No. 2 Challengers score twice in first minute, cruise to first-round win over Ontario
It took Cascade Christian about 15 seconds to set the tone Friday night.
By the time the game clock hit a minute, the Challengers already had two touchdowns.
It was another kind of night where big plays dominated the day for Cascade Christian, as the second-seeded Challengers held a Brody Sample kickoff return and a pair of Kameron Rague touchdowns in the first quarter to to a 52-20 win over No. 15 Ontario in the first round of the Class 3A state football playoffs at Spiegelberg Stadium.
“If you could design every game like that, that’s exactly what you want,” Cascade Christian head coach Jon Gettman said. “Brody did a great job and we talked about the kickoffs because we hadn’t returned any kickoffs … I don’t know, it’s been a while. Brody catching him and the guys blocking him in front was great to see. Then you get a turnover and you take advantage of that right away, that’s a big part of the momentum shift and you can go ahead. It’s hard to get out of that (if you’re Ontario).”
Cascade Christian (10-0), which last reached double-digit win totals during its run to the state title game in 2018, will face the winner of Saturday afternoon’s opener between the number 7 La Pine (8-1). ) and No. 10 Warrenton (6-2).
Pine, the Mountain Valley Conference champion, was a state semifinalist last season, losing to eventual state champion Siuslaw.
“We saw them early last year and played half the football against them,” Gettman said, referring to Cascade’s 2021 season opener against La Pine, which was suspended at halftime in due to poor air quality. “We know they’re athletic and I know they have a good quarterback. We haven’t faced Warrenton, but I’ve seen them on film and we know they’re a sports team as well.
“It will be a good match. It’s football and it’s going to be the quarter-finals, so we have to be ready to go either way.”
It all started with a bang for the Challengers as Sample took the opening kickoff 85 yards to the house to give them an immediate lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Cascade Christian recovered an Ontario fumble that gave the Challengers field position in Tigers territory.
Cascade turned it into points moments later, with Rague breaking the first level of blocks and slotting it in from 31 yards out to double the Challengers’ lead to 14-0.
Ontario cut into its deficit when quarterback Diego Rodriguez connected with Ethan Hendrickson on a 21-yard TD pass. But the one-possession game was short-lived as the Challengers capitalized on a fumble recovery by Jaxon Turituri that set up Rague’s second scamper in the end zone of the first quarter.
The Tigers again found their own territory on their next play, and Triston Wallace scored on a 2-yard run up the middle on the next play.
Rague’s third TD of the night, a 48-yard sprint down the Challengers sideline after breaking things out, came after Peyton Maurer’s first interception of the season.
Ontario turned it over four times in the first half. Cascade scored one touchdown on four turnovers.
“It comes down to Kam making a number of big runs and the offensive line did a great job up front,” Gettman said. “You talk to the kids about it, you work on it and you practice it all the time to take advantage of those momentum shifts and the kids did a great job with that tonight.”
Rague finished with 126 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns, while Wallace rushed 10 times for 62 yards and a TD.
Cascade Christian quarterback Keith Reed was 11-for-20 for 111 yards and two touchdowns through the air and rushed for 78 yards and 15 carries. Tyler Almasy, who caught five passes for 46 yards, and Kristofer Fralich each had a touchdown reception.
Maurer added a second interception in the fourth quarter with a nice leaping catch as he approached from his safety spot.
The Challengers outshot the Tigers by a margin of 379-115.
“It goes back to our run game — we were very strong in the run game in the first half,” Gettman said. “In the second half, we were able to pass the ball and that was good to see and that was really positive for Keith to get some good finishes and pace. But I think it just comes down to your offensive line and your running backs, and they were great tonight.”
Ontario’s 20 points are just the third time all season that a team has scored in double figures against Cascade Christian.
“I was happy and I loved his effort,” Gettman said. “Every day they put in a great effort and that’s the number 1 thing you want to see. We’ll go back and clean up how they did technique-wise, scheme-wise, but the first thing you ask the kids to do is give it their all and they did. They came out and executed the game plan that the coaches put together. Coach (Mike) Schaan did another great job with the defense.”
CC: Kickback Sample 85 (Hoffman Kick)
CC: Rague 31 (Hoffman kick)
O — Hedrickson 21 pass from D. Rodriguez (kick blocked)
CC — Rague 7 run (Hoffman kick)
CC – Wallace 2 run (Hoffman kick)
CC: Rague 48 (Hoffman kick)
CC — Hoffman 27 FG
CC — Almasy 2 Reed pass (Hoffman kick)
O — D. Rodriguez 36 run (Delgado pass to D. Rodriguez)
CC — Fralich 17 Reed pass (Hoffman kick)
O — Delgado 86 kick return (kick missed)
Contact reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.
Cascade Christian’s Kameron Rague runs for a score during the first quarter against Ontario at Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford on Friday night. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
Cascade Christian’s Peyton Maurer intercepts the ball during the second quarter against Ontario at Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford Friday night. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
Cascade Christian’s Keith Reed throws for the first time against Ontario at Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford on Friday night. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
Cascade Christian’s Triston Wallace protects the ball running for a score during the first quarter against Ontario at Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford on Friday night. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
Cascade Christian’s Kameron Rague runs for a score during the second quarter against Ontario at Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford on Friday night. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
Cascade Christian’s Keith Reed runs for extra yards against Ontario at Spiegelberg Stadium in Medford on Friday night. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]
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