PENDLETON — For Scappoose, the third time was the charm, and that charm couldn’t have come at a better moment.
The Indians, who paid the Pendleton Buckaroos their third visit of the season, made off with a 23-14 win in the first round of the 5A football state playoffs on Friday night. The win was the first the Indians managed over the Bucks, having lost to them twice in the regular season.
“We knew (Pendleton) is a really well-coached team, but we also feel that we could compete with anyone in the state,” Indians senior quarterback Jakobi Kessi said. “We knew if we played a clean game, we’d have a chance. (Pendleton is) a real challenge. It was great to play them again and finally get that win.”
Pendleton senior wide receiver Walker Camp grabbed an interception at the 34-yard line not 30 seconds into the first quarter to gain an early possession, and senior quarterback Tanner Sweek’s keeper gained them 15 more yards. But a penalty marker quickly negated the play and pushed the Bucks back to the 50, and the Indians soon took over.
Kessi carried the ball from Pendleton’s 25-yard line to their own 10 with 6:24 remaining, and two plays later, the 6-foot, 208-pound QB rushed it in for a touchdown.
It would be the only score of the quarter as the Indians held onto a 7-0 advantage.
“They came out and punched us in the mouth early,” Sweek said. “It’s hard to win a game when you can’t score points.”
Kessi hit senior wide receiver Drake Kramer with an intended touchdown pass at 9:18 in the second quarter, but it fell incomplete. Junior kicker Cade McDonald attempted a field goal to get the Indians going again, but the kick hit the pole and fell just short.
Sophomore quarterback Luke McNabb had a 41-yard carry, but a penalty took away the yardage. Kessi attempted one more touchdown pass, but couldn’t connect, and Scappoose was still up just 7-0 at the half.
Indians senior running back Josh Rice got the game’s second touchdown of the night at 9:05 in the third quarter for a 14-0 lead. Sweek threw to senior wide receiver Ty Patrick to put the Bucks on the 50-yard line on their next possession, and Sweek made a 30-yard rush for Pendleton’s first score to pull the Bucks within seven points at 14-7.
“They worked hard,” Pendleton head coach Erik Davis said of his team, “but couldn’t find a rhythm offensively. The defense played hard, but the offense couldn’t support them.”
Kessi carried the ball to the 12-yard line, but couldn’t break into the end zone. On the 4th down and 0:47 left, the Indians made a field goal for a 17-7 advantage.
Scappoose senior wide receiver Blake Morket then ran 13 yards for an apparent touchdown, but fumbled the ball just before the goal line. Kessi ran in his final score of the night with 0:59 left to play, and Sweek responded with a touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Tyler Holcomb with 0:04 remaining.
“It’s a big disappointment,” Sweek said of the loss. “We knew they would be tough. They were angry. There was no more home field advantage. It was an equal playing ground. We couldn’t make mistakes. We made too many of them.”
Sweek led the Bucks in their season’s final showing with 157 yards in the air and 120 more on the ground. Patrick finished with a team-high 74 receiving yards.
“It’s hard to beat a good team three times in the same year,” Davis said. “(Scappoose was) more physical in all aspects of the game. They deserved the win. This one hurt, but we’ll just have to lick our wounds. Winning our conference title was one of our goals this season, and winning a playoff game was another. I look forward to our young Bucks growing over the next year.”