SCIO — The PacWest Conference football crown once again belongs to Scio High.
The imposing Loggers grinded their way to 412 rushing yards on 65 carries Friday night, pulling away from Blanchet for a 54-12 win in their regular season home finale.
With the victory, Scio (6-1, 5-0) clinches its third outright PacWest championship in four seasons. The Loggers also shared the 2016 title with Blanchet and Salem Academy.
“We’re all super excited,” said senior Brody Foster, who ran for 150 yards on 21 carries with two scores. Foster also caught a 57-yard touchdown pass from Caeden Spilde.
“All of us seniors now have another home game (in the 3A state playoffs) for sure, and that’s a really big thing for us. We’re just looking forward to the next game to make a statement to the state.”
The Loggers close the regular season next Friday at Dayton (6-1).
Fellow senior Dru Cook also had 21 carries, finishing with 143 yards and two scores. Fullback Riley Zimmermann carried it six times for 41 yards and a pair of TDs.
“We definitely put it all together tonight,” Foster said. “We still had a few mental mistakes but we are definitely cutting down on those, and it’s showing on the scoreboard against better teams like Blanchet, and hopefully next week against Dayton.”
Scio entered Friday with the PacWest’s top scoring offense at 43.7 points per game. Blanchet had been allowing just 10.2 points per game, the fewest in the conference.
The aggressive Loggers opened the game with an onside kick, which was recovered by Zimmerman at the Blanchet 45. The junior then plowed into the end zone from 8 yards out to give Scio an early lead.
Foster made it 14-0 on the team's next possession with a 10-yard scoring run. After the Cavaliers cut it to 14-6, Cook's 3-yard TD and subsequent two-point conversion put the hosts up 22-6 with 10:52 remaining in the half.
Blanchet (6-1, 3-1) quarterback RJ Veliz took a big hit and found an open Sean Duffy for a 17-yard fourth-down TD, keeping the Cavaliers within striking distance at 22-12. Veliz, who had survived another huge lick earlier in the drive, left the game and did not return.
“I feel bad that RJ came out of the game,” Scio coach Kyle Braa said. “I hate seeing that stuff. That offense goes as RJ goes, and I’m sick to my stomach about that.”
Veliz finished 6-of-8 passing for 89 yards with two TDs and no interceptions.
A 43-yard Cook pass to Hunter Gray set up another rushing score for the reigning PacWest offensive back of the year, this time from the 2-yard line. Cook again ran in the conversion for a 30-12 lead at the break.
Scio put it away on its first possession of the third when Foster hauled in a 57-yard bomb from Spilde. The senior quarterback then connected with Austin Ellis on the conversion, and the rout was on.
On a frigid night, Braa was proud of the team for clinching the PacWest title in convincing fashion.
“That was one of the goals going into the year, so I’d say we’ve met our expectations up to this point,” he said.