Monday, December 6, 2010

Sherwood Bowmen Win State Title

Steven Long stretches the contain of the Marist defense
The Sherwood High School Bowmen completed their first perfect season by defeating previously unbeaten Marist of Eugene in the 5A State Championship game. It is the first title for the Bowmen, who have been one of the premier teams in the 5A ranks a number of years. Head Coach Greg Lawrence stated he was very proud of his team and the manner in which they overcame adversity.

The team went down 3-0 in the first quarter on a Marist field goal, but then drove for successive scores to go up 16-3 at the half.  In the second half things went a little caucau as Marist maintained long drives off the legs and arm of quarterback Logan Silver.

"We always tell them, 'It's just a game. You can't be perfect.' And then the tongue in cheek with that is that you can always give the perfect effort.  The kids played with a lot of spirit, and that's what will carry them through everything in life."

Well said. We here in Sherwood are privileged to have such a fine group of coaches mentoring our young men. Greg "The Law" Lawrence is a good one.

Sherwood gained all their yardage on the ground, running 56 plays, 53 of which were runs that producing 378 total yards of offense. Michael Balfour did yeoman work, both from his linebacker position and in running the football. His 19 carries for 75 yards were of the smash mouth variety, and his intensity and determination, along with defensive teammates Trent Duppenthaler and Tanner Balderree, were key to holding the team together when they were under severe duress. The attention he generated from the Marist defenders helped spring Steven Long, who quietly piled up 217 yards and two touchdowns to lead Sherwood ball carriers.

It is an honor to be chosen to officiate the State Championship game, and the crew is to represent the state's finest.  Referee Gary Johnson and his team of Umpire Cliff Filley, Linesmen Bob Ferguson, line judge Dwayne Johnson and back judge Greg Randall did little in the second half to give one the impression that was the case here.  I rarely comment on officiating, but this crew's combination of non-calls and thin calls had the normally penalty free Bowmen on the wrong end of an 18 to 10 disparity in penalties called, and on the negative side of an over one hundred yards difference in yards against.  A number of calls were drive sustaining for Marist, and had the Bowmen scratching their heads as Marist scored a tying touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter.

Curiously, there was only one player running the ball for Marist. That would be quarterback Logan Silver. Despite the defense essentially knowing only one player had to be contained, Silver still managed to gain a game-high 265 yards and two scores on 43 carries for the Spartans. No other player carried the football for Marist. At all.

That's a hard scheme to get away with without the help of the little jersey holds and two handed blocks in the back which are commonplace in modern football among linemen, and now recievers. Still officially against the rules, they were certainly plentiful and easy enough to spot.

Insult was added to injury when on the kickoff following the tying touchdown Steven Long was driven out of bounds and then thrown to the ground four yards off the field and in the midst of the Bowman bench. The personal foul apparently did not rise to the level to warrant sanction in the eyes of the officiating crew, but they nevertheless managed to take umbrage at the tone of disappointment emanating from Long's nearby teammates. This then was found to be cause enough for penalty, of the 15 yard variety, for conduct unbecoming young gentlemen. Thus, late in the game and with the score tied, Sherwood was pinned back on their own 14 yard line.

Undeterred, the Bowmen rallied,  putting together a long drive with the power running game that has been their trademark.  It ended with a series of three successive runs by Balfour, powering the Bowmen down to the Marist 9 yard line.  A fourth carry had this observer watching Balfour push his way into a large pile in the middle of the Marist defense, while unbeknownst to myself and most of the Marist defenders Long flashed to the outside, football tucked under his arm, in a sprint to the corner pylon for what appeared to be the game winning touchdown.  Three minutes left, however, proved to be two minutes thirty seconds too many, as Silver managed to tie the game up with 25 seconds remaining, sending us all into overtime.

Marist had the ball first in the overtime period and drove to the Sherwood three before Silver ran smack into Duppenthaler, whose helmut separated Silver from the ball and ended the Marist scoring threat.  Sherwood then took the ball from the 25 and drove to the Marist 8 yard line before grinding to a halt.  On fourth down Coach Lawrence called on Taylor Bonawitz to attempt a 25-yard field goal, which sailed through center of the uprights to lift Sherwood to a 26-23 win, and their first OSAA Class 5A State Football Championship.

Good looking Sherwood kids enjoy the moment.
"We knew we had the kids and a lot went on in that game -- a lot of ups and downs. We overcame a lot of adversity throughout that game and the kids sucked it up."

It was a great win, for this year's team, and for the many teams that have come before them who established the traditions of Sherwood's football program. Personally, I tip my hat to the young men for how they managed to persevere and continue to push, despite all things standing in their way.

Congratulations to Greg Lawrence and the Bowmen football program!


  1. Jim, this is great! I'm so glad "your" team did so well, and I love you way you tell the story. :)

  2. Thanks so much, Cath. Yes, it was great to be there. We all froze our collective behinds off, but it was still great to see the kids come through and not loose heart. Steven Long is the nicest kid, and Balfour is a one man wrecking crew. All the kids were great, really. They were the better team and deserved to win it, but it doesn't always go that way and it is easy when the skill levels are close to get out of sorts when things don't go your way and the field starts tipping against you. But these guys rallied around each other and did the tough stuff of carrying on and focusing on those things they could control, and the result was a State Championship, perhaps made even better for their overcoming the hardship of a poorly called game. There is a lesson in there for me. I am very proud of them! Great stuff!!

  3. Logan Silver is my nephew, and we're pretty proud of his ability and sportsmanship. It took a great team to take Marist down. Congrats to Sherwood.

  4. Logan Silver played a great game, no doubt about that. Carrying the ball 43 times means you are going to have to be tackled nearly 43 times. Plus he did get in on defense as well, if memory serves. That's a tough kid and a gamer.