ATHENA - Running back Elliot Salter gained 122 yards, ran for two touchdowns and caught another Saturday afternoon as No. 5-ranked Weston-McEwen kept its unblemished record intact with a 48-14 victory over Knappa in the opening round of the Oregon Class 2A state football playoffs.
W-M, now 10-0 on the year, will face fourth-ranked Kennedy of the Tri-River Conference in the state quarterfinals next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Mt. Angel, east of Salem. Kennedy earned a quarterfinal berth with a 35-12 triumph over Heppner.
Knappa moved from midfield to the outskirts of the red zone on its second offensive series against the favored TigerScots, only to be turned away after running back Justin Dragoo was stopped a yard short of a first down on a fourth-and-2 play from the W-M 21-yard line.
"That was huge for us," Weston-McEwen coach Kenzie Hansell said. "Give the kids credit. They work hard."
The TigerScots took advantage by driving 80 yards for the game's first touchdown, a one-yard sneak by quarterback Dallas Reich at the 3:29 mark of the opening quarter.
Reich ran in the 2-point conversion to give Weston-McEwen an 8-0 lead.
W-M blew the game open with three second-quarter touchdowns over an eight-and-a-half minute stretch. Salter hauled in a 39-yard pass from Reich, ran into the end zone from 7 yards out six plays after Jared Bond blocked a Loggers' punt, and fullback Tyler Peterson cashed in on a three-yard burst.
Reich threw to Bond for a 2-point conversion on the second score of period two.
The TigerScots led 28-0 at halftime.
Weston-McEwen accumulated 258 yards of offense in the first half compared with just 60 for the visiting Loggers.
"Both sides of the ball have played well all year," Hansell said. "They came out and did some things we didn't see on film. They dropped their (linebackers) and (defensive) ends into the flat. I thought they were well prepared."
"We came out a little flat," Reich said. "It took us a bit to get into a groove. You need to put it (the slow start) out of your mind and play football."
Each team crossed the other's goal line and registered a 2-point conversion in the third quarter.
Knappa hit pay dirt with 6:32 on the clock on a 34-yard pass from Kyle Kelly to Dragoo. Kelly added a 2-point run moments later.
Salter recorded his final touchdown of the day - on a 3-yard run with 5:06 remaining - and Reich passed to Bond for the conversion to bring the game's tally to 36-8.
Peterson caught a 7-yard touchdown toss from Reich with 7:21 left in the fourth quarter and Bond returned an interception 38 yards with 5:09 to go to end Weston-McEwen's scoring for the day.
"Elliot and Tyler are (two) of the best runners in the state," Reich said. "We take the pressure off each other."
Kelly threw a 2-yard six-pointer to Matt White at the 4:17 mark for the final touchdown of the game.
Reich completed 13-of-25 passes for 204 yards. Bond and Peterson caught four passes apiece for 73 and 44 yards, respectively.
"For defenses, it's tough to figure out which offense (rushing or passing) to stop," Reich said.
Weston-McEwen's defense gave up just 199 yards, only 45 on the ground. Its day also included three sacks and two interceptions, the first of which was a diving effort by Nick Lively in the first quarter.
Now the TigerScots' focus is zeroed in on Kennedy.
"They're tough," Hansell said. "They are big up front and pound the ball."
"We expect to come out on top," Reich said. "Our game plan is to go out, play our game and win."
W-M 48, Knappa 14
Knappa 0 0 8 6 - 14
W-M 8 20 8 12 - 48
W-M - Reich 1 run (Reich run).
W-M - Salter 39 pass from Reich (run failed).
W-M - Salter 7 run (Bond pass from Reich).
W-M - Peterson 3 run (run failed).
Knappa - White 34 pass from Kelly (Kelly run).
W-M - Salter 3 run (Bond pass from Reich).
W-M - Peterson 7 pass from Reich (pass failed).
W-M - Bond 38 interception return (kick blocked).
Knappa - White 2 pass from Kelly (pass failed).
First downs 6 23
Rushes/yards 19-45 47-195
Passing yards 154 204
Passes (att-comp-int) 36-14-2 25-13-1
Punts 5-38 2-34
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 10-78 9-107
RUSHING - Knappa: Name Dragoo 7-27, Kelly 12-18; W-M: Salter 21-122, Peterson 11-36, Reich 7-42, McAllister 3-3, Washburn 1-1, Bond 3-(-3), Team 2-(-6).
PASSING - Knappa: Kelly 10-21-1, 128 yards, 2 TDs, Palek 4-15-1, 26 yards, 0 TDs; W-M: Reich 13-25-1, 204 yards, 2 TDs.
RECEIVING - Knappa: White 4-81-2, Morgan 4-26, Kelly 2-26, Palek 2-11, Dragoo 2-10; W-M: Bond 4-73, Peterson 4-44-1, Salter 3-62-1, Lively 1-14, Terjeson 1-11.