Eugene — Unlike the game that proceeded them, the night cap of a doubleheader at Autzen Stadium found itself tangled in a crazy swing of mistakes, emotions, and big plays. In the end, only one team could win between two teams that were hungry for a crack to play Thurston, and that privilege has been awarded to the team from Central Point.
This game started with a pair of punts until West Albany made the first splash with a strip and fumble recovery by Porter Phillips, putting the Bulldogs in position to score early on. West Albany wouldn’t disappoint as Connor Wolfe drove it into the end zone for the touchdown, putting the Bulldogs ahead 7-0 with 5:36 left in the first quarter. Crater would respond with a field goal on their next possession after a touchdown came back on a holding call, cutting the lead to 7-3 in the first quarter. The Comets kept the momentum going, as the Comets forced a punt and got a one play score on a throw to Gavin Acrey for a touchdown, giving Crater the lead 10-7 late in the first quarter.
West Albany struck back early in the second quarter, as the Wildcat formation gives Caeden Zamora an opportunity and he took advantage for the score, retaking the lead 14-10 with 7:49 left in the half. Crater responded on the next drive, as the Comets found Trevor Jaasko for a touchdown and took the lead back 16-14 after missing the PAT. A West Albany field goal at the end of the half made it 17-16 Bulldogs at the half.
After starting with the ball to start the second half, West Albany ran a play action misdirection pass to Zamora for his second touchdown of the game, extending the Bulldogs lead to 24-16 with 8:52 left in the third quarter. The Comets have an elusive power back in Gavin Acrey, who broke a few tackles and zig zaged his way into the end zone for a touchdown and the subsequent two point conversion tied the game up at 24 apiece.
With a defensive standoff dictating the late third quarter and most of the fourth, Crater had a pair of tricks up their sleeve late in the game. Fresh off a fourth down stop on the biggest play of the game, Brock put a cap on a great offensive day with a huge 71 yard touchdown run, busting off a play to give Crater the lead 30-24 with 4:48 left in the game. On their final drive, a last attempt by the Bulldogs to find the end zone ended in a clutch interception from Tyler Ennis, and Crater clinched a crack at the 5A state championship 30-24 over West Albany, setting up a date with defending state champion Thurston next week.
After a mass of celebrations and reality checks, I tracked down Trevor Jaasko and Brady Brock to discuss the Comets trip to the state championship and things to work on before Thurston next week….
Trevor Jaasko on the clutch defensive plays, “I’m so proud of our defense. They have struggled in past years, but its a really good offense and they were able to hold on and win it in the most clutch time, with Ennis sealing the game with the interception.”
Brady Brock on prepping for Thurston, “Next week we’re going to be working hard like we always do. I would say this game was a fluke and we need to clean some stuff up, but we’ll be ready to go and as Coach always says, “There is always something to fix”.