News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Santiam falls to Colton in Tri-River showdown

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

Santiam got off to a strong start but couldn’t sustain it amid injuries and turnovers in the Wolverines’ 50-24 Tri-River Conference loss Oct. 13 at Colton.

The Vikings, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in league play. Santiam, ranked 9th, fell to 4-3 and 3-2. The Wolverines are tied for third in the league with Willamina, a half-game behind second-place Regis. Three teams from the league earn automatic bids, with one statewide at-large berth also available.

“That’s a very good team, no doubt about it,” Santiam second-year coach Josh Ruby said of the Vikings. “We were doing everything pretty well in the first half. But in the second half we couldn’t get a drive going. And those turnovers were a killer. They play a smashmouth style and just run everything right at you. That’s when the injuries can hurt you.”

Santiam, which came into the contest missing two-way standout Quentin Clark, lost two other key players during the game, running back/linebacker Lukas Lebahn and two-way lineman Fisher Cook. 

Lebahn helped Santiam move out to a 24-6 lead on perhaps the game’s most brilliant individual play. Leading 8-6 late in the first period Lebahn took a handoff to the right, found nothing, and reversed his field all the way to the left, finding acres of space down the left sideline for a 16-6 score.

The Wolverines made it 24-6 three minutes into the second period when Gage Twede alertly reeled in a tipped pass from quarterback Sam Shroeder and scampered 73 yards for a score. Twede and Schroeder also connected on a 25-yard TD to open the scoring on a 4th-and-8 play.

Colton pulled within 24-14 with 49 seconds left in the half on a 36-yard pass from Wyatt Holliday to Noah Bjornstedt and the Vikings dominated the second half, scoring the go-ahead TD on a fumble return and scoring twice in the 4th quarter on short fields after an interception and a fumble recovery.

Santiam senior Trenton Clifford turned in a strong game on defense and special teams while also rushing for 42 yards and three 2-point conversions. Junior Niklas Zallinger punted well and kicked off well for the Wolverines while also stopping a Colton drive with a goal-line interception.

The Wolverines return to action in a non-league matchup at 7 p.m. Friday at Sheridan (0-5 overall, 0-4 Class 2A Special District 1). Santiam closes the regular season Oct. 28 against Regis in Mill City in a game that could determine second place in the Tri-River.

Scio, meanwhile, returned to winning ways with a 39-6 Homecoming victory against Newport. The win improved the Loggers’ record to 4–3 overall and 2-3 in Class 3A’s Special District 2. Scio visits undefeated Santiam Christian at 7 p.m. Friday night before closing the regular season at home on Oct. 28 against Jefferson.

Volleyball: Scio already had clinched a Class 3A playoff spot heading into its match Wednesday with Sheridan, which occurred after The Canyon Weekly’s presstime. The Loggers are 14-5 overall and 8-3 in PacWest play. The playoffs start Oct. 26.  Santiam, meanwhile, was battling its way through the Tri-River playoffs at The Canyon Weekly’s presstime. A top 4 finish would earn the Wolverines an automatic slot in the Class 2A playoffs, which start Oct. 29.

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