MCMINNVILLE -- Marist Catholic dominated the second half to beat Estacada 42-8 in the 4A football semifinals at McMinnville High School on Saturday night.
It was the second straight week that the Spartans beat an undefeated opponent, and they will get another chance next week.
No. 7 Marist Catholic (10-2) will play No. 1 Marshfield (13-0) for the 4A state championship Nov. 27. Marshfield defeated Mazama 36-0 in Saturday’s other 4A semifinal.
Marshfield beat Marist Catholic 48-41 on Oct. 29. The Spartans are looking forward to the rematch.
“I’m looking forward to playing them a second time, because I think we left a little bit on the field the first time we played them,” senior quarterback Carter Greene said. “I’m excited to play them again and see how we can change the outcome.”
“We played really well against Marshfield and they still beat us,” Marist Catholic coach Frank Geske said. “So we got to see if we have anything left in the tank to ride this thing out.”
The Spartans scored on its first five possessions of the second half after trailing 8-6 at halftime.
“I think our lineman, offensively and defensively, came out with a different mentality,” Greene said. “Same with our linebackers. We just wanted to put them in the ground. Our big boys up front really changed the game for us.”
Senior running back Lucas Tuski finished with 180 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He credited his teammates and linemen for opening the holes.
“That wasn’t me, that was all my line,” Tuski said. “I have to give all glory to them. Without my offensive line and the 10 other great teammates I could not have done it.”
Tuski had 287 yards rushing in last week’s win over undefeated Cascade.
“He’s going crazy, I love to see him being so successful,” Greene said. ”Our big lineman and our receivers have been blocking amazing.”
“He’s a secret to a lot of people, because a lot of people have classification issues,” Geske said. “He’s got 80 touchdowns in his career, a three-year career, that’s pretty doggone good.
“He should be special teams player of the year in the state with a couple blocked punts, scoop-and-scores and returning kicks for touchdowns. He was Sky-Em co-defensive player of the year and he’s pretty damn good on offense, too.”
No. 3 Estacada (11-1) used its power rushing attack to control the opening half and dominated the overall time of possession, 30:17 to 17:43. The Rangers used the one-two punch of its bruising running backs; senior Jake Behrman (6-2, 220) and junior Waylon Riedel (5-11, 220).
The Rangers went 55 yards on 14 plays on their opening drive to strike first on a one-yard touchdown run by Behrman. Riedel punched in the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
Marist Catholic took advantage of an Estacada fumble in the second quarter, going 42 yards on four plays and scoring on a six-yard run by Tuski. Greene found senior wide receiver Conner Chase on a 33-yard bomb down the left sideline to put the Spartans in scoring position. The Spartans failed on its two-point conversion attempt and trailed 8-6 at halftime.
“All props to those linebackers Estacada has,” Tuski said. “They are some good football players.”
“Estacada’s defensive front are some outstanding players,” Geske added.
After returning the second-half kickoff to midfield, Marist Catholic needed only five plays to go 50 yards to take the lead on a 10-yard touchdown run by Tuski. Greene hit senior wide receiver Ryan Cary for the two-point conversion and 14-8 lead.
After forcing Estacada to punt, Marist Catholic went 78 yards on seven plays to up the lead to 21-8 on a 19-yard touchdown run by Greene. Tuski had a 47-yard run on the drive, using a nifty cutback to get to the right sideline.
Sophomore lineman Sam Keen (6-4, 285) got a huge sack for Marist Catholic on Estacada’s next possession, forcing a turnover on downs. The Spartans needed only six plays to score again as Cary caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Greene, pushing the lead to 28-8 early in the fourth quarter.
Tuski added touchdown runs of 23 and 20 yards to extend the lead. It was a dominant second-half performance for Marist Catholic after a lackluster opening half.
“He just told us to be ourselves,” Tuski said of Geske’s halftime pep talk. “We just came out a little scared in the first half. He just gave us the confidence to be ourselves.”
“We just had to get used to seeing what they were doing,” Geske said. “We actually got better in the second quarter and then were outstanding defensively in the third.”
Marist Catholic had the edge in total yards, 392-220. Greene was 11 of 14 passing for 153 yards and added seven carries for 71 yards. Chase had four catches for 59 yards and Kaiden Ayoma added three catches for 43 yards.
Marist Catholic had five guys finish with 10 or more tackles: sophomore linebacker Aiden Hazen (13), Keen (11), senior linebacker Owen McOmber (11), Tuski (10), and senior lineman Tanner Relling (10). Senior cornerback Joshua Rodriguez had two interceptions for the Spartans
Behrman led the Rangers with 87 yards on 19 carries, but did most of his damage in the first half with 72 yards. Riedel added 71 yards on 14 carries. Estacada finished just 1 of 5 passing for 9 yards with two interceptions. Behrman also led the Rangers defense, finishing with a team-high 10 tackles.