SILVERTON — Oakland planned to walk onto the turf at McGinnis Field carrying a big stick into its Class 2A football quarterfinal playoff game against top-seeded Kennedy.
The Trojans of Mt. Angel took that stick and ran it through a wood chipper.
Kennedy (9-1) raced to a 20-0 first-quarter lead and felt little resistance thereafter, posting a 45-7 victory to end the No. 9 Oakers’ season.
Do-it-all Trojan Bruce Beyer ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns, returned a fourth-quarter fumble 55 yards for a score and recovered his own onside kick 30 yards downfield in a dominant individual performance. He also made four point-after kicks and threw a two-point conversion pass.
“They were a lot more physical than I think we were expecting,” said Oakers head coach Ben Lane, whose team ended the season at 8-3 overall. “Beyer is a very strong runner and we just couldn’t seem to get hold of him.”
“They were just more physical than us,” senior Ronan Allen said. “They beat us to the point on almost everything. They were just tougher than we were.”
Beyer set the tone early on, intercepting a Corbin Picknell pass just four plays into the game and returning it to the Oakers’ 20-yard line. A late-hit penalty moved the Trojans to the Oakland 10 and three plays later, Dylan Kleinschmidt hit Isaiah Basargin for a 6-yard TD.
Oakland was forced to punt on its next possession, but a 15-yard personal foul penalty on the Oakers set up Kennedy on the Oakland 41. David Reyes got the Trojans started with a 25-yard run on a fly sweep and, two plays later, Beyer ran in from eight yards to push the lead to 14-0.
“They have some tough runners,” Oakland middle linebacker Wil Powell said. “We were having a really hard time wrapping them up.”
Beyer added a 6-yard TD run with 2:11 left in the first quarter for a 20-0 lead. Oakland was penalized five times for 55 yards in the opening period and 11 times for 102 yards for the game. Kennedy had just five penalties for 55 yards.
“Well, that wasn’t in the script,” Lane said of the first quarter. “They are a not a team you can afford to spot 20 points, and the penalties definitely didn’t help.”
After the shaky start, though, the Oakers starting to swing momentum back their way in the second quarter with a big turnover — on perhaps the craziest play of the game — that prevented the team falling into a 27-0 hole.
On second-and-9 from the Oakland 48, Beyer took a handoff and got bottled up in the backfield. Going right didn’t work, and when he switched paths, he dropped the ball, which bounced right back into his hands. He found an opening around the left of the Oakland defense and raced down the sideline.
Beyer was chased down by Jayden Henry, who stripped the ball free at the Oakland 7. Vicente Alcantar pounced on the loose ball and the Oakers took over at their own 4.
Oakland quickly got out of the shadow of its end zone on three runs by Picknell and a dive from Powell to get the Oakers out to the 28. A delay of game backed the Oakers up five yards, and on second-and-13 Picknell picked up nine yards. Then Oakland went to the air.
Picknell hit Caleb Chastain on a quick five-yard pass, then found Chandler Miller for three consecutive passes of 18, 15 and 16 yards to get the Oakers into Kennedy territory for the first time. The third completion, coupled with a roughing the passer penalty, moved Oakland to the 5, where Picknell ran into the right corner of the end zone to get the Oakers on the board.
The drive covered 96 yards in 13 plays and almost six minutes, and Oakland seemed to be back in business.
After Kennedy drove deep into Oakland territory again, earning a first-and-goal at the Oaker 6, the defense stiffened, with Powell and Henry both tallying tackles for loss as the goal-line stand resulted in a 22-yard field goal from Beyer with just seconds left in the half.
Any attained momentum was stripped away after halftime.
Kleinschmidt threw a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes to Basargin and Brady Traeger, and three plays into the fourth quarter Beyer scooped up a botched option pitch and raced 55 yards down the Kennedy sideline for the final points of the game.
“It’s disappointing, but they just seemed to play with more energy than we did,” Lane said.
Picknell was limited to just 49 yards on 16 carries, and also was 7-for-11 passing for 76 yards with two interceptions. Miller finished with five catches for 68 yards.
In all, Oakland turned the ball over five times with three interceptions and a two lost fumbles.
Events got testy in the fourth quarter, which saw each team have a player ejected, including a Kennedy player charged with targeting on a hit which knocked Picknell out of the game.
While Picknell will return as the anchor of the Oakers in 2020, Oakland bids farewell to a number of graduating seniors, including Conrad Jones, Dakota Percell, Chastain, Timmy Sigl, Powell, Shain Reece, Allen, Austin VanHouten and AJ Weaver.
Kennedy will take on Special District 3 champion and No. 4 seed Monroe (10-1) at 11 a.m. Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium. The Dragons thumped SD4 champion Toledo 56-26 Saturday in Monroe.
Oakland 0 7 0 0 — 7
Kennedy 20 3 15 7 — 45
K — Basargin 6 pass from Kleinschmidt (Beyer kick)
K — Beyer 8 run (Beyer kick)
K — Beyer 6 run (kick failed)
DC — Picknell 5 run (Picknell kick)
K — Beyer 22 field goal
K — Basargin 19 pass from Kleinschmidt (Cantu pass from Beyer)
K — Traeger 2 pass from Kleinschmidt (Beyer kick)
K — Beyer 55 fumble return (Beyer kick)