Brady Eiler got his opportunity and produced in a big way for St. Mary’s in Class 3A District 5 South football Friday.
Eiler scored two touchdowns and had a key interception as St. Mary’s defeated Hidden Valley, 34-16, at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
Eiler, who replaced an injured Jake Reynolds at H-back in the Crusaders’ offensive backfield, scored on a second-quarter 20-yard run that put St. Mary’s ahead for good. Then the junior caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Aliiloa Kaeo-Wailehua to complete the Crusaders’ scoring in the fourth quarter.
Additionally, Eiler made an inteception deep in Crusaders territory that thwarted a Hidden Valley scoring threat early in the game.
“The interception by Eiler was a good momentum swing for us,” said St. Mary’s coach Jamie Young. “He hadn’t received a lot of work at H-back coming into the game but had quite a night.”
Eiler, a starting linebacker, also played an important role in spearheading the St. Mary’s defense along with linebacker Cobey Aldrich, who returned to the lineup after missing two games with a knee injury.
“Our whole defense played amazing,” said Young. “They did a great job tackling and stopping a team that wanted to get us out in space. “
Gavin Rajagopal put St. Mary’s (4-2, 2-0 Dist. 5) ahead 7-0 with a 22-yard first-quarter touchdown run.
But Hidden Valley (3-3, 0-2 Dist. 5) responded with a field goal by Sam Vidlak and an 8-yard Vidlak touchdown pass to Parker Wright to grab a 10-7 lead.
“We fell behind after dominating in the first quarter,” said Young. “We were able to rebound in a game we had control of but made some mistakes that cost us.”
The Crusaders turned the deficit around by scoring 27 unanswered points. Kaeo-Wailehua helped the Crusaders rally by tossing three touchdown passes in the second half.
“We have a variety of ways to spread the ball around,” said Young. “We’re playing better football at a good time in the season.”
Hidden Valley 3 7 0 6—16
St. Mary’s 7 7 7 13—34
SM — Rajagoopal 22 run (Rajagopal kick)
HV — FG Vidlak
HV — Wright 8 pass from Vidlak (Vidlak kick)
SM — Eiler 20 run (Rajagopal kick)
SM — Foster 12 pass from Kaeo-Wailehua (Rajagopal kick)
SM — Aldrich 16 pass from Kaeo-Wailehua (kick failed)
SM — Eiler 12 pass from Kaeo-Wailehua (Rajagopal kick)
HV — Rossi 4 run (pass failed)
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 52, SOUTH UMPQUA 0: At Myrtle Creek, Elijah Smith excelled on both sides of the ball for fourth-ranked Cascade Christian — scoring two touchdowns and leading a Challengers defense that limited host South Umpqua to just 51 yards and four first downs in the Class 3A District 2 South game.
The Challengers (5-1, 2-0 Dist. 5) broke the contest open by scoring 26 points in the second quarter to take a 38-0 halftime lead.
Elijah Smith scored on two short runs in the second period and paced the Cascade rushing game, which went for 235 yards, with 82 yards on nine carries. On defense, the junior linebacker had a team-best seven tackles, one interception and recorded a safety.
Challenger junior quarterback Kiegan Schaan was 13-of-20 passing for 196 yards and one touchdown. Schaan also rushed for 41 yards.
Cascade Christian totaled 431 yards in offense.
Cascade Christian 12 26 7 7—52
South Umpqua 0 0 0 0—0
CC — Safety, E. Smith
CC — K. Fralich 53 kickoff return (Hoffman kick)
CC — FG Hoffman 42
CC — E. Smith 4 run (kick failed)
CC — E. Smith 1 run (K. Fralich run)
CC — Jordan 1 run (pass failed)
CC — J. Fralich 22 pass from Schaan (kick failed)
CC — Jordan 10 run (Hoffman kick)
CC — Martin 4 run (Hoffman kick)
HENLEY 21, PHOENIX 0: At Klamath Falls, winless Phoenix managed just three yards in offense in suffering the Skyline Conference road loss.
The Pirates (0-5, 0-3 Skyline) had 42 yards passing but they rushed 24 times for minus-39 yards.
Brandon Kestorson scored two rushing touchdowns for Henley (2-4, 1-1) and led the ground attack with 129 yards on 22 carries.
Phoenix quarterback Zach Dungey was 7-for-27 passing and Nik Goff was the Pirates’ leading receiver with two catches for 29 yards.
Phoenix 0 0 0 0—0
Henley 7 7 0 7—21
H — Kestorson 6 run (Baker kick)
H — Kestorson 1 run (Baker kick)
H — O’Connor 47 run (Baker kick)
GLIDE 64, ROGUE RIVER 8: At Rogue River, District 5-leading Glide had little difficulty in the Class 2A league contest at the Field of Dreams.
Rogue River fell to 0-2 in district play and 2-4 overall. Glide stands 2-0 in league and 5-1 on the season.