By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Scio Football. The Double-T, Hard Nose hitting team located 25 miles southeast of Salem has been a powerhouse down in the 3A Level and off to yet another great start entering their Week 7 match-up with Blanchet Catholic.
At 6-0 and number one in the State of Oregon, the slugfest between the Loggers and Cavaliers went to roar as their defenses balance off the other’s offense.
It was zero-all before Nathan Yoder broke the shutout on a seven-yard sweep to the Scio sideline to give the Loggers a 6-0 lead.
Though the two-point conversion was no good, the defense kept Blanchet off the board entering the second half until RJ Veliz capitalized on two broken plays that resulted in a 14-point swing with a 1:48 left in the third quarter.
Momentum was in favor of the Cavs; but Scio kept battling, trying to tie the game up, trying to come back and find that spark as the line against them was dictating the play.
Head Coach Kyle Braa said it’s just growing pains for his young team.
“It’s a young team, we lost one of our veteran leaders in Brody Foster last week,” said Braa. “(Blanchet) beat us up front with large swats of the game. They played better than us tonight so they deserve to win.”
Their defense slowed the battle up front as they did in the first half to force one last effort to force overtime as they forced a fourth down.
But Veliz would pick up a crucial 4th down conversion as Scio cried for a hold call on Blanchet on the play to no avail.
The Cavaliers scored on the next play to ice the 21-6 win that snapped the Loggers 18-game league winning streak dating back to 2014.
Dru Cook described that this is just a minor hiccup in yet another great season for him and his team.
“I think we’re having a great season, I think our heads are in the right places,” said Cook on the season to this point. “I think are heads, we weren’t confident in ourselves this game when they scored that first touchdown in the third quarter. But other than that, we’ll come back next week and we’re going to have a even better game.”
Braa knows that his team, and it’s tradition of raising to the occasion, will help them moving into Dayton next Friday at home before hosting their home regular season finale versus Chemawa to end the regular season October 28.
“It shouldn’t be too hard to find motivation after the loss,” said Braa confidently. “Especially with our program, not to say we don’t lose, we lose, but it doesn’t happen super often to the point where…any time the kids get challenged, they usually raise up to it so I think this will provide a lot of motivation to get better for some November football.”
It has a certain ring to it. To get there, they have to get passed another tough challenge in the Pirates of Dayton who have similar aspirations and sit 7-0 on the season following their 49-16 win over Willamina Friday.
And there’s confidence that this game will springboard them back into their winning ways once again.
“I really hope it shapes our team and makes us stronger,” said Yonder. “Dayton next week is going to be way tough. You can’t look down on any opponent, you just have to come out strong.”
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Photos by Jeremy McDonald