Outlaws capture league title in football


Last updated 10/24/2023 at 10:25am

Photo by Olivia Kennedy

Placekicker Reid Woodson drives one for the Outlaws, with Justin deSmet holding the ball.

The Outlaws defeated the Siuslaw Vikings 27-20 at home in Friday night's homecoming game, and with the win captured the league title.

It was a big game for both teams. Sisters entered the contest 4-0 in league, and ranked No. 8 in state, while Siuslaw was close behind at 3-1 in league, and ranked No. 15 in the state.

Both teams came out ready to play, and were intense and focused. Siuslaw started with the ball and had a fairly good drive going, but it fizzled, and they were forced to punt. At the end of the first period neither team had scored.

Sisters had a fantastic first drive that chewed up over seven minutes on the clock and went into the second quarter. The Outlaws used a strong rushing attack and went 90 yards in 14 plays on the ground. The drive was capped by a five-yard touchdown run by Tony Gonzalez. Reid Woodson's PAT was good and the Outlaws went up 7-0.

The Vikings answered just over two minutes later, but their two-point conversion attempt failed and Sisters held on to a slim 7-6 advantage. The Outlaws went on another long 11-play drive that was a mix of runs and passes. With 2:20 left in the half, Ethan Eby ran it in from eight yards out. After another PAT from Woodson, Sisters extended their lead to 14-6.

Siuslaw had a chance to score right before the half, but their final play, with just one second left, was thwarted by a touchdown-saving tackle from Kale Gardner.

Sisters took the opening kickoff of the second half, which was an onside kick by the Vikings. Garret Sager, a member of the Outlaws' "hands team" for kickoffs, recovered and Sisters found themselves in great field position at their own 49-yard line. Three plays later, Hunter Bronson found Landon Scott in the flats and Scott did the rest for a 52-yard TD reception. Another Woodson PAT put the Outlaws on top 21-6 with 10:20 left in the third period.

Siuslaw went on a drive of their own, but Dawson Roberson broke it up with an interception near the Outlaws' end zone. Sisters used that possession to burn the clock and get the game into the final period. Unfortunately, they were forced to punt and a bad snap gave the ball back to the Vikings at the Outlaws' 49-yard line. A few plays later, the Vikings scored, but once again the two-point conversion was stopped. Sisters held a 21-12 lead with 9:26 left in the game.

The Vikings tried another onside kick, and this time it was easily recovered by Gardner. Siuslaw managed to stop the Outlaws on a fourth down conversion attempt, but on the Vikings' ensuing play, they fumbled, and Jayden Vogt was there to pounce on the ball and get the ball back for Sisters.

Five plays later, the Outlaws made the Vikings pay for their error as Eby scored on a one-yard run with a pancake block from Gonzalez that led the way. Sisters extended their lead to 27-20.

Gardner again recovered a desperate onside kick from the Vikings, and Sisters went into a V-formation to seal the win.

With the win the Outlaws clinched the Mountain Valley Conference title and moved to 7-1 overall, and remain undefeated in league play at 5-0.

On defense, Hudson Beckwith led the squad with eight tackles, followed by Justin deSmet and Kale Gardner, who recorded seven. Kalvin Parker and Cody Cassano added five tackles each.

In addition, Vogt had a fumble recovery and Dawson Roberson had a key interception deep in the Outlaws' territory, which stopped one of the Vikings' drives.

Coach Gary Thorson said, "We knew this would be a hard-fought game and it definitely was. Both teams came ready to play and it was a very physical contest. We had a hard time stopping them, but we came away with some key turnovers that really helped us. Their offense (triple option) is something you do not see a lot these days, and they ran some complimentary plays off of it that really hurt us."

Thorson noted a few players he felt had a good performance.

"Beckwith had a good night from his corner position and saved our bacon a few times when they popped some runs against us, and Dawson Roberson's interception near our end zone was a huge play that stopped one of their drives."

On offense, Thorson noted that Kalvin Parker had a good game at center, and quarterback Hunter Bronson continued to do a good job leading the offense. DeSmet rushed for over 100 yards for the third consecutive game. 

"We got some good, hard-nosed running out of our two three-backs, Tony Gonzalez and Ethan Eby," added Thorson.

Senior Tony Gonzalez commented on the Outlaws' play so far this year.

Gonzalez said, "I feel really good about the team this year. I definitely had some doubts before the season began because we lost so many seniors, but our team has heart, we play aggressive, and we pull together whenever it gets difficult. Winning league is an amazing feeling. We did something that hasn't been done since 2015! Our team fights for each other and I'm very proud of all of them."


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