By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– As the fog of the firework pyrotechnics wisp away into the late October sky like an eerie horror movie leading in the Halloween holiday, Cascade found themselves sitting on-top of the Oregon West Conference once more as Senior Night and Homecoming Week wrapped up.
Over the past six years following their 64-13 rout of Philomath to clinch the title outright, the Cougars have apart of four OWC-titles. Apart of considering they won the title outright in 2014 under former Head Coach Steve Turner, the last two times the Cougars were on top of the league standings they shared with in 2016 and 2017.
As they hand fourth-year Head Coach Brandon Bennett his first undefeated league schedule at 5-0 with the Friday night, the squad becomes the eighth-team in school history to go undefeated in the league season. Joining the likes of that 2014 team and 1985 Cascade teams to accomplish such a feat.
“Our coaches, what they’ve done for these kids. What these kids did…they set a goal at the beginning of the season in the Spring that they wanted to be undefeated league champs and they’ve done everything to this point,” said Bennett. “The weight room, the classroom, practice field. These boys earned every single thing they’ve got tonight.”
Faced with the challenge of slowing down Colby Roe and Issiah Blackburn, the push up front was crucial to slow down the Warriors running backs as Cascade held the duo to 19 yards on 10 carries in the opening half.
“It’s just been nice because all season our D-Line, I just thought we’ve executed very well,” said offensive lineman and defensive lineman Brandon White, who picked up a fumble recovery in the opening half. “It just feels so good to say undefeated…undisputed League Champions baby.”
The Cougars defense picked up two fumble recoveries and two sacks in the win while clogging up the lanes of the Warriors. Just back in 2016, this match-up yielded a 35-34 overtime win for Cascade in the 4A Quarterfinals.
Philomath’s two touchdowns came way of Matt Workman from 52-yards and 17-yards out as the Junior finished with four catches for 95 yards Friday night.
The win was the Cougs sixth-straight after their lone defeat of the season on the road Week 2 against Mazama 15-13 and Cascade has outscored opponents 288-115 since that road loss nearly two months ago. Their old-school double Wing-T, their strong defense has gotten them to 7-1 and a bye week entering the first round of the playoffs.
It’s the third-time under Bennett that they’ve gotten this hand before, so it’s not something foreign to them entirely. But with how strong they’ve been playing all year, the trick will be to carry that momentum over to their 4A Playoff Opener and avoid any kind of a lay-off slowness here in a few weeks.
“I think we’re going to be able to do it very easily, we always work hard in practice,” said Joe Baxter. “We just have to keep that momentum going over the week off and see what happens.”
Baxter had two touchdowns on the night from 21-yards and 76-yards as the Senior back finished with 181 yards on the ground. Quarterback Jacob Hage added a 7-, and 70-yard touchdown run to go with an 83-yard strike to Elijah Nolan with the Cascade offense producing 58 first half points and 358 yards on the ground.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald