All last week, the Mazama High coaching staff stressed to its players that they needed to come together as a team in the playoffs.
Consider that done.
The top-seeded Vikings rolled to a 49-6 victory against No. 16 Seaside in a Class 4A state first-round game Saturday afternoon, their shutout bid spoiled by a last-second touchdown.
Quarterback Tyson Van Gastel attempted only three passes, completing one – a 35-yard touchdown to Brendon Monteith – and rushed for 70 yards and two scores to lead the Vikings (10-0 overall).
Teammate Treyce Horton had a team-high 92 yards on just nine carries and two TDs as Mazama gained 265 yards on the ground.
“We all became closer this week and played as one unit,” Van Gastel said. “Coaches preached that all week to us in practice and (Saturday) we became one unit and played for each other.
“We all did what we needed to do ... we came together and did the right things on offense and defense.”
Mazama coach Vic Lease, whose postseason record improved to 10-7, including a championship in the COVID-19 truncated 2020-21 season, said he was pleased with the first-round effort.
“We controlled the ball and set things at our pace, and we did what we do which is running well,” Lease said. “We are tough to defend with our triple option, especially when we are running it like how we are right now. Offensively we looked pretty sharp.”
Mazama is scheduled to play host to No. 8 Scappoose (8-2), which defeated defending state champion Marshfield 26-6, in the quarterfinals at noon Saturday at Viking Field.
“They are a prolific passing team and have been for a long time,” Lease said. “Their head coach, Sean McNabb, and I go way back to our college days. He is a great football coach and this will be a good game next week.”
Mazama senior Trevor Anderson, who had 70 yards and two touchdowns on just eight attempts Saturday, is already looking forward to his final home game this week. State semifinal games are played at neutral sites.
“This game will be very special and I am sure I will be emotional after the game,” Anderson said. “We just got to do what we do and play it like a normal game.”
HENLEY OVERCOMES HALFTIME DEFICIT
The first half didn’t go as planned for the Henley High football team Friday night.
But, thanks in large part to running back Logan Whitlock, the fourth-seeded Hornets got back on track after the intermission to win their first-round game, defeating No. 13 Crook County 47-23 at Mazama High.
The Hornets (9-1) are scheduled to play fifth-seeded Estacada (9-1) in the state quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Friday at Mazama.
After scoring on their first possession, the Hornets (9-1 overall) came up empty for the rest of the half, losing a fumble, being stopped on fourth down and giving up a safety on a punt attempt to trail 9-6.
Whitlock rushed for 181 of his game-high 250 yards and all three of his touchdowns in the second half as the Hornets pulled away.
“First half wasn’t really working, but I knew as long as I kept fighting for it one would break and multiple did in the second half,” said Whitlock, who scored on runs of 12, 29 and 51 yards. “Offense was our biggest adjustment at halftime.”
Henley’s Shaw Stork was 10-of-13 passing for 153 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for two scores.
But he said the key was Whitlock.
“Logan is such a stud, he is the best running back in state in my opinion, he excels in every aspect, he can catch well, he blocks exceptionally, and he ran terrifically,” Stork said. “He makes us very multi-dimensional to where we can’t be stopped.”
Stork said the Hornets made some necessary adjustments at halftime.
“We knew we could move the ball on them and we are capable scoring every drive if we focus on fixing the little stuff and not shooting ourselves in the foot,” he said. “We made mistakes at the wrong time in the first half and cleaned it up in the second half and we fought together and brought the energy to get the momentum back.”
Quarterfinal opponents Henley and Estacada have something in common, as the lone loss for both teams came against top-seeded Mazama. The Rangers lost 26-14 to the visiting Vikings 26-14 in the season opener and the Hornets dropped a 44-36 decision at home in Week 8.
“This is just another week together, another week of preparation that we have done all year long,” Hornets coach Alex Stork said. “We are thankful we get another week together.”