Photo by Randy L. Rasmussen/ The Oregonian
Story by Kadin Freauff, student
Friday night Oregon City started its road to a state title with a solid win over McMinnville 40-23.
Oregon City and McMinnville were neck and neck in a very exciting first half. The Pioneers took a one point lead into halftime, 14-13. Then came the second half in which the Pioneers defense forced three interceptions along with a huge fumble recovery. The offense for Oregon City found daylight in that third quarter scoring 19 unanswered points, to seal the deal.
Earlier that week head coach Bruce Reece talked about this group of young men and their potential. "I would not put it past this group. We have hurdled every hurdle we could of had this year with flying colors," Reese said. "I believe strongly that this group can win state."
McMinnville was a very prepared team, led by senior all league quarterback Gage Gubrud.
Gubrud suffered a small shoulder or elbow injury in the first quarter but he did return and put on quite the display of athleticism, scrambling constantly, and throwing for 330 yards to go with his one touchdown and three interceptions.
After a rough first half Oregon City's sophomore tailback Connor Mitchell, found some daylight in the second half. Finishing the night with 15 carries, 95 yards, and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile senior captain and quarterback Jon Hall had another great night, dropping dime after dime down the field.
Hall finished the night 16 of 22, passing for 316 yards and three touchdowns.
There has not been one Friday night where one side of the football led them to victory. Just ask junior defensive linemen Chris Mengis. "We have a lot of heart, we have gone through a lot of adversity and we have really become a team," Mengis said. "Everyone doubted us and we stayed together. We feel like we can play with anyone and that shows when we are on the field.
Next week Oregon City will be on the road as they travel to face the number seven seed North Medford Black Tornado's.
Oregon City has one win under their belt, they need three more to reach the state title game. And the road to glory will not get much easier for the Pioneers. It will be very exciting to truly see how far this team can go.
Photos by Randy Rasmussen,Oregonian