In the moments after defeating Reynolds in a Mt. Hood Conference game, Clackamas football coach Joe Bushman warned that the Raiders were going to cause issues for some team in the 6A football playoffs.
That team turned out to be South Medford.
Reynolds has made big strides in its second season under coach Ryan Aldred, going from 2-7 to 6-3, and punctuated that improvement Friday with a 35-28 first-round win at the 13th-seeded Panthers, last year’s state runners-up.
It’s the first playoff win for Reynolds since 1997, when it defeated Benson 35-8. The Raiders were 0-8 in the playoffs since that win, a fact not lost on Aldred, who graduated from Reynolds in 2001.
“It doesn’t happen around here,” said Aldred, whose 20th-seeded Raiders (7-3) play No. 4 Jesuit (9-1) in the second round Friday. “It’s a huge deal for us. We’re super excited.”
There is plenty of reason for optimism at Reynolds. The sophomore class – which went 8-1 as freshmen, losing only to Clackamas – is loaded with athletes. And a handful of them are making significant contributions this season.
One of them is 5-foot-9, 195-pound running back Miles Wilson. Running behind a line that includes three sophomores – Ben Reed, Maseo Walker and Jacob Ross – Wilson rushed for 313 yards and four touchdowns on 40 carries against South Medford. He has rushed for 1,054 yards and 18 scores this season.
“He’s a tough kid,” Aldred said. “As a freshman, you could just tell he was a little bit better than the other players out there.”
Wilson also is starting at inside linebacker alongside his brother, junior Nathaniel Wilson (5-8, 230).
“They’re both tremendously hard workers. They kill themselves in the weight room,” Aldred said.
Aldred is hoping that this season is a turning point for the Raiders.
“People always tell me, ‘Well, you’ve got 2,700 kids, why don’t you have more kids out for football?’” Aldred said. “A lot of people don’t realize the type of students we have here. A lot of them don’t want to have anything to do with athletics. So the handful of kids we have out, we need to maximize their potential.”
Sheridan buys in
Jacob Peterson didn’t get much encouragement when he looked into the coaching opening at 2A Sheridan last year.
“I was told, ‘Don’t go. The kids won’t buy in. The community won’t buy in. It’s going to be crazy,’” Peterson said.
Two years later, Peterson is proving those doubters wrong. The Spartans improved from 2-7 to 5-4 in his first season, and after earning the No. 2 playoff seed this season, they got their first playoff win in eight years Friday.
Sheridan (9-1) rolled to a 28-3 first-round win over Warrenton as Josh Rogers ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns and Jacob DeBoff threw touchdown passes to Chris Savoldi and Wyatt Schultz.
Peterson, 32, came to Sheridan after four seasons as an assistant coach at 6A Newberg. He applied for the Newberg job when it opened in 2017, but was told he lacked the necessary head-coaching experience, so he began searching for a position. Sheridan gave him his chance.
“I basically told the kids in the first team meeting, ‘We can be successful here, but I need you to trust me and do what I’m telling you to do,’” he said. “The kids were so hungry for success.”
In 2017, Sheridan had its first winning season since 2010, and the momentum carried over into the offseason. During the summer, Peterson said, he regularly had 26 players in the weight room three days a week.
“Before the season, the seniors said, ‘We don’t want to be remembered as just another class at Sheridan. We want to be remembered as the class at Sheridan,’” Peterson said.
The team’s turnout ballooned to 48 this season as Peterson has strived to create a family atmosphere. Team outings, dinners, milkshakes, t-shirts, special awards, weekly highlight reels – he has done it all.
“You need the bodies, and it’s the mid-level players that fill a roster and really help you,” Peterson said. “A lot of the kids who typically would go like, ‘I don’t want to come out and just get beat up every day,’ are staying out just because they like to be around it and all the fun stuff we do.”
Peterson believes the program is built to sustain success.
“We should be pretty darn good for a while,” he said. “This senior class is very talented, but all my skill kids will be back, except the quarterback.”
Sheridan meets No. 10 Kennedy (8-2) in the quarterfinals. The Spartans beat the Trojans 44-7 in a Special District 2 game Sept. 21.
Barlow running back Jobadiah Malary has taken his game to another level at the end of the season.
The 5-11, 215-pound senior followed a 300-yard, seven-touchdown game in the regular-season finale against Reynolds with a 238-yard effort in a 28-24 win over Beaverton in a first-round game.
“He’s a workhorse. He’s been the Marshawn Lynch of high school football in the state of Oregon,” Barlow coach Terry Summerfield said. “He’s gone beast mode.”
Malary has been piling up yards after contact.
“He’s got guys hitting him at the line of scrimmage, and he gets five yards, 10 yards,” Summerfield said. “He just keeps moving. He has great vision, and this year he has accelerated his speed. He’s running away from guys.”
Malary has rushed for 1,673 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. Summerfield said that colleges have taken notice, with Oregon State and several Big Sky Conference schools among those in communication.
“He’s got a large lower body. He’s loaded down below, which makes him so hard to tackle,” Summerfield said. “You can’t arm-tackle him.”
Malary also has excelled on defense. His primary position is outside linebacker, but the Bruins like to move him around and have him make plays from different spots.
“He’s a violent hitter,” Summerfield said. “He’ll come up and knock you into next week.”
Malary’s performance Friday helped Barlow get its first playoff win since 2006. Down 24-21 with 1:11 left, the Bruins drove 70 yards and scored with 3.2 seconds remaining on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jaren Hunter to Charles Ndayizeye.
If that pass had fallen incomplete, Summerfield said the Bruins were prepared to go for a touchdown on the final play rather than try for a game-tying field goal.
“We were going to go for it. We had the play,” he said. “I know the boo-birds would’ve been out, the coulda, shoulda, wouldas, but it’s just how you read your team.”
Gliding to quarterfinals
Perhaps no team enjoyed its first-round playoff win more than 2A Glide.
The 13th-seeded Wildcats (6-4) survived a wild game at No. 4 Knappa (8-2), prevailing 48-42 in overtime for their first playoff win in 36 years.
“The team just went crazy. You would’ve thought we just won the Super Bowl,” coach Jody Doty said. “They stormed the end zone. It was absolute mayhem for these kids.”
Glide forced overtime after trailing 36-26 early in the fourth quarter. Wyatt Estrada intercepted Knappa on the first series of overtime, and the Wildcats won on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Caidyn Cunningham to Zach Holland.
“I honestly knew at that point that we were going to score,” Doty said. “They had really just lost their emotion, and our kids were just jumping all over the sideline.”
Holland came back after missing three games with a high ankle sprain and rushed for 244 yards and scored six touchdowns. Without him, Glide finished the regular season on a three-game losing streak.
“Every time he got his hands on the ball, he did a lot of good things with it,” Doty said.
Glide plays at No. 5 Santiam (8-1) in the quarterfinals.