Huskies clinch league title; N. Marion Friday

Sweet Home put a neat bow around the Capital Conference football championship Friday night, overpowering the Stayton Eagles 38-21 at Stayton.

The win was a big one for the Huskies, clinching the league title but also ensuring them a first place seed in the state playoffs. The win also gives the Huskies a first-round bye and then a home game.

“It was definitely a good win,” Coach Rob Younger said. “We played a little flat at times but I was very pleased with the workman like attitude of our players. They did what they had to do to win.”

Sweet Home stuck to a ground game against the Eagles, pounding out 329 yards on 50 rushes and led by the hard-charging Seth Graves.

Graves, who has had an outstanding offensive season, rambled for 199 yards on 22 carries and scored four touchdowns. He tallied TDs from 19, 1, 30 and 37 yards.

Quarterback Donny Cliver aided his own offensive game by chalking up 80 yards on 11 carries and Chris Phillips added 30 yards on seven carries earning praise for his blocking prowess from Coach Younger.

“We dominated the game early at the start of both halves,” Coach Younger said. “Brandon Miner set the tone with his kickoff coverage.”

The win also sets the Huskies in the driver’s seat for an undefeated league season, going into Friday night’s homecoming game against North Marion 4-0 (7-1 overall.)

Sweet Home stung the Eagles twice early, scoring on their first two possessions. Graves scored from 19 yards and Cliver from 11.

A Husky fumble at the six yard line with two minutes left in the half set up Stayton’s first tally as Brandon John scored from the four. Thatcher kicked the PAT and Sweet Home led 17-7.

The Huskies toughed up and five seconds later, Graves scored from the one yard line for a 24-7 halftime lead.

The Husky momentum continued after the break, as Sweet Home took the kickoff and controlled the football for 6 1/2 minutes, mounting a 75 yard drive. The effort culminated with a 30 yard TD from Graves and a 31-7 lead.

The Husky varsity came out of the game for most of the fourth quarter as Stayton picked up two touchdowns. Graves rounded out the Husky scoring drive with a final TD for the 38-31 win.

Tim Matuszak had one reception for 24 yards on the night and another interception and Tyler Emmert had a good game at outside linebacker.

“Our defense played very well,” Coach Younger said. “They’ve had two excellent games in a row. Our front eight played a very physical game. They intimidated the Eagles.”

The league championship was a goal set by the Huskies during the pre-season practice, Coach Younger said.

“It’s nice to win the championship but it’s especially nice that the team did so in great fashion,” Coach Younger said. “Our closest game was seven points against Sisters. It’s also great to be going into our homecoming game without the pressure of trying to win a league title as well.”

Coach Younger said the homecoming tradition is very strong at Sweet Home High School.

“In my 23 years here, we’ve only lost twice at homecoming and last year was one of those games,” Coach Younger said.

North Marion is running a new offense this season and gave Sisters a run for their money Friday, losing 34-28.

“They usually run but last week they threw the football 31 times in the second half alone,” Coach Younger said.

Players of the week: Offense: Donny Cliver and Casey Baarson; Defense: Tim Matuszak and Tyler Emmert; Special Teams: Brandon Miner.

Quarterbacks corner…

“We controlled the game defensively,” quarterback Brian Seward said of Friday’s win. “They couldn’t get anything past us until the fourth quarter.”

Seward praised running back Seth Graves for having another outstanding game.

“We didn’t throw much because we didn’t have to,” Seward said.

Fellow quarterback Donny Cliver said the backfield ran well but overall the offense was spotty.