CRESWELL – After enduring a decade-long football playoff drought, this was the season Creswell expected to bust down the door and crash the postseason party. The Bulldogs are still hopeful of receiving an invitation.
But after Friday night’s 37-6 loss to Santiam Christian, it was clear that the Bulldogs aren’t quite ready for prime time. It’s a long season, though.
“The score was not indicative of how the game went,” Creswell coach Scott Worsham said after the game, played on the Bulldogs’ new state-of-the-art turf field.
“I thought maybe this was the year we would catch up with them, since they’re down and we’re up, but we just couldn’t get any rhythm going tonight. I told the guys, one loss doesn’t define us. We can bounce back from this.”
How frustrating was this game for the Bulldogs? It seemed that virtually every big play by the Bulldogs was countered by one from the Eagles. When Creswell’s Darien Dewey tossed a 54-yard touchdown pass to Asher Parsons with 3:49 left in the third quarter to trim Santiam’s lead to 17-6, the visitors responded two minutes later with a backbreaker – a 57-yard scoring run by John Coiner to make it 24-6.
Early in the fourth quarter, Creswell missed an opportunity for a potential scoop-and-score, and Santiam maintained possession and went in for another score, as Daniel Fosdick found Landon Bradford for a 3-yard touchdown. Game, set, 31-6 mismatch at that juncture.
Santiam took advantage of the Bulldogs’ two turnovers, converting them into 10 points.
“The two teams were pretty evenly matched. If we play them again, it’s more of a one-score game,” Worsham said.
“I was pretty impressed with our offensive line, they were opening up some big holes, and they’re the strength of our team right now. Cayden Cox had a huge game playing both ways – he led us with 10 tackles. Victor Giffen had another strong game. He only had 4 tackles, but he had 11 last game. He’s a tough kid.”
This week begins league play in the seven-team 3A-4 Mountain Valley Conference, but Creswell plays Friday night at Warrenton, a coastal town west of Portland.
Creswell won’t have to wait long to know where it stands in the playoff race. The Bulldogs return home on Oct. 6 to host Sisters.
Elmira, Siuslaw, and Sisters are considered the teams to beat.
“Those three teams are the three best teams in our league,” Worsham said. “We have to keep working and persevere, trust the process, and focus on being ready. And then get after it.”