Photo by DEBBIE RANEY
Above: The Mustang defense on the line against the Sherman Huskies. Below: Donald McDermond celebrates Crane’s victory.
By Debbie Raney Burns Times-Herald
Four have now moved on. Crane, Perrydale, Camas Valley and Triad are the final four teams remaining in the hunt for the 1A state football title.
The OSAA semi-final games will be played this Saturday at Summit High School in Bend. The first game will pit Camas Valley and Triad, with kickoff at noon. The second game will have the Crane Mustangs playing the Perrydale Pirates, with kickoff at 4 p.m.
To earn advancement into the semi-finals, the Mustangs defeated the Sherman Huskies, 34-28, in the quarter-finals on Nov. 19.
The first period of the quarter-finals were a defensive brawl and a battle for control between Crane and Sherman. The teams both had possession two times in the opening 12 minutes. Crane put an end to the Huskies two drives with a fumble recovered by Levi Miller and a possession change on downs.
The Mustangs had a drive stopped by an interception, and were on offense for their second try as the first quarter ended.
On the first play of the second quarter, the Mustangs found the end zone for their first points on a 22-yard run by Ryan Opie. The conversion attempt was thwarted, and the score was 6-0.
The Huskies had the ball for nearly six minutes on their next drive, and managed to move the ball only 21 total yards. In spite of getting two first downs, Sherman moved backwards on penalties and tackles for loss by Crane’s Wilson Witzel, Greg Thompson and Opie.
The Mustangs took over on downs and began their next possession on their own 45.
The first snap had Opie drop back and pass to Miller in a crossing route, just five yards off the line of scrimmage. Miller was a step ahead of the defense and sprinted all the way to the end zone for the Mustangs’ second touchdown. Once again, Crane failed to get the conversion points, and the score was 12-0.
A run back on the ensuing kick off by Sherman’s Kyle Burnett gave the Huskies prime field position on Crane’s 47. In seven plays the Huskies had a first-and-10 on the 11. A pass from Riley Brown to Burnett put Sherman on the scoreboard. The Huskies were able to convert the two-points, and closed the score to 8-12, with 21 seconds left in the first half.
Sherman helped the Mustangs begin their next possession at mid-field, attempting an onside kick. Crane got on the kick and had 20 seconds to go 43 yards. After a 26-yard pass from R. Opie to Tyler Opie, the Mustangs lined up with trips to the left. R. Opie again stepped back to pass, and the Huskies bit on the three receivers to the left, leaving a now-eligible Nic Nyman all alone on the right side of the field. Nyman pulled down the pass and went in for the Mustangs’ third touchdown, and a halftime score of 18-8.
Crane kicked to the Huskies to begin the third quarter. A stop by Cash Casey on the kick had Sherman backed up to their 10-yard line. The drive ended with a tackle for loss by Cole Maupin, Sherman punted to the Mustangs.
From their own 46, Crane needed only three plays to score another TD. Greg Thompson got the first yards and then Maupin pounded the ball through the middle behind Donald McDermond to the 5-yard line. R. Opie finished the possession with a touchdown run, followed up with a conversion run. With the clock at 7:49 in the third, the score was 26-8.
The Huskies did not give up. Beginning the next drive on their own 25, Sherman picked up three first downs by effort and one by a Crane penalty, and had moved the ball to the Mustang’s 1-yard line. One final push through the middle and Sherman closed the score to 26-14 to begin the fourth.
After intercepting a Mustang pass, the Huskies had the ball on Crane’s 35.
In spite of tackles behind the line of scrimmage by Casey and Nyman, Sherman pushed the ball down the field, and scored on a 4-yard run. With 9:26 left in the game, the score had Crane leading 26-20.
Another onside kick by Sherman gave the Mustangs the chance to begin their next possession on the Huskies’ 49. But, three penalties before Crane could get a play off moved the Mustangs all the way back to the 26. Carries by Maupin and R. Opie, and another pass to Nyman brought the ball back to the 48. R. Opie found his brother all alone on a 4th-and-9. T.
Opie caught the ball on the 25 and went untouched in for the Mustangs’ final touchdown. Crane added another two on a R. Opie run, and with 7:20 left in the game, the score was 34-20.
The Huskies answered back in less than a minute, scoring on a 19-yard run through the middle of the Mustangs defense. With a successful two-point run, Sherman squeezed the score back to 34-28.
It was then a matter of using up the clock and keeping possession for the Mustangs. With Thompson, Maupin and R. Opie eating up the yards on the ground and in the air, the Mustangs were at the Huskies’ 30, looking at a 4th-and-6, with over two minutes on the clock. R. Opie dropped back to pass, found no one open and scrambled to the left side of the field. T. Opie came back from his route downfield and took out the last potential tackler, giving Crane the first down and the opportunity to keep possession of the ball through the last two minutes of play.
1 2 3 4 Final
Cra 0 18 8 8 34
Sher 0 8 6 14 28