LEBANON — Late-game struggles that have plagued Lebanon High football in recent years came back again at a bad time Friday night.
Silverton made the big plays at the end, notably a 97-yard drive in the fourth quarter with four third downs converted to take the lead. The Foxes went ahead for good on a Hayden Roth 7-yard touchdown run with 2:59 left.
Despite rallying from eight points down in the second half, Lebanon couldn’t find another spark, falling 29-25 in a Mid-Willamette Conference football game matching two 5A top-10 teams at Heath Stadium.
“Really a testament to their kids,” Warriors coach Ty Tomlin said, crediting Silverton, which has now beaten Lebanon three straight times by a combined six points. “They went 97 yards when they needed to have it. That was a big thing for those kids to be able to make those plays on that drive.”
Tomlin said his team was maybe playing with too much emotion after turning a 22-14 deficit into a 25-22 lead on Uriel Rangel’s 29-yard field goal with 11 minutes remaining in the game.
Lebanon’s Keith Brown kept that momentum going on the second play of the Foxes ensuing drive when he sacked quarterback Jordan McCarty, stripped the ball in the process and landed on it at the Silverton 34.
But two players later, Warriors quarterback Cole Weber overthrew a receiver and it was intercepted by Vandon Fessler.
Silverton (3-0, 3-0 MWC) essentially put the game in the hands of Roth, a 200-pound fullback who carried the ball seven times on the 16-play drive. Roth took the ball on the final four snaps, covering 9 yards on a third-down play, then going 3, 2 and 7 yards to finish it.
With Lebanon back on offense, Kyle Haley caught a 6-yard Weber pass before Brown threw an incompletion. Weber then threw two incomplete balls, the one on fourth down going over the head of a receiver with 2:04 left on the clock.
“I screwed up at the end and I didn’t make a throw,” said a dejected Weber.
Lebanon used what timeouts it had left to save time. But McCarty made the situation moot and put the game with an 8-yard run for a first down with 28 seconds left.
Silverton was ranked fourth and Lebanon fifth in this week’s OSAA 5A coaches poll.
The Warriors held a 14-7 halftime lead before the game went sideways for them.
With Lebanon receiving the third-quarter kickoff, a Warriors player touched a dying ball just outside the goal line, and a Silverton player rushed in and knocked it out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
You have free articles remaining.
The Foxes then took a free kick from Lebanon, with a possession starting at the Warrior 40 after a squib kick, and got to the end zone seven plays later on Roth’s 12-yard touchdown run.
Lebanon was then stopped on a fourth-down play at the Foxes 23. On the Warriors’ next drive, Roth collected two sacks and ran for a 61-yard touchdown on his team’s next offensive play to make it 22-14 with 2:01 left in the third quarter.
Lebanon answered, with Brown scoring on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Weber. Brown caught the ball in the right flat and eluded a defender to get down the sideline.
The Warriors then converted the two-point conversion as Haley twice bobble a Weber pass but gained possession just in time on the right side of the end zone.
A Silverton penalty on the touchdown and two more on the two-point conversion allowed Lebanon to kick off from the Foxes 20. Lebanon’s Theron Harter recovered the onside kick and the Warriors turned that into Rangel’s field goal.
But the rest of the game belonged to Roth and Silverton.
“The big swing right out after halftime, we can’t have that kind of thing against a good team,” said Tomlin, who also praised his players for making a game of it after all the momentum had gone against them.
“I was really proud of our guys in that regard.”
Roth rushed for 162 yards on 16 carries. Teammate Nathan Kuenzi added 61 yards on 20 attempts.
Brown led the Warriors in rushing with 67 yards on 10 carries. Weber had 59 yards on 11 carries, including a 70-yard touchdown run on a nifty first-quarter play as he faked a handoff and outran the defense for the score.
Caleb Bullock had 44 yards on the ground on four carries. Brock Barrett had 28 yards and limited to three carries after a first-half injury.
“Our line gave us a push. We got yards,” Weber said. “When you’ve got yards you’ve got to go punch it in.”
Brayden Currey had two receptions and a team-best 43 yards for the Warriors. Brown, with two catches for 33 yards, caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Weber for a 14-7 advantage.