They both know each other all too well from the Tri-River League when they met up for the 2A Semi-Final game Saturday night.
St. Paul took the first game September 29 at St. Paul 38-12 en route to a 10-0 record entering the contest on the road.
Santiam jumped to a 12-0 lead entering the second quarter before the Buckaroos responded with three touchdowns in the second quarter, a Saul Martinez rushing score that was followed by two Holden Smith touchdown passes, one to Jaiydn Jackson and the other to Justin Herberger for the 22-12 halftime lead.
Both teams battled hard trying to either add to their lead or trying to comeback into the game.
The Wolverines Trevor Tinney broke the second half scoreless streak with a touchdown with 10:49 to go in the game to make it 22-20.
“I can describe it as something special about our team, this is one of those teams that we have that bond for one another, we’re going to give it our all,” said Tinney who had 134 rushing yards on the night. “We just go out there and just play as a team and execute every time.”
Tinney described the team as an underdog, and they were going to have to pull an underdog-esc feat to beat the undefeated, number one team in State that were driving on them for the most of the fourth quarter.
“”They call us the underdogs and we go out there every time and we just hit somebody,” said Tinney as they are embracing the ‘Underdog’ tag entering the State Title game.
Call it a divine intervention or not wanting to let their teammate down, but when teammate Quiten Cook went down, it allowed Santiam to regain focus and allowed the Bucks to cool down a bit as the Wolverines got the ball back with 55 seconds remaining.
Almost like they had Tom Brady at quarterback with sophomore Colin Thurston, they made their way down the field with Thurston’s arm and the legs of Jordan Lanham at receiver, they moved down the field and had Thurston spike it with one second left and with Sean Horning coming out for the game-winner.
Jesse Sendlinger, who was the holder as they came out for the kick, admitted their was some nerves on his part.
“I was scared that I’ll miss the tee, not place it right,” said Sendlinger as the junior placed the ball just right for his kicker to send it off.
And as Horning set the kick over the bottom cross bar by inches, Horning was halfway down the field as his team celebrated after what they just did.
“Just one more week, that’s how I describe it,” said Sendlinger”I was so happy.”
Now that the underdog defeated the persumed Top Dog in St. Paul, it’s time to turn their focus to Monroe/Triangle Lake, who too had their own comeback victory, going from 28-7 down to winning it 47-42, for the State Championship next Saturday. How can they carry this momentum into next week?
“We’re going to keep going and bonding as a team, everyday,” said Tinney. “Practices are key. Our coach , Coach (Dustin) McGee is a great coach, I wouldn’t want any other coach, he keeps us together. He executes every week, he’s an absolutely wonderful coach.”
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!