By News-Register staff • 

Pirates a playoff team, no costume required

DAYTON -- One month after being knocked off the field at Santiam Christian with a concussion, Dayton senior quarterback Darren Ashley has the Pirates back on track -- and in the OSAA Class 3A state playoffs.

Ashley's 3-yard touchdown run on a quarterback sneak with 1 minute, 38 seconds remaining and his ensuing two-point run lifted Dayton into second place in the Class 3A West Valley League in a 20-14 victory over Amity on Friday night at Gubser Field.

At 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the West Valley League, Dayton vaulted into an automatic qualifying position for the state playoffs with the victory. League champion Santiam Christian and third-place finisher Horizon Christian will also be in the playoffs. Amity (5-4, 3-3 WVL) finishes in a tie for fourth place with Taft (6-3, 3-3 WVL), which played a nonleague game against Class 2A Santiam.

The Warriors did not go down without a fight. Lance Nelson found Brady Baughman on a play-action pass for a 29-yard touchdown to open the scoring in the first quarter, on a drive aided by pass interference and personal foul penalties by Dayton. Amity drove into the red zone twice in the second quarter, but Oscar Rosas intercepted Lance Nelson in the end zone to end one drive and recovered a fumble by Niko Mudong on the other.

Dayton used its power run game to success in the first half. A 32-yard run by Cody Stahl set Tyler Clark up for a 12-yard score, and Chase Young took a counter play 52 yards to give the Pirates a 12-8 lead that would last into the fourth quarter.

Amity faced a fourth-and-goal situation from the Dayton 5-yard line with 10:17 remaining in the game when offensive coordinator Joel Magill reached into the bag of tricks. Nelson faced a handoff, turned as if on a bootleg and -- with his back to the line play -- launced the ball over his head. A confused group of Pirates defenders tracked the flight of the ball into tight end T.R. McShane's arms. Colby Graham was stuffed on the two-point conversion, putting the score at 14-12.

The Pirates drove down the field in 12 plays on the ensuing drive but failed to convert a fourth-and-11 from the Amity 20-yard line when Ashley short-armed a pass to Matt Shouldis. The Dayton defense held strong, however, forcing the Warriors into a three-and-out and taking a punt back to the 50-yard line with 3:40 on the clock.

Sheridan 25, Willamina 6

SHERIDAN - The visiting Willamina Bulldogs scored the first points of their rivalry game against the Spartans in Class 3A west Valley League football action Friday night on Ian Bruckner's rushing touchdown.

It would be their last points of the season.

Sheridan converted two Bulldog fumbles into two touchdowns in the second quarter and never looked back as they ran away with a 25-6 victory to cap their season with their first WVL win. 

"We came out and didn’t let that get to us. We got all fired up and put their backs to the endzone," Sheridan senior running back Justin Acuff said. "Turnovers are always a big turnaround for a game, it was good."

Acuff ran for 85 yards on 18 carries in his last game in Spartans blue, scoring a touchdown in the third quarter. Dominique Card ran for two scores in the second quarter and intercepted a Shane Thomas pass in the endzone to cap off the first half. Thomas was picked off twice more in the back half of the game, with Chase Butt and Justin Stauffer, in order, coming away with the ball. Sheridan head coach Brice Ingram crtedited Acuff's performance on defense with keeping the Willamina offense off-balence in the backfield. 

"Every play he was blitzing, it was like a track meet for him," Ingram said.

Jackson Meyer added a touchdown in the fourth quarter. With 17 seconds left, Card was wiped out by an unidentified Willamina player while attempting to take a knee to run out the clock. The Bulldog player was ejected from the game. 

WIllamina head coach Rob Shader declined a request for an interview following the game. 

Sheridan ends the year 3-5, with two wins in two non-league games. Willamina finishes the campaign with a 1-8 mark, posting an 0-5 WVL record.

Forest Grove 35, McMinnville 28

FOREST GROVE -- The event's name will be rightfully disputed, but the final result cannot be. The Vikings are the winners of Pigeon Bowl II.

Tanner Scanlon had three total touchdowns, including one on a hook-and-ladder pass play in the third quarter, but McMinnville lost its final Class 6A Greater Valley Conference game to Forest Grove on Friday night. A late rushing touchdown with 3:23 remaining broke a 28-28 tie in favor over the Vikings, and the Grizzlies could not come back from it.

The Grizzlies trailed 20-14 at the half before taking the lead on the hook-and-ladder touchdown pass, their last lead of the ball game.

McMinnville will conclude its season with a 1-8 record (1-7 GVC).

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