we did last week (in a 42-30 playoff win over Springfield),” Lawrence said. “We’re going to need to keep the ball, have some long drive and turn those drives into touchdowns.”

The Bowmen players also know what they need to do in Friday’s clash.

“We’re going to listen to our coaches and prepare all week,” Sherwood junior fullback/linebacker Jake Reimer said. “We need to take care of the ball and, if we do what we’re supposed to do, things will take care of themselves.”

“We’ll do what we do,” Lawrence said.

And, what the Bowmen do is run the ball well — really, really well.

For the season, Sherwood has rushed for an average of 485 yards a game.

Senior Cristian Morris leads the Bowmen rushing attack with 1,552 yards on 92 carries (a 16.9 yards-a-carry average with 21 rushing touchdowns. Morris also has three receiving touchdowns and a kickoff return for a score.

Sherwood junior Mickey Schaefer has rushed for 818 yards and 12 touchdowns on 76 carries. Junior Keegan Lawrence has added 559 rushing yards on 52 carries with eight touchdowns and Reimer has powered his way for 360 yards and six TDs on 40 carries.

Bowmen senior quarterback Joseph Balfour has completed 32 of 62 pass attempts for 561 yards and eight touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, Sherwood has come up with 39 quarterback sacks on the season. Balfour, the NWOC Defensive Player of the Year, leads the way with six quarterback sacks. Junior Jordan Kurahara has four sacks despite missing six games on the season. Sophomore Zak Taylor, senior Jacob Brooks and senior Nick Rowlands all have four QB sacks.

Morris tops the team with three interceptions and senior linebacker Alex Barzee and junior lineman Martin Layna each has a team-best three fumble recoveries.

Layna also handles the place-kicking duties for the Bowmen. He has 61 extra-point kicks and a pair of field goals on the season.

In the other Class 5A semifinal contest, Marist will meet Redmond in a game starting at 5 p.m. Friday at Willamette University.

The winners of Friday’s two semifinal tilts will meet Dec. 1 in the Class 5A state championship game, which will be played at Hillsboro Stadium.

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