BEAVERTON, Ore. -- With Friday night’s treacherous rainfall, sloppy mistakes plagued the Sheldon Irish in their playoff game against the Southridge Skyhawks. However the slippery Skyhawks field in Beaverton might not have been the only reason for a slow start.
After regaining their footing, the Irish pulled out a 67-27 victory to beat the Skyhawks for the second time this year.
The win solidified the Irish a slot in the Semifinals next week.
As quarterback Taylor Alie said, the victory was hard-fought.
“[The] second time playing a team is always tough … they’ve seen what you can do,” Alie said after the game. “We came out the first game and we were nervous, and we just didn’t play Sheldon football. And this time, it kind of showed.”
In the first quarter, the Irish didn’t come out as strong as normal, with three penalties - one holding, two false starts – in their first series. The Irish punted on 4th and 22. Southridge, too, started their series in a lull, punting on 4th and 4.
For their second possession of the ball, quarterback Taylor Alie’s handoff to running back Mitch Lewis led to a fumble. The Irish recovered the ball and continued their possession, with a pass to wide receiver Connor Strahm and another to running back Mitch Lewis, before quarterback Alie’s pass to wide receiver Mike Ralston for the first touchdown of the night.
Down 7-0, the Skyhawks failed to score and had to punt. On the punt return, wide receiver Strahm ran for 36 yards to set up the next Irish score. Quarterback Alie then threw a laser pass to wide receiver Mitchell Herbert, putting the Irish up 13-0. The Irish missed the PAT.
After Southridge’s third failed attempt of the night, the Irish racked up another seven points, with quarterback Alie scoring on a quarterback keeper. Alie’s touchdown put the Irish up, 20-0, after the PAT.
With 1:40 left in the first quarter, Southridge had their first scoring drive of the night, with a run play straight into the endzone.
Up 20-7, the Irish’s next miscue was a costly one. Wide receiver Strahm fumbled, after his reception. Southridge reacted, and recovered the ball.
The sloppy weather conditions took their toll, however, as running back Devin Martinez, too, fumbled at the 48-yard line. The Irish recovered.
The ball back in Irish hands, quarterback Alie threw a swift pass to wide receiver Strahm. The 13-yard reception was enough for a touchdown, putting the Irish up 27-7.
On the next Southridge possession, running back Jacob Pruit put six more points on the board for the Skyhawks, with his short run after another Irish penalty – a personal foul. After the PAT, the score was Irish 27, Skyhawks 14.
Wide receiver Connor Strahm had the next touchdown of the night, with his run play out of wildcat formation. This put the Irish up 34-14.
The Skyhawks punted soon thereafter, giving the ball back to the Irish, after failing to put points on the board. The next set of points came when quarterback Alie tossed the ball to wide receiver Dylan Lewis.
Down by a score of 41-14, Southridge stepped up their play with Skyhawk quarterback Resa Aleaziz’s touchdown pass to wide receiver Kevin McClean, nearing the end of the second quarter.
When asked how prepared he believed his team was for this game, wide receiver Strahm said, “We were very prepared. We had a really good week of practice.”
The score stood at 41-21 to start the second half. Southridge’s touchdowns halted for the remainder of the night. The Irish went on to score three more touchdowns – two passes to wide receiver Strahm, and a 90-yard kickoff return by wide receiver Dylan Lewis.
Quarterback Taylor Alie finished the night with 350 pass yards and five touchdowns. He completed 25 of 31 pass attempts.
“Taylor had [an] excellent game today,” said wide receiver Strahm. “[He] improved tremendously from the first game to this game, and I think it showed out there.”
With this 62-27 win under their belt, the Sheldon Irish remain undefeated, and look forward to the Semifinals, where they will be playing the Jesuit High School Crusaders on Saturday, December 1, in Portland.