Pirates storm into the semifinals
UPDATED NOV. 18
The site for the Saturday semifinal game between Dayton and Santiam Christian has been chosen. The Eagles and Pirates will play at 7 p.m. Saturday at Willamette University in Salem.
Dayton (10-0) beat Willamina to advance. Santiam Christian (10-2) defeated Horizon Christian 47-14.
Santiam Christian beat Dayton 31-28 last December in the 3A state championship game on a last-second field goal by Jeff Hendrix.
DAYTON — The Pirates had a point to make in Friday’s quarterfinal game against Willamina. They have a pass game to complement its fearful run game, and Dayton quarterback Nathan Bernards put it on display in the Pirates’ 54-20 win vs. the Bulldogs in the 3A state quarterfinals.
Bernards passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Pirates (10-0) back to the semifinals for the third straight season. Dayton plays Santiam Christian in a rematch of last year’s 3A state title game Saturday at a yet to be determined site. Santiam Christian beat Dayton 31-28 on a last-second field goal.
Willamina (7-4) struck first, but then it was all Dayton. Willamina running back Tyson Jahn took a handoff from quarterback Trevor Hunt and took it 34 yards for the touchdown, giving the Bulldogs the early 8-0 lead after the conversion with 7 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Pirates answered with back-to-back touchdowns. A 22-yard touchdown reception from Bernards to Justin Sutton, and a 13-yard Forrest Garcia touchdown run gave Dayton a 15-8 lead early in the second quarter.
Garcia added a 6-yard touchdown run with 1:04 left in the half to give Dayton the 22-8 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, Bernards drove the Pirate offense to the 6-yard line and scored on a keeper play to bury the Bulldogs with 9:50 left in the third quarter. Hunt scored with 6:37 left in the third to cut the lead to 29-14, but Dayton had the answer for every Bulldogs move.
Garcia left the game for half a drive after getting a cramp in his leg, and Tyler Clark took over and gave the Pirates their fifth score at 2:08 in the third quarter. They led 35-14. Garcia came back to start the fourth quarter and scored his third touchdown of the night, a 34-yard sprint to the end zone. He added another touchdown on Willamina’s fourth play of its next drive.
Hunt dropped back to pass to Jahn, and Garcia intercepted the pass and ran it back 74 yards for the score and the 48-14 lead. Bernards then threw a second touchdown to Sutton, a 53-yard pass late in the fourth quarter.
Edwin Villalobos scored on a 1-yard run for Willamina.
Dayton held Willamina to 108 total yards. Jahn led Willamina with 116 rush yards and one touchdown.
Dayton produced 515 yards of offense. Garcia ran for 145 yards and scored four touchdowns. Sutton had 127 yards receiving and two touchdowns.