East County blows by Renegades

GRESHAM — The Southern Oregon Renegades ran into the Russell Schneider Express and had their perfect season derailed with a crushing, 40-6 loss against East County.

The host Blackshirts came out full speed ahead for the second half and scored four straight touchdowns. Southern Oregon didn't have the answer, as its offense sputtered, picking up only one first down until the final minutes of play when the game was out of hand.

East County's defense finished with four interceptions and five sacks.

"This week it was all about redemption," Blackshirts lineman DeShawn Taylor said. "We hit the holes hard and took away their running game."

East County lost the first meeting between the teams 28-12 last month.

The Blackshirts had no such trouble this time around, stretching to a 27-6 lead at the end of the third quarter when Schneider hit Kyle English in the back of the end zone for a short touchdown strike. The duo set up the chance on the previous play when English found a hole in the middle of the field to move the chains on third-and-10.

"We wanted to come out here and show them that they can't beat us if we don't turn the ball over," English said.

East County coughed up the ball seven times in its earlier loss to the Renegades.

The Blackshirts were clicking Saturday night, led by Schneider, who completed 20 of 32 passes for 276 yards and five TDs. English hauled in three of those scoring strikes, putting the game out of reach by sliding on his hip to make a grab for a 34-6 lead with 7:58 to play.

With the win, the Blackshirts (8-1) are in position to claim the Cascade Division title next week by beating the last-place Valley Mustangs. East County holds the "margin of victory" tiebreaker, giving them the No. 1 seed over the Renegades in the case of a tie.

Southern Oregon (9-1) has wrapped up its regular season and will open the playoffs Saturday, Oct. 4, with a long road trip to battle the unbeaten British Columbia Spartans.

The Renegades had their chances to break the game open in the first quarter, scoring on their opening drive to take a 6-0 lead on a 3-yard TD run by Alvin Thornton.

Southern Oregon was poised to increase its lead when Kelly Kline picked off Schneider's first pass of the night and returned it inside the 20.

But the Renegades went backward from there and turned the ball over on downs.

East County tied the game on a long pass connection from Schneider to English, who pulled out of an ankle tackle at the 10 and glided into the end zone.

The duo hooked up again to set up the go-ahead score in the second quarter.

Facing a fourth-and-24, Schneider dodged a series of tackles in the backfield before letting loose with a long pass toward the sideline, where English fought off two defenders to make the grab at the marker.

East County tailback Jason Hoyt finished the drive with a plunge from the 1-yard line, crashing into a pile of linemen before having the ball ripped loose at the goal line. But Officials ruled that Hoyt had already broken the plane, giving East County a 13-7 lead at the break.

Southern Oregon had a chance to pull even before halftime when Phil Dupont fired a pass toward the end zone, but his receiver slipped down at the pylon, allowing East County's Tasi Toeaina to and pull down the interception.

Southern Oregon 6 0 0 0 — 6

East County 6 7 14 13 — 40

SO —Thornton 3 run (run failed)

EC — English 56 pass from Schneider (kick failed)

EC — Hoyt 1 run (Wismer kick)

EC — Bodeman 18 pass from Schneider (Wismer kick), 6:55.

EC — English 4 pass from Schneider (Wismer kick)

EC — English 15 pass from Schneider (Wismer kick)

EC — Bodeman 8 pass from Schneider (kick failed)

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