SUTHERLIN — A goal-line stand with under two minutes to go gave Sutherlin a hard-fought 14-6 nonleague football victory over Oakland Friday night at Sutherlin High School.
It capped a defensive slugfest between the two rivals and sent the Oakers to their second consecutive eight-point loss.
Senior running back Adan Diaz gave Sutherlin the lead with a 59-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. Diaz also scored the first Bulldog TD in the first quarter with a 41-yard run. He finished with 135 yards on eight carries.
The Oakers (0-2) scored their only touchdown in the second quarter when junior Cade Olds powered in from 2 yards out to tie the score at 6-6. Both teams failed on the extra point attempts.
Trailing by eight, Oakland got the ball back with 6 minutes to go in the game, and marched to the Sutherlin 3 with a first-and-goal following a 24-yard run by senior running back Baker Brooksby.
Three runs came up short of the end zone and on fourth down, Brooksby was stopped at the 1.
Sutherlin (2-0) took over and moved the ball out to the 5 and on third-and-6, still with over a minute remaining, the Oakers jumped offsides. Then on third-and-1 the Bulldogs picked up the first down and were able to run out the clock.
“They had pounded on us and moved us and we took so many body blows, then four chances inside the 4-yard line to hold there, that was huge,” Sutherlin coach Josh Gary said. “That just showed our kids kind of heart and kind of guts ... that was the play of the game, for sure.”
The Bulldogs had a tough time stopping Brooksby, who ran for 138 yards on 24 carries.
Gary said it was the type of game they expected from Oakland.
“We knew they were tough and just the physicality they brought to us, I thought they outplayed us in a lot of ways and did some great things,” Gary said. “They played our game, that’s what I like to do is grind it out. You have to tip your hat to coach (Ben) Lane — that’s good football and he’s been doing it for years.”
The Oakers’ defense also came up with some big stops, holding the Bulldogs at the Oakland 13-yard line after recovering a fumble on the first drives of the third quarter. Then the Oakers stopped the Bulldogs on downs at the Oakland 23.
“It was a physical battle,” Lane said. “Our defense held to the task and our offense fell short. We had our chances, but I was proud of the effort.”
The Sutherlin defense always seemed to come up with the big play when it needed to.
Sutherlin senior running back Thomas Mentes had 62 yards rushing on 14 carries and caught three passes for 16 yards.
There was just eight passes thrown in the game. Sutherlin junior quarterback Ely Palm was 3-for-5 passing for 16 yards, while Oakland quarterback Cole Collins was just 2-for-3 for 2 yards.
Sutherlin will be at home for the third week in a row, when the Bulldogs host 4A Valley Catholic next Friday.
Oakland, still looking for its first victory, will be at Lowell Friday to begin 2A Special District 3 play.
Oakland 0 6 0 0 — 6
Sutherlin 6 0 8 0 — 14
S — Diaz 41 run (run failed)
O — Olds 2 run (kick failed)
S — Diaz 59 run (Mentes pass from Palm)