Facing The Juggernaut

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

SPRINGFIELD, Ore.–  It was the true test to see where they are at as a team and as a program. 

Thurston has won the last two 5A State Championships, defeating Wilsonville in 2018 and Crater in 2019 with their lone blemish of these six-weeks coming way of Mazama two weeks ago.  The 4A Vikings are playing in the 4A State Championship Game Friday against Marist.

This game Thursday came about quickly after Central had to bow out due to positive Covid test earlier in the week, setting up the undefeated Dallas squad on a road trip with the Colts.

But, the only thing that could have stopped the Dragons on this early April evening was themselves in the 42-0 defeat to Thurston in Springfield.  The only blemish for Dallas in what really was a great season overall as they finish 5-1.

“Coming in next year, we’re seeing the level of competition we need to be at.  Like Coach Fulgum said, that’s a Championship level team and we saw what we need to be next year if we want to compete for them.  We’re dawgs, we’re going to compete,” Justin Parnell starts.

The Dallas Defense making a stop in their season finale at Thurston Thursday night in Springfield (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“It prepared us for what a Championship team is like.  Learn from it, fix the mistakes we made and comeback next season stronger than we were,” adds Logan Person.  “We were undefeated the rest of the time in the season.  We had some doubters; this was an opportunity to come out to show who we were.  We could have done a lot of things differently and done better but being in this game show that we’re a high-caliber team.”

Dallas was in a similar boat as Thurston.  Averaging 43.2 points a game on offense while allowing 12 points defensively, eerie similar to the 38.2-14.4 ratio the Colts had entering the game.  The lone difference ultimately was those little things.  Blocking, tackling, overall executing on both sides of the ball when they need to.

Against a team like Thurston, not doing those things could spell doom for a team and the Colts did take full advantage of them, scoring 35 first half points with Thurston’s Running Back Gavin Knight going for 215 yards on nine carries in the game with a kickoff return for touchdown.

“He’s very, very quick,” smiled Person of Knight.  “He’s a high-caliber player, we could’ve made a couple better tackles, I’ve missed a few.  Ground his legs and not shuffle our feet and not let him juke us out, get past us, get on the edge and beat us.  Little mistakes like that we could have changed this whole game.  But we played our asses off and I’m proud of us.”

Dallas had two opportunities in the game to strike and do some damage.  Once late in the first half after a botched punt return went into their favor and a promising second half drive that stalled, leaving possibly 14 points on the table as the squad enters the offseason.

In the game for the Dragons, Person had three receptions for 19 yards and had 12 carries for 65 yards.  Chauncey Sanders had four receptions for 41 yards in the game and had three carries for 18 yards.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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