Battle of the Bridge Goes to West Linn for Once

Story and photo by Kadin Freauff, student reporter.

Cover photo by Teresa Parker, OC Gridiron Photographer.

September 10, 2014


Friday night Oregon City crossed the bridge to continue the most historical high school football rivalry this side of the Mississippi River. This year West Linn ended Oregon City's winning streak of back to back years by a score of 28-21.


Both teams were anxious to get on the field and play this game. It showed during the first quarter; very surprisingly no one could move the ball down field. The score at the end of the first quarter was 0-0.


Oregon City's defense got off to a solid start. At the 7:18 mark in the first quarter the Pioneer defense forced their first turnover of the season. Then early on in the second quarter at the 8:28 mark the tables turned. The offensive side of the ball fumbled and lost the ball.


West Linn ended up striking first blood. At the 7:49 mark in the second quarter they executed a perfect running back screen for the quick red zone score. Then just 23 seconds later, the starting quarterback for the Pioneers, Thomas Hamilton, threw his first interception of the season.


West Linn capitalized off of the turnover and put together a one minute and seven second drive to extend their lead to 15-0. The holder muffed the snap for the extra point so he proceeded to pick the ball up and take it in himself.


Hamilton redeemed himself and got the Pioneer offense rolling. With 3:32 left in the first half Hamilton delivered his first touchdown of the season with a quick six yard strike to junior tight end Sam Maughn.


Hamilton did not stop there. With 1:56 left in the first half he dropped yet another dime for a touchdown. Hamilton threw a perfect 16 yard ball to junior wide receiver Trevon Bradford to cut the deficit to just one. As the teams went in for halftime the scoreboard read West Linn 15 Oregon City 14.


New Oregon City coach Randy Nyquist had a solid game plan coming out of halftime. The Pioneers got off to a hot start out of the gates. With just 8:05 left in the 3rd quarter Hamilton connected with Bradford again as Hamilton scrambled out of the pocket to sling it into the corner of the endzone to Bradford 22 yards out.


Oregon City would claim their first lead of the game. The scoreboard now read West Linn 15 Oregon City 21.


West Linn would not let Oregon City's lead last long. With 5:12 left in the 3rd quarter West Linn sophomore quarterback Tim Tawa threw a touchdown pass good for 7, West Linn reclaimed the lead 22-21.


The dagger was with 2:51 left in the 4th quarter when Tawa tossed a 47 yard touchdown pass to give West Linn a 28-21 lead.


On Oregon City's ensuing possession, they coughed up the football. Oregon City still had one last chance with roughly six seconds left. The Pioneers had the ball on the West Linn 37. Oregon City had no other option but to throw a hail-mary into the endzone. The ball was batted down by a pair of West Linn defensive backs.


West Linn reclaimed the Bridge for now by a final score of 28-21.


After the game  senior wide receiver Hunter Knighton talked about  how the team will prepare for next week's home opener against Lakeridge and some words on the heartbreaking loss. "We  have to work harder than we have so far and we didn't prepare good enough so that is why we got beat."


Thomas Hamilton made his debut just like head coach Randy Nyquist did against West Linn. Hamilton was with Baker High School last season. Hamilton started off a little shaky but it did not take him long to find his groove. All in all it was a solid debut Hamilton went 12-24 for 173 yards to go with his three touchdowns and just one interception.


After the game senior starting offensive tackle and defensive tackle Chris Mengis talked about how to bounce back and his new quarterback. " It comes down to our line, we did a lot of things where we practically kept shooting ourselves in the foot. Missing blocks, getting to many penalties, we have to prepare better," Mengis said, "Thomas started off a little shaky. Then as the game went on he started to find his rhythm."


Hamilton's right hand man, junior running back Conner Mitchell, had a solid all around game as well. Oregon City it seemed like could not establish the run throughout the game but Mitchell still carried the ball 22 times for 136 yards.


Oregon City still holds the lead in the all time series 50-43-1.


Next week, Oregon City will host Lakeridge in their 2014 home opener.




Photos by Kadin Freauff, student, and Teresa Parker, OC Gridiron Photographer. 

Photos on Flickr.