Central Catholic's Aidan Wilder (13) evades Jesuit's Zach Houlemard (19) in the Oregon 6A State Football Championship.
Central Catholic high school made history Saturday.
By beating rival Jesuit 38-28 in the Oregon 6A Football Championship, this year's Rams earned Central Catholic its first state football title since winning back-to-back titles in 1952-53. It was a fact on the mind of every Ram player following the game.
"Sixty years, that's like what, four times my life?" said senior quarterback Aidan Wilder, who ran for a touchdown in the game.
"I've been dreaming about it since I was a little boy and since I came to this program," said Oregon State-bound Ryan Nall, who scored three touchdowns in the win. "That was our goal from the start and we did it, finally."
Beating Jesuit made the win all the more historic. Jesuit has been one of the best football programs in the state at any level over the past 20 years, making five trips to the 6A championship game since 2000 and winning three state titles in that span.
This game was a rematch for the two Oregon 6A Catholic football programs, who also met in September. The Rams came out on top then as well. Since that date, both teams had gone undefeated.
"Best rivalry in the state. To come out on top, just a little bit of sugar on top," said Ram junior Cameron Scarlett, who also ran for a touchdown in the championship.
"Nobody's done this for 60 years in this program. We knew we had it in us. We really just executed our plan."
This was the first time Jesuit and Central Catholic had met in the football championship game. The school's soccer teams faced off last month, with Jesuit coming out on top. Central Catholic and Jesuit have met four times in girls state volleyball championship match, with the Rams holding a 3-1 edge.
"Great group of kids, great chemistry, and we played a really good state championship game. We just didn't quite have enough there at the end," said Jesuit coach Ken Potter.
Good sportsmanship prevailed as well as good play. The game went back-and-forth with four lead changes and three ties until the Rams moved ahead for good toward the end of the third quarter. Both teams kept the ball on the ground in the 28 degree chill. Jesuit junior Chase Morrison led all rushers with 217 yards and three touchdowns. Nall tallied 196 yards for the Rams and added an interception and two-point conversion to his three touchdowns. Jesuit senior Henry Mondeaux also scored a touchdown for the Crusaders on a 4-yard catch.
Central Catholic loses two key components of this 14-0 championship run. Wilder and Nall, who accounted for 28 championship points, will graduate. Scarlett, one of the state's leaders in all-purpose yards, will return. Morrison, who led the 6A division in rushing, returns for Jesuit, along with sophomore quarterback Eric Restic.
Both teams hope this historic game is only the first of many.
"They outplayed us today. I just feel as though I've got to go back to the drawing board, learn from my mistakes, and come back next year," said Restic. "We're going to be hungry next year. Coming to this game, falling short, we're going to want it more than ever."
Central Catholic coach Steve Pyne would love a Holy War state championship, part II.
"Sixty years of waiting. People are going to enjoy this. I knew we would get it done at some point because of the people in our community," said Pyne. "I hope we get a chance to do this again. I told coach Potter, let's make this an annual event."