For the second half, the Roseburg Indians played toe-to-toe with defending Southwest Conference champion Sheldon. Unfortunately, a big early deficit was too much for the Tribe to overcome on homecoming and senior night Friday at Finlay Field.
The Irish, ranked sixth in the OSAA Class 6A power rankings, took a 30-0 lead into halftime against Roseburg and held off the Indians in the second half for a 44-14 victory.
“Obviously that score isn’t what we wanted,” said Roseburg head coach Dave Heuberger. “But I think they got better this week.”
Roseburg (2-6, 0-4 SWC) mixed things up on the offensive side of the ball in search for a spark. Junior Garrett Zeimet provided that jolt in the second half.
The Indians came out of the locker room at halftime with enthusiasm and nearly got back within two scores in the closing minutes of the third period.
Zeimet drove the offense to Sheldon’s 1-yard line, but a fumbled snap gave the ball back to Sheldon (4-4, 3-0) and kept the Indians at a three-score deficit that they couldn’t overcome.
“For us to come out and compete like that, I told them we loved them. I’m proud of them and they hopefully set an example of how we played football at Finlay Field,” Heuberger said.
Sheldon jumped out to a 30-0 lead in a penalty-plagued first half. The Irish got two rushing touchdowns from senior Lane Shields.
Ben Mehlhaff added a 2-yard score in the first quarter and quarterback Griffin Line connected with Hunter Anderle for his only passing TD of the night.
Zeimet took over at quarterback for senior Jace Stoffal in the first half and the switch energized the Indians’ offense which had been stagnant the past two weeks.
The junior was just 8-of-18 through the air, but finished with 134 yards and an 8-yard touchdown to sophomore Carson Six. Zeimet also added 94 yards on the ground for the Indians.
“We talked to them (Zeimet and Stoffal) at halftime,” said Heuberger, who made it clear that Stoffal didn’t lose the starting job behind center. “We were looking for a different spark.”
Stoffal moved to receiver, a position he played as a junior but was limited due to a broken collarbone. The senior had three catches for 76 yards.
Heuberger feels the new wrinkle in the offense will give Roseburg a different dynamic going into its final game of the regular season at Canby next Friday.
Sheldon 21 9 7 7 — 44
Roseburg 0 0 7 7 — 14
S — Shields 5 run (Kartub kick)
S — Anderle 6 pass from G. Line (Kartub kick)
S — Mehlhaff 2 run (Kartub kick)
S — Safety, Harward tackles Zeimet in end zone
S — Shields 9 run (Kartub kick)
R — Thompson 10 run (Christner kick)
S — Mehlhaff 1 run (Kartub kick)
R — Six 8 pass from Zeimet (Christner kick)
S — P. Adams 2 pass from Helikson (Kartub kick)