Key first-half defensive plays proved to be the catalyst for Hosanna Christian Friday as the Lions moved into the Class 1A state football playoffs with a 60-28 victory over North Douglas.
“The defense stepped up in the second quarter,” Spencer Crawford said.
The defense made two key plays in the first period, too.
That led to a 30-14 halftime lead.
Jarrett Cline intercepted a pass to spoil North Douglas’ first possession.
Six plays later, Christian Coleman scored on a 10-yard run to give the Lions the lead.
After Hosanna snuffed a fourth-down play, Mikey Sanchas scored from 10 yards out to give the home team a 14-0 lead against an opponent the Lions had beaten earlier in the season, 46-6, in Drain.
Hosanna Christian responded to both North Douglas touchdowns in the second period, with Will Maupin scoring on a 24-yard pass from Crawford, Kenny Tuttle returned an interception 28 yards for another score and capped the first half with an eight-yard fumble return.
“The game plan was to keep ‘em on their heels and come out fast,” Crawford said. “It didn’t happen in the first quarter, but we started to pick it up in the second quarter. The interception started to give us momentum, and the offense picked it up from there.”
It could have been worse.
Penalties negated two Hosanna Christian touchdowns, and another was negated because the receiver’s first foot landed out-of-bounds on the catch.
The Lions all but put the win away in the third period with long runs by Ethan Milligan and Sanchas.
“We knew they’d be a lot better than the last time we played them, but we watched a lot of film and felt we were prepared,” Maupin, who also caught a fourth-period touchdown pass and had five two-point conversions, said.
“I was getting good balls from Spencer and the line blocked great,” he said.
■ The win lifted seventh-rated Hosanna Christian to 9-0 on the season.
■ North Douglas finished its season 6-4.
■ Hosanna Christian travels to second-rated Adrian for the quarterfinals. Officials sites, pairings and times will be released by the Oregon School Activities Association today.
■ Sanchas rushed for 116 yards to lead the Lions, while Maupin had six catches for 163 yards. Crawford was 6-for-12 and 145 yards without an interception. Throne was 3-of-4 for 47 yards.
■ Milligan was involved in 12 tackles to lead the Hosanna defense, nine of which were solo. Sanchas had eight stops, with Cline and Tuttle both having six. Tuttle had five solo stops, and Cline four.
■ McDaniel had 109 yards rushing for North Douglas, and Tyler Kallinger 61 yards receiving. The Warriors had the game’s lone punt.