ADAIR VILLAGE — The Sutherlin High school football team got an upset win over Santiam Christian on Friday night, downing the Eagles 26-23.
The Bulldogs (5-2, 2-1) are now tied for second in the Special District 2 with the Eagles, but own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the win.
"We had some great breaks in the first half. The fumble recovery before halftime was huge for us," Sutherlin coach Josh Gary said. "We got a big score to start the fourth quarter. We were nervous there but (Santiam Christian is) great program. They played in the state title game last year.
"We'll take a win any way we can get it. It was pretty fun for our kids."
Sutherlin took a safety instead of punting from its own 2 with close to 1 minute remaining in the game to secure the win.
After Sutherlin's free kick after the safety, Santiam Christian returned the kick to the Bulldogs' 32. The Eagles drove to the Sutherlin 24, but the Bulldogs recovered a SC fumble to secure the win.
Jake Merrifield had 21 carries for 77 yards for the Bulldogs. Cade Meisner had 12 carries for 32 yards and went 1-for-5 passing for 83 yards and an interception.
Mason Gill had an 83-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter and an interception on defense for Sutherlin.
To end the first half, Meisner threw an interception into the end zone from the Eagles' 24. Santiam Christian fumbled on the return attempt, though, and Sutherlin lineman Scott Shepard returned it 13 yards for a touchdown.
SC freshman quarterback Ely Kennel went 10-for-17 passing for 124 yards. Kennel also had eight carries for 51 yards. Sutherlin outgained Santiam 244-217.
Sutherlin hosts Pleasant Hill next Friday.
SC — Choi 4 run (Choi run)
S — Meisner 3 run (pass failed)
S — Gill 83 pass from Meisner (run failed)
S — Shepard 13 fumble recovery (Anderson pass from Meisner)
SC — Choi 1 run (Mehlschau kick)
S — Merrifield 1 run (pass failed)
SC — Choi 3 run (run failed)
SC — safety, Meisner kneeled in end zone