CAMAS VALLEY — Those Badgers just wouldn’t go away.
Powder Valley rallied from a 22-point deficit and unbeaten Camas Valley found itself in a tie game early in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Class 1A eight-man football quarterfinal playoff game.
But the fourth-seeded Hornets responded with three touchdowns and made a pair of key defensive stops over a four-minute span as they eliminated the No. 12 Badgers with a 48-36 victory at home on a picture-perfect fall day.
Camas Valley (9-0) advanced to a semifinal against top-seeded St. Paul (11-0) at noon next Saturday at Cottage Grove High School.
St. Paul defeated No. 9 Days Creek 56-6 Friday night in St. Paul in a quarterfinal game. No. 3 Crane (10-1) takes on No. 2 Adrian (11-0) in the other semifinal.
“I’m happy (about being in the Final Four for the first time since 2014),” Camas Valley junior lineman Max Brown said. “This is my goal and I’m ecstatic right now. Powder Valley is a great team. They fought hard until the very end.”
“I’m really proud of how we came together as a team,” added C.V. senior end/defensive end Nathan O’Connor. “St. Paul’s tough, but I’m really excited to play them. We’re excited to go on and play our best.”
Sophomore quarterback Jared Standley scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to give Camas Valley a 28-6 lead with 6:32 remaining in the third quarter. The Badgers (7-4) appeared to be on the ropes.
But the Hornets let Powder Valley back into the game with two turnovers, which both led to P.V. touchdowns.
Roper Bingham caught a 5-yard scoring pass from Reece Dixon and Dixon intercepted a Standley pass at the C.V. 42, leading to a 15-yard scoring run by Kaden Krieger. All of a sudden, it was 28-20 with 11:51 to go in the fourth period.
Bingham recovered a fumble at the C.V. 25 after Standley was unable to handle a snap. Dixon, a sophomore, connected with Dominick Grende on a 3-yard TD pass and Dixon ran in the two-point conversion to knot up the contest at 28 with 9:08 left.
The Hornets got a 44-yard touchdown run from Jared Standley on their next possession to regain the advantage for good with 7:44 on the clock.
“Our kids persevered,” Camas Valley coach Keri Ewing said. “We knew they had it in them. I knew they would get it done.”
Camas Valley stopped Powder Valley on downs at the Badger 39. River Wolfe gave the Hornets a two-score lead with an 8-yard touchdown run with 4:28 remaining.
The C.V. defense delivered again. On a fourth-and 11 at the 34, O’Connor knocked the ball out of Dixon’s hand as he was attempting to throw a pass and the Hornets took over at the 35.
On the next play, Wolfe sealed the deal with a touchdown run.
“We just had to give it everything we’ve got,” replied Brown, when asked how he felt when the Badgers tied the game up. “We’ve worked for this all season and just needed to pull through. We’re not really used to having teams as close as that was, so we had to switch our mindset and realize it was going to be a battle and give it everything we have.”
“That’s the hardest game I’ve played. I was feeling tired (in the fourth quarter), but I knew we could step up and continue and that’s what we did,” O’Connor said.
Inside linebacker Jared Hunt made 17 tackles for the Hornets, who used a 4-2 defensive alignment against the Badgers. Tristan Casteel had 17 tackles, Wolfe was in on 15 stops and made an interception and O’Connor added 12 tackles. Standley had 11 tackles and recovered a fumble.
Pete Dancer, C.V.’s defensive coordinator, felt O’Connor and Wolfe had outstanding defensive games.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Powder Valley coach Josh Cobb said. “They’re just a really good football team, they’ve been here lots of times. They were better than us today, but our guys played hard to the last minute of the game and that’s what we pride ourselves on — playing a full four quarters every week.”
“They’re a good ballclub,” Ewing said of the Badgers, who only lose three seniors. “We knew they would play, we watched them last week (at Lowell). We knew we’d have to keep going to put it away.”
The Hornets finished with a 455-401 edge in total offense, 396 yards coming on the ground. Hunt rushed for 181 yards on 16 carries and scored three touchdowns. Wolfe gained 158 yards on 19 attempts with two TDs.
Standley completed 5 of 9 passes for 59 yards. Casteel caught three balls for 40 yards.
“Hat’s off to them. (The Hornets) are an offensive machine,” Cobb said.
Ethan Stephens ran for 112 yards on 16 carries for Powder Valley. Dixon was 13 of 28 passing for 198 yards and two scores and had a 1-yard TD run.
“Compared to our last game (against Mapleton), where our defense wasn’t what it should’ve been, we really stepped up today,” O’Connor said. “The touchdowns they made, they earned them.”
P. Valley 0 6 8 22 — 36
C. Valley 16 6 6 20 — 48
CV — J. Hunt 5 run (Hunt run)
CV — Safety, Dixon intentional grounding in end zone
CV — J. Hunt 15 run (run failed)
CV — J. Hunt 75 run (run failed)
PV — Dixon 1 run (pass failed)
CV — Standley 1 run (pass failed)
PV — Bingham 5 pass from Dixon (Krieger run)
PV — Krieger 15 run (run failed)
PV — Grende 3 pass from Dixon (Dixon run)
CV — Standley 44 run (run failed)
CV — Wolfe 8 run (pass failed)
CV — Wolfe 35 run (T. Casteel pass from Hunt)
PV — Grende 6 pass from Stephens (Stephens run)