Four Downs: Sectional Championship

Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald
Southridge's Trevor Hunefeld attempts to tackle Heritage Hills' Cole Sigler Oct. 4 in Lincoln City. Heritage Hills defeated Southridge 42-7.

Here’s a quick overview of Friday’s sectional championship between Southridge and host Heritage Hills:

 

Raiders @ Patriots

Teams: Class 3A No. 7 Southridge (9-2, 5-2) at Class 3A No. 2 Heritage Hills (11-0, 7-0), 7:30 p.m., The Jungle

Series: Heritage Hills leads 36-14

Last meeting: The Patriots defeated the Raiders 42-7 in Lincoln City on Oct. 4.

1. A local team is guaranteed to win a Class 3A sectional championship on Friday. The Raiders have won the title each of the past two years, while the Patriots are seeking their first sectional crown since 2014. The last time these two teams met in the postseason was in the 2016 sectional opener, and the Raiders won 37-34 in double overtime. Heritage Hills and Southridge were tied 7-7 in its Oct. 4 meeting against each other before the Patriots erupted for 35 unanswered points. The Pats’ seniors stepped up to help make that rout happen. Quarterback Cole Sigler was 4 of 5 passing for 71 yards and a touchdown. Sigler carried the ball 10 times for 110 rushing yards and two additional scores. Jake Wetzel tallied 94 yards on 17 carries for a score. Phoenix Rodgers had two touchdowns off of carries for 84 and 6 yards, while Kaden Feldpausch hauled in three receptions for 72 yards and a score. However, eighth-year coach Todd Wilkerson told The Herald in October that Southridge would be better come sectionals, a position he reaffirmed on Tuesday.

2. Time of possession will be a key factor for Southridge, as it’ll look to limit the chances for the Heritage Hills offense to find those handful of big plays that can break the game open. In their first meeting, the Raiders were able to get a slight edge on the time of possession (24:42 to 22:26), but coach Scott Buening said the Patriots have a well-coached defense and a stout unit that has made it difficult all season for their opponents to put together those clock-chewing drives. However, the Raiders will be playing with junior quarterback Chase Taylor back in the starting lineup. Taylor missed the first game while recovering from a broken collarbone. He has accounted for six total touchdowns (three passing, three rushing) in the Raiders’ first two sectional games.

3. “They’ve got Chase Taylor back — great athlete at quarterback, makes them much more dynamic offensively,” Wilkerson said. “He’s got a great arm. He’s a good runner, strong kid. That makes their offense more difficult to defend, and it’s playoff time. The Raiders have had great success the last few years in playoffs. Those kids know how to win.”

4. “We believe in these competitive games where teams are in the [same] ballpark ability-wise," Buening said.  "There’s going to be three to five plays that are probably going to decide the game. They could happen at any point. When you get opportunities, you have to take advantage. With Heritage Hills and their defense, they don’t give you a lot of opportunities. When we have an opportunity for one of those three or four plays, we have to make it. The team that makes those plays is going to advance; when those plays present themselves, we just need to make them.” 




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