SPRINGFIELD — Few teams have been able to keep pace with the Thurston football team this season, and none have found a way to stop them entirely.
On Friday, Corvallis became the Colts' latest victim as Thurston rolled to a 61-21 home victory in the first round of the 5A state playoffs. Corvallis’s effort culminated in the most points a team has scored against the No.1-ranked Colts all season, but it still wasn’t enough to extend the Spartans’ season.
“There’s no magic recipe when you play a team like that,” Corvallis coach Chris McGowan said. “Other than just play very disciplined and play hard. At times, we just made too many mistakes tonight.”
With the loss, the Spartans’ season ends at 4-6. It was a significant campaign for the Spartans in many ways, and saw the school make its first trip to the state playoffs since 2014.
“It means a lot for us to have made it here,” senior Ethan Hester said. “This team means everything to me. Just the fact that we were able to kind of turn the corner this year, I think it means a lot to all of us.”
Corvallis also delivered its first win against crosstown rival Crescent Valley since 2014, and for many of the Spartans seniors, that was the high point of their careers.
“That was really a huge stepping stone for us,” senior lineman Cade O’Brien said. “That was huge to finally be able to put that away.”
O’Brien said he and a large core of the Spartans senior class have been playing together since they were five years old.
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“Tonight didn’t end how we wanted, but I’m just happy I got to do it with these guys,” O’Brien said. “I’ve been in it for 12 years with those guys and I’m just grateful to have actually made it here with them.”
Thurston ate away nearly six minutes of game clock on its first drive as it marched down the field with a series of short passes. Eventually, the Colts broke loose for a big play when Wes Kommer scored on a 29-yard run to make it 7-0.
On the Spartans’ first offensive snap of the night, the Colts sent a heavy blitz and forced a fumble on a handoff from Carter Steeves to Izaak Worsch. Grant Starck recovered the fumble for Thurston and they scored four plays later on a four-yard rush by Kommer.
Corvallis found a bit of success on its next possession and kept the Colts honest with a couple of screen passes. But that drive and the next stalled out for the Spartans, and Thurston made it 21-0 on another touchdown run by Kommer with 5:45 to go in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Dawson Muggy intercepted Steeves and ran the pick back 82 yards for a touchdown, and Caleb Scott later ripped off a 76-yard touchdown run to make it 34-0 by halftime.
But the Spartans offense came to life midway through the third quarter. Trailing 40-0, Worsch found Ricardo Holmes in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to make it 40-8. Hester scored on a 24-yard run at the start of the fourth quarter, and Worsch uncorked an 80-yard touchdown run one possession later.
In their final high school games, Worsch finished with 141 yards on 19 carries, 11 yards passing with a touchdown and 26 yards receiving, while Hester ran for 28 yards, passed for 61 and caught three passes for 28 yards.
“I can’t even describe it with words,” Hester said. “This is probably the hardest moment of my life, just realizing this is all over. But obviously happy I got to go out there with my guys one more time.”