West Albany's Carson Van Dyke threw touchdown passes of 19 and 28 yards to Myles Westberg and 5 yards to Caden Zamora, leading the Bulldogs to a 45-7 home win Friday over La Salle Prep to open the OSAA Class 5A football playoffs.
Hunter Crosswhite, Luke Killinger, and Porter Phillips each added a touchdown run as the No. 5 Bulldogs (9-1) advanced to the quarterfinals to face Mid-Willamette Conference rival Silverton, a 50-26 winner over Parkrose.
La Salle Prep struggled to move the ball against a West Albany defense that forced four turnovers and limited the Falcons to 211 yards total offense.
"West Albany was everything we thought they were on defense," Falcons coach Aaron Hazel said. "Statistically, they have the best defense in the state (79 points allowed with three shutouts), and they're not the biggest team out there, but they have a lot of kids that can run around.
"They keep everything in front of them and fly to the football. We had to earn every inch we could get."
Trailing 10-0, La Salle's James Menor scored on a 52-yard run to keep the Falcons within striking distance with 2:12 remaining in the first quarter.
La Salle's upset bid faced when West Albany scored two touchdowns in the final 3:14 of the first half and the Falcons lost senior defensive back Griffin Cardwell, who suffered a broken right arm while making a tackle late in the second quarter.
"Defensively, we played as good as we've played all year in the first half," Hazel said. "Then Cardwell went down and he's our emotional leader and it crippled us a little bit.
"The second half, we got behind the chains a little bit and had a lot of penalties and we had to throw the ball. When our hand is forced to throw the ball against a top-notch defense like that, it's an advantage to the defense."
La Salle quarterback Ethan Edgerly, one of 12 seniors on the roster, completed 11 of 21 passes for 68 yards with three interceptions and had 17 carries for 24 yards.
Menor finished with six carries for 86 yards and JaJuan Lane added 10 carries for 37 yards for the Falcons (6-4).
"It was a great year," Hazel said. "A year ago, we wondered how we were going to finish in the top half of our league so we'd be playing for something in week nine. And for us to be going to week nine already knowing we were in the playoffs was pretty unbelievable.
"Our senior group, it's a small group, but I haven't seen a group of kids grow and develop more, not only over a four-year period but really just in this last year. Their maturity on and off the field was pretty amazing to see."
-- From staff reports
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)