Rockne Roll/News-Register##
Willamina head coach Dan Oswald congratulates one of his players during the Bulldogs  31-0 win against Sheridan.
Rockne Roll/News-Register## Willamina head coach Dan Oswald congratulates one of his players during the Bulldogs' 31-0 win against Sheridan.
By Logan Brandon • Logan Brandon • 

Bulldogs punch ticket to state playoffs with 31-0 shutout of rival Sheridan

SHERIDAN – With a dynamic performance from quarterback Brad Milton, the Willamina Bulldogs defeated rival Sheridan, 31-0, tonight at Bill Chrisman Memorial Field. The Bulldogs’ victory locked up third place in the Class 3A West Valley League and an automatic berth to the state playoffs.

The Spartans, while eliminated from playoff qualification, have plenty to celebrate despite the shutout home loss. Under first-year head coach Jacob Peterson, Sheridan finished with a 5-4 record overall; the Spartans’ first winning season in over five years.

Milton showed his elite dual-threat ability in leading his squad to a crucial triumph. He scored the first touchdown of the night on a 14-yard designed QB draw. Milton next showcased his arm, throwing a 42-yard TD to Jacob Skjei to deliver the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead after one quarter of play.

While Willamina’s star lit up the field, Sheridan’s Josh Rogers suffered an early foot injury, knocking him from the remainder of the contest. Without his electric presence in the backfield, the Spartan offense struggled.

Milton extended the road team’s advantage with a 29-yard field goal with 5:59 left in the second quarter. The 17-0 Bulldog lead would hold up to the halftime break.

Willamina exploded out of the break with another lengthy Milton touchdown pass. This time, the senior signal caller spiraled a perfect 32-yard pass to Austin Watkins on a deep crossing pattern.

Down 24-0, Sheridan desperately searched for any source of momentum. Larry Hayes forced a fumble with a brutal tackle, but the Spartan offense went three-and-out on their next series.

Late in the third quarter, frustrations boiled over for the two adversaries. After Willamina’s True Gibbons caught a ten-yard pass and was tackled into the Bulldog sidelines, a brief skirmish followed. Players from both teams exchanged words,which resulted in multiple offsetting unsportsmanlike penalties.

Putting the verbal battle behind them, the Bulldogs marched 50 yards for a score, concluding with another Milton to Watkins hookup.

The Spartans assembled their finest drive on the ensuing series. Quarterback Jacob DeBoff took off on runs of 13, six and three yards to push Sheridan into Willamina territory. Chris Savoldi gained five yards on a reverse then caught a nine-yard out-route to get to the Bulldog 19.

Unfortunately, the home team’s drive fell short at the eight-yard line as a Tommy Dawson’s fourth-down run failed to move the chains.

The two teams traded two scoreless drives to close the game, resulting in the 31-0 Bulldog victory.

Milton finished 18-30 passing for 300 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a score and was picked off by Sheridan’s Joey Daniel on a first-quarter throw.

Willamina (7-2, 3-2 WVL) moves to 13th in the state, and awaits its first-round playoff opponent. Kickoff for the postseason will commence next Friday.

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