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- Written by Donovan Brink
- Published on September 15, 2006
- Hits: 8430
The Scappoose Indians rolled into rain-soaked Eugene with the No. 1 ranking in Class 4A football. The Marist Spartans believed that title belonged to them, then went out and proved it.
Playing his first game of the season -- with a large black cast on his broken left hand -- Marist senior running back Brandon Jackson overcame a difficult first quarter to run roughshod over the Scappooose Indians, going for 220 yards and three touchdowns as the defending Class 3A state champions made their case for the No. 1 ranking in Class 4A.
Scappoose held Jackson well in check throughout the first quarter, limiting the California-bound back to just 14 yards in the first 12 minutes as Marist ran primarily a one-back offensive set.
Once the Spartans went to an I-formation, Jackson got the help of fullback Chris Sherbina and began running away from the fast Indians defense.
Scappoose, which spent most of the first quarter sending the Spartans' offense backwards with quarterback sacks from Jacob Francouer and R.J. Logue, posed the first real scoring threat of the game after marching to the Marist 10-yard line.
But an illegal procedure penalty followed by a delay of game backed the Indians back to the 20 and, on fourth-and-19, quarterback Justin Engstrom's pass to Logue in the end zone was picked off by the Spartans' Colton Thomas at the goalline.
Marist was forced into a fourth-and-12 on its next possession, but punter Cory Massel busted off a 22-yard run off the right side on the fake and, on the next play, Jackson busted loose on a 55-yard score. The snap on the PAT sailed well over the head of holder Ryan Bell, whose desperation heave toward the end zone fell incomplete.
On the Indians' very next play from scrimmage, senior tailback T.J. Crane wanted to remind the crowd that there were in fact TWO big-play running backs on the field, taking the first handoff and racing 31 yards down the left sideline to put the Indians in Marist territory. Scappoose continued the march behind the legs of Crane and, on second and goal from the 8, Engstrom hit Francouer on a rollout for an 8-yard touchdown, with Brian Moloney's PAT kick giving the Indians a 7-6 lead with 4:56 left in the half.
Marist immediately regained the lead, though, going 60 yards in nine plays and scoring when Jackson busted through tacklers' arms on an 8-yard run to paydirt. Marist opted for the two-point conversion, but two penalties backed the Spartans up and an incomplete pass left Marist with a 12-7 lead at intermission.
Just as Marist had done when the two teams last met in Eugene in 2003, the Spartans used big plays and Scappoose mistakes to deflate the Indians in the second half.
Scappoose took the opening kickoff and got to the Marist 48 before Engstrom pitched wide of Crane, and the Spartans' Chad Swenson recovered at the Scappoose 47. Four plays later, including a 29-yard bomb down the left sideline from Tommy Stewart to Thomas, Jackson was in the end zone again, this time on a 7-yard run, and Stewart hit Swenson with the two-point pass for a 20-7 Marist lead with 8:43 left in the third.
After a Scappoose punt, back-to-back Marist penalties backed the Spartans up to their own 6-yard line, and the Indians took advantage after Thomas dropped what appeared to be a sure touchdown pass deep down the middle. On 2nd-and-26 from the Spartan 6, Stewart was sacked by Scappoose's Josh Nelson then, on the next play, Stewart got mobbed in the end zone and heaved a desperation pass out of bounds, getting flagged for intentional grounding, which resulted in a Scappoose safety and a 20-9 game with 5:32 remaining in the quarter.
Scappoose had a chance to get back into the game on Marist's next possession when Caleb Honl recovered a Stewart fumble at the Scappoose 48, and the Indians drove to the Marist 18, facing 4th-and-8. Engstrom hit Weston Powers on a short out-route at the Spartan 8-yard line, but a measurement showed Powers was mere inches short of the first down and the Spartans took the ball.
Both teams punted on their next possessions and Marist struck again. Starting at their own 47, Jackson got the Spartans to the Indians' 25-yard line on a 32-yard gallop. From there, Swenson did the rest, using runs of 7, 8 and 7 yards to set up his own 3-yard TD to put the Spartans out front 27-9 with 4:46 left in the game.
After Marist put its reserve defense on the field, the Indians quickly struck for paydirt through the air. Starting from their own 22 with 1:27 to play, Engstrom hit Powers for 15 yards and again for 17 yards, then connected with Kevin Carpenter for another 10. On 1st-and-10 from the Spartan 36, Engstrom lofted a deep ball to a sprinting Ryan Wilson, who hauled in the pass down the right sideline for a TD, and the two-point pass from Engstrom to Powers made it 27-17 with :50 to go.
Marist's Massel jumped on the ensuing onside kick, and the Spartans simply ran out the clock.
Crane, who was in on nearly 20 tackles in the game, was Scappoose's leading rusher with 94 yards on 26 carries. Crane finished the game with 214 all-purpose yards, including 84 on four kick returns. Engstrom completed 20-of-32 for 213 yards with two TDs and an interception.
Scappoose turned the ball over three times -- including a pair of fumbles -- while Marist committed just one turnover -- a first-quarter fumble by Jackson.
Marist (2-1 overall) opens Sky-Em League play next week at the home of playoff contender Cottage Grove next Friday night, while the Indians (2-1 overall) complete a tough three-game stretch with a home date against the Central Panthers.