West Linn rolls over Central Catholic, wins 6A title

The win brings the West Linn team its first championship title

West Linn rolled over Central Catholic, 62-7, to win the 6A title, December 3, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Senior Tim Tawa threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more to lead top-ranked West Linn to its first state title with a 62-7 victory Saturday over Central Catholic in the OSAA Class 6A championship game.

Washington-bound Elijah Molden ran for 186 yards and three more touchdowns for the Lions, who were undefeated this season. Tawa, a Stanford baseball commit, completed 16 of 24 passes for 248 yards while also running for 66 yards.

“This is the best game I’ve ever played in, my four years playing for the team,” Molden said.

DeAndre Smith started in the first half for Central Catholic, throwing for 53 yards before Cade Knighton took over in the second and threw a touchdown pass to Trey Davis, but the Rams’ couldn’t overcome West’s Linn’s stout defense and a 28-0 halftime lead.

The No. 7 Rams (10-4) had won state titles in both 2013 and 2014. They edged Tigard 35-34 in double overtime to advance to the championship game at Providence Park.

West Linn (14-0) was making its second straight appearance in the state title game. Last year the Lions fell to Jesuit 21-14.

The West Linn HS football team won the 2016 6A state championship. (KOIN)
The West Linn HS football team won the 2016 6A state championship. (KOIN)

“That last year was fuel to the fire. We put in so much work in the offseason, and every night I would just think about losing in the state championship,” Molden said. “I wasn’t going to let it happen again.”

West Linn, which advanced to the final with a 41-20 victory over Clackamas, scored on the second play of the game when Molden ran 70 yards for a TD. Molden added a 4-yard scoring run later in the first quarter.

Tawa scored on a pair of keepers from 14 and 3 yards out in the second quarter.

The Rams got on the board with Knighton’s 38-yard scoring pass to Davis. The pass was tipped by West Linn defensive back Zach Shelton near the goal line, but it popped into Davis’ arms and he stepped right into the end zone.

“We’ve overcome so many obstacles, overcoming early obstacles, taking early losses,” Central Catholic linebacker Malakai Salu said. “We could have easily folded up the tent, and said ‘Forget about this season.’ But we stuck with it, our seniors stuck with it and we shocked so many people. This game wasn’t the way we wanted to go out, but I’m so proud of our guys right now.”

Molden scored on a 26-yard touchdown run before Tawa, who owns state records for career passing yards and touchdowns, found Jake Meisen with a 41-yard scoring pass and hit Qawi Ntsasa with a 34-yard TD.

West Linn’s Dawson Jolley ran for a 21-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter and the game went to a running clock. Shortly thereafter the Lions pulled their starters and the fans started chanting “Thank you seniors!”

Jolley added a 23-yard TD run with just over 6 minutes left for the final margin.

“My guys were very focused, they were very ready, and those 35 seniors led us,” Lions coach Chris Miller said. “I couldn’t be prouder of them.”