BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — For 80 yards, Sunset couldn’t get a stop. Third and fourth downs flew by, but Westview converted on every one, putting pressure on the Apollos’ 4th quarter, 10-point lead.
On the final play of the drive, Westview quarterback Cielo Del Rosario scrambled, spun off two Sunset tacklers and headed toward the goal line, primed to give the Wildcats their first points of the night.
Then, after a pop from Gabe Leonard, the ball came free and into the air, where defensive back Nick Cizik was there to corral the game-icing fumble, securing a 17-0 win for the Apollos on a near freezing night in Beaverton.
The turnover was the difference in Sunset’s win on Friday, but it represents a transformation in the Apollos’ season. After starting 0-2, Sunset has won five in a row. Now, the undefeated Apollos have a date with Jesuit — which is also undefeated in league — to decide the outcome of the Metro League Championship.
“I think that’s just a testament to our defense,” Cizik said. “We never give up, even when our backs are way down against the wall. You saw that last week against Southrdige and you saw it again tonight. we never back down and we’re just resilient.”
Sunsets quarterback Coleman Newsom said that resiliency, and that ability to survive any outcome, has always been there. But for two weeks, the team lacked the focus to utilize that ability. After a week 2, 49-7 loss to Sheldon, the team came together and tried to fix that focus. Five weeks and 5 wins later, it’s apparent the Apollos have discovered a winning formula.
“It’s just kind of whatever it takes to win, that’s what you’ve got to do,” Newsom said.
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On Friday, that included figuring out how to score against a tough Westview defense. The two offenses struggled to get anything going, totaling 3 first downs in the first quarter. Sunset led 3-0 at the half. While the Apollos’ offense struggled, the defense held Westview in check. Callum Craig and Nathan Kimball both had interceptions.
In the second half, the Apollos started to click. Newsom drove the Apollos down to start the third quarter and finished off the drive with a short touchdown pass to Nick Niedermeyer.
Then, after Cizik’s fumble recovery, Newsom found Ryan Olson for a 88-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach.
“I knew he was going to go up and make a play on it,” Newsom said. “And that’s all you can really ask for. And then he broke it loose and ran it all the way down and it really was — to put that one away it was so much joy beating Westview, beating our rival and it was really a great feeling.”
Now, the Apollos will get a chance to show how much they’ve changed by playing Jesuit, the reigning league champions. Sunset head coach Damien Merrick said he’d like to think his team is different from their 0-2 start. Cizik thinks he and his teammates are ready.
“For us, it’s a welcome challenge,” Cizik said. “We’re on to the next opponent and I think we can really play up to that next level and I think it’s going to be a great game. All you can ask for is an opportunity to play a game like that. If you don’t have an opportunity, you’ve got nothing.”
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