Sherwood senior quarterback Kasen Covert was a Pacific Conference first-team selection last season. (PMG Photo: John Lariviere)
Sherwood senior quarterback Kasen Covert was a Pacific Conference first-team selection last season. (PMG Photo: John Lariviere)

For Sherwood to regain its status among the elite in 6A football, the Bowmen know they can't afford self-inflicted wounds.

So when the No. 9 Bowmen committed three turnovers in last week's season opener – including a fumble returned for a touchdown, complicating their 34-21 victory at West Salem – they had to take a long look in the mirror.

“We have to play clean and smart and efficient,” coach Mark Gribble said. “If we come out and play clean, I think that game's a little different at the end.”

The Bowmen carry that lesson forward to Friday's nonleague home game against Clackamas (1-0). They don't need a reminder about what happened in last year's 34-25 loss at Clackamas, when they fumbled deep in Cavaliers territory and it turned into a scoop-and-score, a 14-point swing.

“I feel like we hurt ourselves last year, gave one away at their place,” said Gribble, who led Sherwood to an 8-3 record in his first season as coach in 2022.

The Bowmen won the Pacific Conference last season and reached the 6A quarterfinals for the second year in a row, falling to champion West Linn 56-7. With many key players returning, they believe they are ready to take a step forward.

“I've got very high aspirations for this group,” Gribble said. “We're loaded with a very talented senior class. Having our experience last year, and returning that many kids, the expectation level has to be high. We've got great leadership.”

Last week, Sherwood's wing-T offense rushed for 239 of its 296 yards, getting two touchdown runs from 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior Wilson Medina.

Senior quarterback Kasen Covert, the returning starter, had a modest performance, completing 5 of 9 passes for 57 yards and one touchdown with one interception. But he's capable of much more.

“He understands how to take what the defense is giving you, as opposed to forcing things,” Gribble said. “His reading is a lot better, his decision-making. He's got a great arm and a special set of skills with his feet that you can't coach. That puts our offense is a very dynamic position.”

Senior Evan Morris (6-3, 185), a track standout, is a big-time target at receiver and a physical force at safety. Junior lineman Suliasi Laulaupea'alu (6-4, 335) is a third-year starter at offensive tackle and is starting to contribute on defense.

“He's a man-child. He's a game-changer,” Gribble said.

Sherwood, which won 5A titles in 2010 and 2012 and reached the 6A semifinals in 2015, is striving to climb the ranks this season.

“The kids have bought into that,” Gribble said. “They've kind of got a chip on their shoulder. We do have a lot of pieces in place.”

Clackamas, which went 5-6 last season, is coming off a 28-7 win over Westview. Junior Luke Baker, a transfer from Central Catholic, ran for two touchdowns (one from 97 yards) and caught a 37-yard scoring pass.

Baker lines up mostly at wide receiver but plays some quarterback. He also is a threat as a kick returner and is a play-maker at cornerback.

“He can really affect a game in all facets – special teams, offense and defense,” Cavaliers coach James Holan said. “He's definitely a leader on our team.”

The Cavaliers, who feature Oregon-bound senior guard Devin Brooks (6-5, 275), rely heavily on juniors. Many of them got extensive playing time last season when the team was plagued by injuries.

“We're an experienced young group,” Holan said. “I love the energy we're playing with.”

Other top matchups in Week 2:


4A No. 2 Scappoose (1-0) at 4A No. 6 Estacada (0-1), 7 p.m.: Reigning state champion Estacada defeated Scappoose twice last season, 48-19 on the road in Week 2 and 14-7 in the state semifinals. Now the Rangers, who dropped their opener 2014 at No. 1 Mazama, will try to get on track against the Indians, who throttled Gladstone 41-0 last week behind three touchdown passes from Max Nowlin.


6A No. 1 West Linn (1-0) at 6A No. 6 Sheldon (0-1), 7 p.m.: West Linn dropped Sheldon 23-14 in last year's 6A final, avenging its only loss of the season, 35-31 at home in Week 2. The Lions, led by junior quarterback Baird Gilroy, take on a hungry Irish team that is still smarting from a 37-3 home loss to Mililani (Hawaii).

6A No. 2 Central Catholic (1-0) at 6A No. 5 Jesuit (0-1), 7 p.m.: In last year's state quarterfinals, Central Catholic held on to beat Jesuit 23-20, buckling down on defense after the Crusaders reached the 16-yard line in the closing minutes. Jesuit lost its opener 28-0 at Skyview of Vancouver, ranked No. 4 in Washington's 4A. The last time the Crusaders failed to score was in 2009, a 17-0 loss at Skyline (Wash.). They bounced back from that loss to finish as 6A runners-up.

6A No. 3 Tualatin (1-0) at Lincoln of Tacoma, Wash. (1-0), 7 p.m.: Lincoln, a 3A quarterfinalist in Washington last year and ranked No. 10 this season, poses a threat to the Timberwolves. Tualatin smashed reigning 5A champion Summit 42-14 last week, getting five touchdown passes from junior Nolan Keeney, a transfer from Westview.

5A No. 2 Summit (0-1) at 5A No. 6 Thurston (0-1), 7 p.m.: Summit, the state champion in 2022, relinquished its spot atop the OSAAtoday 5A coaches poll to Wilsonville after falling to 6A power Tualatin 42-14 in Week 1. The Storm is looking to rebound, as is Thurston, which lost at Wilsonville 44-15 last week.

4A No. 4 Marist Catholic (1-0) at Springfield (1-0), 7 p.m.: First-year Springfield coach Frank Geske takes on his former team in Marist Catholic, where he went 120-46 with one state title (2009) in the last 15 seasons. The Spartans, with new coach Charlie Landgraf, pulled out an emotional 36-35 overtime win at 5A Churchill last week, stopping a two-point conversion attempt to clinch it.

3A No. 1 Banks (1-0) at 4A No. 3 Tillamook (1-0), 7 p.m.: The former Cowapa League rivals square off in a nonleague game for the second year in a row. The Braves have won 16 consecutive meetings against Tillamook, including 20-12 last season. The Cheesemakers, 4A runners-up last year, dominated Marshfield 45-20 in their opener. Banks supplanted Cascade Christian on top of the OSAAtoday 3A coaches poll after routing Astoria 52-0.

3A No. 7 Siuslaw (1-0) at 3A No. 4 Kennedy (1-0), 7 p.m.: Both teams produced impressive shutout wins in Week 1, Siuslaw 36-0 over Newport and Kennedy 43-0 over Stanfield. Last year, Kennedy won at Suislaw 24-0 on its way to being the 3A runner-up.

2A No. 4 Weston-McEwen/Griswold (1-0) at 2A No. 1 Oakland (1-0), 5 p.m.: Oakland defeated the TigerScots 46-32 in last year's state championship game, avenging a 24-16 loss at Weston-McEwen in Week 2. The Oakers graduated star running back Cade Olds, but Brayden Webb and Jacob Chenoweth proved capable in a 46-8 opening win at Monroe.

1A-6 No. 2 Joseph (1-0) at 1A-6 No. 5 Prairie City/Burnt River (1-0), 7 p.m.: Joseph's offense was clicking in a 52-28 win over Echo, but now the Eagles go up against a Prairie City defense that held Wallowa to 43 total yards in 44-0 win. Prairie City won at Joseph 48-32 last season.


1A-8 No. 1 Lost River (1-0) vs. 1A-8 No. 6 Powder Valley (0-1) at Burns HS, 11 a.m.: Reigning state champion Lost River, which outlasted then-No. 2 St. Paul 40-36 last week in a finals rematch, gets another test against the Badgers, which lost to No. 5 Camas Valley 54-46. Lost River defeated Powder Valley 40-14 in the 2022 semifinals.