Junior QB Baird Gilroy made his first varsity start for West Linn, throwing for 197 yards and one touchdown.(Photo by Jon Olson)
Junior QB Baird Gilroy made his first varsity start for West Linn, throwing for 197 yards and one touchdown.(Photo by Jon Olson)

Lots of new faces, but a familiar result for reigning 6A football champion West Linn in its season debut Thursday night.

The Lions, ranked No. 1 in the OSAAtoday preseason 6A coaches poll, dominated for much of their 37-0 home win over No. 10 Nelson.

Junior quarterback Baird Gilroy looked comfortable in his first varsity start, completing 16 of 23 passes for 197 yards and one touchdown with one interception. And the defense smothered the Hawks, holding them to 145 total yards.

West Linn coach Jon Eagle, who went 12-1 in his first season with the Lions last year, said he “saw a lot of good things” from his team. But he also lamented how the offense stalled on multiple trips deep in Nelson territory.

“Typical first-game miscues, things we've got to clean up,” Eagle said. “We kicked more field goals than I think we did the entire season last year. Coaches have got to take some responsibility. We've got to do a better job of putting together a red-zone package.”

Oregon-bound senior kicker Gage Hurych hit field goals of 28, 22 and 19 yards. He also went 4 for 4 on extra-point attempts, booted all eight of his kickoffs for touchbacks and had his only punt downed inside the 5-yard line.

“He was spectacular,” Eagle said.

Many eyes were on the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Gilroy, who is replacing star quarterback Sam Leavitt, now at Michigan State. Eagle said that Gilroy needs to be more consistent, but that it was “a good first outing” for him.

Gilroy's touchdown pass was a 39-yard strike to junior Danny Wideman early in the fourth quarter.

“He's got a very quick release, and he's accurate for a big guy,” Eagle said. “He can run a little bit. He's bright. He picks things up fast.”

Eagle said Gilroy is still developing a feel for throwing into tight windows.

“We were all spoiled by Sam,” Eagle said. “What looks open to one quarterback may not to another. We had some guys on some of our plays that were open, but he elected not to fire it in there, where Sam would have. It just takes time and the confidence of what you're doing.”

The Lions flexed on defense. Senior Jack Benninger and juniors Baron Naone and Ryan Holmes got a strong push up front, and the inside linebackers – seniors Gus Donnerberg, Evan Davis and Ryan Vandenbrink – filled the gaps. Vandenbrink, a starter as a sophomore, is back after missing last season with a shoulder injury.

Seniors Hunter Haines and Wiley Donnerberg had interceptions, and touted freshman cornerback Josiah Molden – the son of former NFL cornerback Alex Molden and brother of Tennessee Titans cornerback Elijah Molden – held his own in his first varsity start.

“We talk about the game getting faster every step you take, and here's a kid who skipped two steps, going from eighth grade to varsity,” Eagle said of Molden. “He plays with great confidence, and the reason is he knows what he's doing.”

Up next for West Linn is a showdown with No. 4 Sheldon in a rematch of last year's 6A final.

Ranger nemesis

Reigning 4A champion Estacada was hoping to get some payback Friday night at Mazama, which handed the Rangers their only loss last season, 26-14 in the season opener.

But the top-ranked Vikings made the big plays down the stretch Friday, getting a tie-breaking touchdown on a three-yard run by senior quarterback Tyson Van Gastel with 48 seconds left to hold off No. 4 Estacada 20-14.

“Last year, I think they were looking past us, and we went up there and showed them that we can play,” Mazama coach Vic Lease said. “This year, it was reverse. They came down here and showed us that they can play.

“My hat's off to Estacada. I think they're going to make some noise. If people don't think they're going to be as good as last year's team, they're making a mistake. I can't tell you how impressed I was with the job they did.”

Down 14-6, Estacada pulled even at 14-14 with 7:17 left in the game on a one-yard touchdown run by senior Spencer Grund and a two-point conversion run by junior Lincoln Rathmanner.

Mazama answered with a touchdown drive, with Van Gastel scoring on a wedge run behind senior guards Ryan Murdock and Armando Galindo.

“We're going to get three yards with those guys,” Lease said.

Van Gastel suffered a sprained ankle in the first quarter, forcing him out of the game on defense. But he taped up the ankle and was able to stay in at quarterback, finishing with 53 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.

“It kind of limited my play-calling in the second half because I couldn't roll him out as well,” Lease said. “It also kind of limited our veer game. But he fought through it.”

Senior Triston Leach rushed for 81 yards and one touchdown to lead Mazama, which outgained Estacada 306-217.

Lease said he expects both teams to be playoff contenders this season.

“There's no doubt that we could potentially meet up again,” Lease said. “I hope they're on the other side of the bracket because they're just going to get better.”

Raiders rally in rematch

Top-ranked and reigning state champion Lost River overcame a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter Saturday night to turn back No. 2 St. Paul 40-36 in a rematch of last year's 1A-8 final.

The Raiders trailed the Buckaroos 36-24 late in the fourth quarter, but scored two touchdowns down the stretch to prevail in the marquee game of the Dufur Classic. Lost River took the lead with 13 seconds left on a three-yard run by senior quarterback Chase McAuliffe.

“I thought we played pretty well at the end,” Lost River coach Dennis Dunlea said. “Lots of new guys on both sides, so it's a bit of a growing process, and I thought we showed a lot of that early. We were making some mistakes, but we kept playing through some things.”

Last season, St. Paul defeated Lost River 46-32 at home in Week 3 but the Raiders blitzed the Buckaroos 43-0 in the state championship game. Lost River had to replace half of its starters and St. Paul had to rebuild its entire line.

St. Paul finished with a 407-403 edge in total yards. Both teams scored five touchdowns, but Lost River had more success on two-point conversions.

The Raiders built momentum late with a hurry-up offense.

“We got into a little bit of a rhythm and put some pressure on them, and made some plays,” Dunlea said.

McAuliffe rushed for 57 yards and three touchdowns and completed 11 of 18 passes for 164 yards. Senior Connor Dunlea rushed for 128 yards and one score on 12 carries for Lost River.

“They're really physical and good up front, and we had trouble running the ball,” St. Paul coach Tony Smith said. “They were able to run the ball consistently. I think that was the difference in the game.

“We'll get a lot better throughout this season, but we're just a long ways off right now up front.”

St. Paul senior George Pohlschneider completed 16 of 25 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Ralph Pohlschneider caught seven passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns and junior Diego Medina had five catches for 157 yards and one score.

Feisty Tigers

Two interception returns for touchdowns in the first half propelled Tigard to a win in its first game under interim coach Ken Feist on Thursday.

Juniors Colt Ness and Owen Wright returned interceptions 23 and 52 yards, respectively, as Tigard built a 20-0 lead and turned back visiting North Medford 27-7 in a 6A nonleague game.

“Anytime you can score on defense, those are bonus points,” Feist said. “We were going up against one of the best lines in the state in North Medford. They're big and they're physical. They were giving us problems.”

Feist, a former football and baseball standout at Banks and Portland State, joined Tigard's staff last year as the freshman head coach, leading the team to a 6-2 record. He was hired as interim coach in June to replace John Kemper, who left in April to become an assistant coach in Texas.

Feist, a sergeant in the Beaverton Police Department, has coached many of the players on youth teams that included his senior son Jake, who started at quarterback Thursday. The win was particularly gratifying for him.

“I know these kids and I know how they'll respond in certain situations,” he said. “Our expectations were high going into this year.”

Jake Feist – who started one game last season, filling in for injured starter Brady Jordan -- played quarterback on the youth teams coached by his father. He produced two touchdowns Thursday, hitting senior Nicco Simonetti with an eight-yard pass and running for a five-yard score.

“It's special obviously to be involved with him and his last year, and seeing the things that he can do,” Ken Feist said. “When we need plays, he'll beat you with his legs sometimes.”

Win buoys Roseburg

Last season was a rough road for Roseburg, which went winless for the first time since 1939.

Injuries plagued the Indians, including one to starting quarterback Owen Bentea, who was lost for the season in the team's second game.

“We were drawing straws on who had to play quarterback last year,” coach Dave Heuberger said. “We had to put a puzzle together every Monday to see who's available.”

So Friday night's 50-18 win over visiting Beaverton meant a little something extra to the Indians. Bentea, a junior, passed for two touchdowns and ran for a score and senior Cayden Eckel rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns for Roseburg, which nearly matched its point total from all of last season (62).

“They were very enthusiastic for each other,” Heuberger said.

With many players back from last season, the Indians are hopeful to make big strides. Just two years ago, they finished 9-2.

Heuberger, in his eighth season with the team, said that excuses don't fly in Roseburg.

“You can try using them,” Heuberger said. “There's a group of people down here that are very passionate about their football. Our kids and coaches hear it when we're not performing. I think that's the way it should be. We've just got to battle for what we get.”

Roseburg wasn't the only team to prevail in its opener after going winless in 2022.

Three games matched teams that went 0-fer a year ago: David Douglas topped Aloha 12-7; Blanchet Catholic ran away from Oakridge 48-6; and Corbett blanked Sheridan 30-0.

Reedsport beat Riverside/Ione 34-0 and Pilot Rock handled Mohawk 46-14 for their first wins since 2021.

Other highlights from Week 1:


Central Catholic dominated Washington powerhouse Bellevue 48-27 on Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium. Cru Newman completed 19 of 23 passes for 356 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 63 yards. Landon Kelsey and D'Marieon Gates each had two scoring catches for the Rams, who led 35-13 in the second quarter.. … Oregon City's Ben Schneider Jr. threw touchdown passes to Keaton Moore and Clay Martineau, Thomas Borden returned a punt for a score and Tristan Waage ran for a touchdown in a 27-0 win over Jefferson. … Liberty rushed for 362 yards in its 40-36 win over Sprague, getting big games from Reid Linkmeyer (16 carries, 164 yards, four touchdowns) and Tanner Steinbach (11 carries, 108 yards, one touchdown). The Falcons, who trailed 23-12 at half, overcame five turnovers in the win. … Franklin got an eight-yard touchdown pass from Will Reid to Cash Landau and a two-point conversion pass from Reid to Bastian Bowden with 1:39 left to clip Gresham 28-27. Landau clinched the win with an interception. Tucker Snow rushed for 208 yards and four touchdowns for Gresham. …

Jesuit managed only 195 total yards in a 28-0 loss to Skyview (Wash.) in Vancouver. Skyview raced to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, getting a 31-yard interception return for a score by Riley Arris. … Sheldon, last year's 6A runner-up, lost 37-3 at home to Mililani (Hawaii), which improved its record to 3-1. … Luke Baker ran for two touchdowns, including a 97-yarder, and caught a 37-yard scoring pass to lead Clackamas past Westview 28-7. … South Medford scored the last 21 points to dispatch Mountainside 42-28. The Panthers rushed for 324 yards, led by Kameron Rague (14 carries, 144 yards, one touchdown) and Bridger Foss (nine carries, 100 yards, touchdown catch). Mountainside led 28-21 in the third quarter on a touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Cade Mitchell, but couldn't hold off South Medford, which pulled ahead later in the quarter on a scoring run by Ryder Scheid. … Zavier Russell rushed for three touchdowns and LaMarcus Bell ran for two scores for Lake Oswego, which shook off an early 16-7 deficit and defeated Barlow 40-22. …Southridge rolled to a 27-14 home win over Centennial. In defeat, the Eagles got 113 rushing yards from JD Self and a kickoff return for a touchdown by Talan Fery. ...

Tualatin quarterback Nolan Keeney, a transfer from Westview, threw five touchdown passes, three to Jayden Fortier (five catches, 120 yards), and ran for a score in a 42-14 win over reigning 5A champion Summit. Four of Kenney's touchdown passes came in the first half. … Lakeridge stopped Glencoe 21-0, getting a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown from Jake Moleiro and a 41-yard scoring pass from Gabe Motschenbacher to Joey Olsen. … David Douglas, winless last season, opened with a 12-7 win over Aloha. The Scots, who fell behind 7-0, got a one-yard touchdown run by David Franco and a 19-yard touchdown run by Rashad Crosdale. … Sunset came back from a 21-7 deficit to beat Sandy 26-21. Drew Nees completed 17 of 19 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 53 yards on eight carries for the Apollos. … Grants Pass broke from a 6-6 tie to defeat Del Norte (Calif.) 20-6, pulling ahead on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Nathan Bassett to Troy Osborne and adding a 39-yard interception return for a score by Tim Hart. …South Salem's Athan Palmateer was the catalyst for a 49-21 win over Liberty (Wash.), completing 17 of 20 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 64 yards and two scores on six carries. Eli Johnson had three catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns and Parker Williams returned an interception 58 yards for a score.


Kallen Gutridge completed 15 of 20 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a score in Wilsonville's 44-15 win over Thurston. Mark Wiepert caught five passes for 140 yards and two scores for the Wildcats. … Preston Echeverria rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns and had four two-point runs and one two-point pass to lead Hillsboro past Wells 46-24. Echeverria also made a key tackle on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line and the Spartans leading 30-24, setting up a 99-yard touchdown drive that opened the lead. … McKay's Kyrin Fuimaono passed for three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Dallas Newton in the fourth quarter, to beat Lebanon 31-28. Justice Anthony had two touchdown catches and threw for a score for McKay, which made a goal-line stand late and iced the game with two first downs. … Forest Grove's Kyle Fabela caught nine passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns and scored on an interception return and kickoff return to lead his team past Century 39-22. ...

Down 20-14 at half, Mountain View took control and rolled past Canby 49-20. Angel Valenzuela rushed for 257 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries for the Cougars, who also got two scoring passes from Connor Crum. Mountain View had a 399-208 edge in yards. … Landon Lea passed for 246 yards and three touchdowns, all to Isaiah Francis, and had an interception on defense as South Eugene rolled McDaniel 20-2. Francis had 217 receiving yards. … North Eugene edged Hidden Valley 41-40 as Kelin Knutson ran for four touchdowns and passed for two scores. … West Albany dropped Corvallis 42-12 behind Lukas Hews, who completed 21 of 25 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns and had eight carries for 105 yards and three scores. … Bend dropped Lincoln 20-0 as Uriel Valdez ran for two touchdowns and Wyatt McClain had a 72-yard scoring run. Owen Thomas had two of Bend's three interceptions. ... Caeleb Kasperek led Springfield past Ridgeview 39-21, passing for two touchdowns and running for two touchdowns and a two-point conversion.


Michael Picard scored on runs of 68 and 33 yards for Madras in its 16-2 win over Sweet Home. Madras forced four turnovers (three fumble recoveries, one interception). … North Bend won at 5A Crater 30-28, avenging a 52-0 loss to the Comets in last year's opener. Shaun Wilder ran for two touchdowns and Cole Hansen ran and passed for scores in the win. Valentin Rodriguez rushed for 218 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries for Crater, which got two scoring catches and two interceptions from Kyle Petty. … Jace Otteson threw touchdown passes of 45 and 63 yards and ran for a 51-yard score for Pendleton, which beat Caldera 27-20. … The Dalles dominated La Pine 27-0 as Emerson Traub threw touchdown passes to Anthony Jara and Reece Kenslow, and Josh Brakenbury and Jacob Berkovich ran for scores. …Tanner Hoskins threw three touchdown passes, two to Griffyn Boomer (seven catches, 170 yards), to spark Tillamook past Marshfield 45-20. Seth Wehringer ran for three scores for the Cheesemakers, who had 414 total yards. ...

Marist Catholic stopped a two-point conversion attempt in overtime to defeat Churchill 36-35. The Spartans forced overtime on the final play of regulation when Brady Bidwell caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Nick Hudson, then took the lead in overtime on a pass from Hudson to Kaden Erlenbush. Churchill answered with a touchdown run by Aiden Pangelinan, but the Spartans stopped a potential game-winning two-point run. Hudson passed for five touchdowns, three to Erlenbush. Churchill's Tyler Mikel threw for four touchdowns and ran for a score. … Jojo Harrower passed for two touchdowns and Gavin White returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score as Ashland turned back Eagle Point 35-21. Crosby Lehnerz had two interceptions and Noah Schrader and Nathan Schrader recovered two fumbles each. Noah Schrader also had a touchdown catch. …La Salle Prep topped St. Helens 20-0 behind the running of quarterback Paul Skoro (14 carries, 148 yards, one touchdown) and Manu Tanzambi (15 carries, 111 yards, two touchdowns). ... Klamath Union defeated Etna (Calif.) 38-13, getting five touchdown passes from Lamar Cuellar. His brother, Jamar Cuellar, had four tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery.


Reigning state champion Cascade Christian rolled over North Valley 29-6 behind Ashton Moody, who ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns and passes for 163 yards and two scores. Caleb Scaglione ran for 101 yards on 12 carries and caught a touchdown pass and Luke Wilson had nine catches for 112 yards for Cascade Christian. … Devin Martin rushed for 260 yards and five touchdowns on 27 carries to propel Harrisburg past North Marion 47-38. … Valley Catholic got its first season-opening win since 2017 by beating Jefferson 39-2. Alex Adams threw three touchdown passes and Noah Holub had five catches for 103 yards and one score. Grant Heyworth returned an interception for a score and Holub had five tackles for loss. …

TJ Flowers scored on a run and a 57-yard catch to lift St. Mary's over Sutherlin 14-13. … South Umpqua held Phoenix to 39 total yards, recovering four fumbles, in a 48-0 win. Louden Cole caught five passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score for the Lancers. ...Scio blasted Rainier 38-13, rushing for 275 yards and four touchdowns. The Loggers held the Columbians to minus-34 rushing yards. ... Dayton held off Yamhill-Carlton 38-36. Zach Smith rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries, caught a scoring pass and threw for a two-point conversion. Boston Hodges passed for a touchdown and had a interception on defense. Yamhill-Carlton's Kyle Slater was impressive in defeat, completing 17 of 32 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 119 yards and two scores on 16 carries. ... Vale thumped Santiam Christian 46-6, led by Colten Stepleton, who completed 11 of 14 passes for 213 yards and five touchdowns.


Oakland, last year's champion, opened with a 46-8 win at Monroe. Jacob Chenoweth ran for two touchdowns and caught a scoring pass, Brayden Webb rushed for 121 yards on five carries and freshman Ryan Fullerton passed for two scores. ... Glide held off Grant Union 19-12 as Jayden Williams and Adrian Brown ran for touchdowns and Ty Hellenthal threw a 30-yard scoring pass to Paul Kercher. … North Douglas/Yoncalla outlasted Culver 38-36 behind Hunter Vaughn, who rushed for 240 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries and caught three passes for 79 yards. Caden Reigard had three touchdown runs and passed for a score for North Douglas/Yoncalla. … Landon Mitchell threw five touchdown passes, three to Caden George, in Heppner's 42-14 win over Gold Beach. Mitchell completed 9 of 16 passes for 196 yards. George had five catches for 114 yards and 11 tackles on defense. … Jacob Hadley rushed for 183 yards and five touchdowns on 16 carries for Willamina in its 40-7 win over Clatskanie. Landon Risseeuw had 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in the win. … Regis' Kollin Schumacher completed 17 of 27 passes for 301 yards and six touchdowns and returned an interception for a score as the Rams shut down Gaston 48-0. Noah Koenig had four catches for 111 yards and three touchdowns and Parker Bartholomew added seven catches for 106 yards and two scores. ... Down 6-0 at half, Bandon/Pacific pulled away for a 28-6 win at Colton. Quarterback Eli Freitag rushed for 273 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries and passed for 58 yards and one score.


Crosspoint Christian ran away from Dufur 52-34 as Chase Bacus carried 19 times for 259 yards and two touchdowns and caught three passes for 66 yards and two scores. Garrett Little passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more. … Bonanza routed Chiloquin 72-16 as Andrew Rojas had 12 carries for 158 yards and three touchdowns and Tristan McGann added six carries for 152 yards and two scores. McGann had 386 all-purpose yards, including a kickoff return for a score. … Camas Valley outlasted Powder Valley 54-46 as Riley Wolfe passed for 186 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 86 yards. Kaden Thompson rushed for 110 yards and two scores and recorded 16 tackles and two sacks. … Logan Backman went 14 for 20 for 431 yards and eight touchdown passes in Myrtle Point's 54-46 win over Adrian. Evan Warner (eight catches, 238 yards, five touchdowns), Thomas Ferren (five catches, 176 yards, three touchdowns) and Billy Reynolds (15 carries, 165 yards) also had big games for Myrtle Point. …Quarterback Trevor Treat and running back Dallin Rasmussen each scored three touchdowns as Imbler defeated Enterprise 50-20.


Harper Charter rode the running of sophomore Cope Christensen (four touchdowns) to a back-and-forth, 26-20 win at reigning state champion Mitchell/Spray/Wheeler, avenging a 50-6 loss from last season. ... Keegan Stufflebeam had five catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns as Days Creek held off Riddle 24-21. Wyatt Geiger had three touchdown passes and ran for a score for Days Creek, when led 24-7. Riddle got a 94-yard touchdown pass from Tucker Halstead to Jadon Coker. ... Prairie City held Wallowa to 43 yards in a 44-0 win. Wes Voigt completed 8 of 11 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns and caught a scoring pass. Tucker Wright and Cayden Howard each ran for two touchdowns and Wright added a touchdown catch.