Sheldon downs Lake Oswego 13-6 for 6A state title
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Senior Connor Strahm was in tears. The Sheldon receiver had been defeated by Lake Oswego for two straight seasons.
But on Saturday he capped off his prep career with a touchdown and two interceptions, leading the top-ranked Irish to a 13-6 victory over the Lakers for the OSAA Class 6A championship.
"They beat us my sophomore and junior years, so to go out with a win against them is special," Strahm said.
Lake Oswego defeated Sheldon 47-14 last year for the state title. In 2010, the Lakers won 45-14 in the quarterfinals.
Taylor Alie threw for 136 yards and Nathan Starnes kicked a pair of field goals for the top-ranked Irish (14-0), who won their school's fourth state championship.
"It's our whole team," Strahm said, tears in his eyes. "These guys worked their tails off and to go out like this, it's amazing."
Jack Anderson had a 4-yard run for the second-ranked Lakers (13-1), who were thwarted by five turnovers.
Strahm, a senior wide receiver and linebacker, also had eight catches for 74 yards to lead all receivers. He finished with 9 yards rushing on five carries, including the fourth quarter go-ahead touchdown.
"He's all over the place," Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury lamented afterward.
While both teams were noted for their passing attacks, Saturday's title game was mostly about defense.
Griffin Graves missed a 32-yard field goal on the Lakers' first series. On the next, Lake Oswego moved downfield on Nick Underwood's 44-yard rush and then on J.B. Holmes' 16-yard run to get to the 9-yard line. But Strahm intercepted quarterback Justen Ruppe in the end zone to end the threat.
Ruppe, who had thrown just one interception going into the game, threw his second of the game late in the first half and Sheldon got a 27-yeard field goal from Nathan Starnes as time ran out for a 3-0 lead.
Ruppe, completed eight of 16 passes for 74 yards. He threw four interceptions.
Sheldon stopped Holmes on a 4th-and-goal run midway through the third quarter, but then turned the ball back over to the Lakers on the 12-yard line. Jack Anderson scored on a 4-yard run but Griffin Gravers' extra point was blocked to make it 6-3 with 3:38 left.
The Irish answered on the next series with Strahm's 1-yard run to go up 9-3, before another interception of Ruppe led to Starnes' 26-yard field goal for the final margin.
Holmes finished with 100 yards rushing on 22 carries for the Lakers.
Alie completed 21 or 26 passes for the Irish and also rushed for 62 yards.
"We played really good defense all year, but I didn't this we'd hold them to six points," Sheldon coach Lane Johnson said. "It was a great high school football game."
It was the ninth time in 11 seasons that the two teams have met in the playoffs, including six straight meetings. Sheldon has played Lake Oswego twice in the finals, in 2002 and last season when Lakers tailback Steven Long ran for three consecutive second-half touchdowns to give Lake Oswego the title.
The Lakers defeated Tigard 42-21 in a semifinal game last weekend, while Sheldon defeated Jesuit 35-28.