Crescent Valley High might not win the Mid-Willamette Conference, but the Raiders showed Friday they won’t be an easy out come playoff time.
CV dominated the lines of scrimmage, pushing around Silverton on its way to handing Silverton its first loss of the season.
Behind Cam Sanders’ 182 yards rushing and three defensive interceptions, the Raiders improved to 5-2 in the conference and overall with a 27-14 win against the visiting Foxes.
“This is a great win because it shows the state we’re contenders,” said CV senior lineman Kaimana “Bubba” Wa’a.
The Raiders have been shorthanded in recent weeks due to injury, and they still weren’t 100 percent Friday. But that didn’t stop them from piling up yards and getting game-changing defensive stops.
Cameron Hemzacek had two interceptions, one in each half, and Sawyer Cleveland added another.
Hayden Roth, Silverton’s lead back, was held to 38 yards on 12 carries. The Foxes (6-1, 6-1 MWC), ranked fifth in this week’s OSAA 5A coaches poll, had 55 yards rushing, while quarterback Aaron Rieskamp was 13-of-23 passing for 147 yards, one touchdown and the three picks.
The Raiders played without senior running back and linebacker Omar Speights, who has committed to play football at Oregon State.
CV never gave away the momentum after going to halftime with a 21-7 advantage.
On Silverton’s first two drives of the second half, the Raider defense forced a three-and-out and got the ball back on downs at its own 35.
CV then pushed the lead to 27-7 on Cleveland’s 1-yard keeper.
Sanders had a long reception after collecting a ball that ricocheted off a helmet or shoulder pad. The play resulted in a 13-yard gain after an offensive penalty.
Sanders ran for 20 yards on the next play, and he and Cleveland shared the next eight carries to produce the touchdown.
CV stopped another Silverton drive at the Raider 22 before the Foxes eventually scored on a Grant Buccheit 2-yard touchdown reception with 6:27 left in the game.
CV then took more than five minutes off the clock — with the help of Sanders’ 21-yard gain on a fake punt — and gave Silverton the ball back with a minute left at the Silverton 35.
Hemzacek then intercepted Rieskamp to end the threat.
“It’s just a mentality,” CV coach Scott Sanders said of his team winning the physical battles up front. “We knew if we broke their will we’d be successful tonight. We put the state on notice.”
Added Cleveland of his offensive line: “I like to throw the ball, but when I don’t have to … they did a great job.”
The Raiders started quickly, going 63 yards on its opening drive and finding the end zone on a 2-yard Trevor Adams touchdown run. The possession was aided on a roughing the punter penalty and included a 28-yard pass from Cleveland to Ryan Terwillinger that set up CV at the Foxes 4.
Hemzacek returned his first interception about 25 yards to the Silverton 25. Two plays later, Sanders got to the end zone with a 14-yard run.
Silverton answered with Roth’s 3-yard touchdown run. Buccheit caught three passes on the drive, including a 28-yarder to the 5. Buchheit finished with seven receptions for 103 yards and a score.
The Foxes have been playing without starting signal-caller Levi Nielsen for the past four-plus games after he suffered a leg injury against Lebanon, Crescent Valley’s opponent next week.
The Raiders answered two possessions with a five-play, 51-yard drive, all on Sanders runs that the senior capped with a 1-yard plunge. Ryan Terwilliger caught a two-point conversion pass from Cleveland to again make it a two-score game.
CV was pinned deep in its own territory late in the first half after Cleveland made an acrobatic interception near the sideline.
The Raiders couldn’t move the ball, and the Foxes had a short field after a 29-yard punt.
But the CV defense stepped up, and Wa’a sacked Rieskamp near midfield on the final play of the half.