LEBANON — For one half it looked like Friday night’s matchup between the Corvallis Spartans and the Lebanon Warriors would be a defensive battle.
The host Warriors led 7-0 at halftime, taking the lead on a short power run by senior Waylon Wolfe.
But in the second half both offenses found their rhythm. A couple of key stops by the Lebanon defense and three touchdown runs by Brayden Burton made the difference as the Warriors claimed a 37-27 victory in the 5A Special District 3 matchup.
First-year Lebanon coach Troy Walker felt this was the most consistent performance by the offense this season.
“We’ve just been struggling with the finishing aspect and the execution,” Walker said. “The kids executed well and that’s been our key the whole time.”
The Spartans received the second-half kickoff, but their first drive was cut short on an interception by Lebanon junior Colton Vandetta. Two plays later, Warriors quarterback Andreus Smith found wide receiver Brayden Currey for a 29-yard touchdown pass.
Lebanon’s defense forced a Spartans punt on their next drive. The Warriors then kept the ball on the ground for an eight-play, 72-yard scoring drive capped by a Burton touchdown run.
Trailing 20-0, the Spartans’ offense finally came to life. The Warriors had committed their defense to slowing rugged junior running back Toby Worsch. So Corvallis put the ball in the air. Senior quarterback Carter Steeves moved the ball down the field on passes to Carson Wright and Nathan Thompson. The Spartans got on the board with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Steeves to Wright.
The Warriors answered immediately as Burton raced around the left edge and found open space on the sideline en route to a 65-yard touchdown run to give Lebanon a 27-7 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Fully engaged, the Corvallis offense did its best to mount a comeback, scoring touchdowns on all three of its fourth-quarter possessions.
Worsch ran for two scores and Steeves found freshman Truman Brasfield for a 17-yard touchdown as the clock was winding down.
But the Spartans could never make it a one-score game as the Lebanon offense sprung Burton for his third touchdown of the night and senior kicker Caleb Christner made a 30-yard field goal.
“I think we’re a decent football team and I think we’ve played some really good football teams. Our kids have a pretty strong faith and they’re buying into what we’re doing here. It’s a great coaching staff and the kids are listening,” Walker said.
Lebanon (2-3, 2-1 SD2) will play at West Albany on Thursday. Corvallis (3-2, 2-1 SD3) will play at South Albany on Friday.
Lebanon 37, Corvallis 27
Corvallis 0 0 7 20 — 27
Lebanon 0 7 20 10 — 37
LHS — Wolfe 3 run (Christner kick), 6:28
LHS — Currey 29 pass from Smith (conversion failed), 10:29
LHS — Burton 7 run (Christner kick), 3:44
CHS — Wright 37 pass from Steeves (Vingelen kick), 2:17
LHC — Burton 65 run (Christner kick), 1:09
CHS — Worsch 7 run (Vingelen kick), 11:53
LHS — Burton 6 run (Christner kick), 9:34
CHS — Worsch 6 run (Vingelen kick), 5:29
LHS — Christner 30 field goal, 1:29
CHS — Brasfield 17 pass from Steeves (conversion failed), 0:14.9