CORVALLIS, Ore. (KOIN) — All season long, Clackamas had wrote a perfect script. Thirteen games had become 13 wins, and only one chapter remained.
On Saturday, with one final kick — a 37-yard field goal from Jeffrey Nelson with 3 seconds left — that perfectly told tale got its perfect ending.
Clackamas defeated South Medford 31-30 at Reser Stadium to win the school’s first football state championship.
“It’s kind of surreal right now,” said Clackamas head coach Joe Bushman. “It was an amazing game. It’s too bad someone had to lose this game.”
The win seals the 2017 Clackamas team in the school’s history books forever. Quarterback Mitchell Modjeski hopes it sets a championship standard for the Cavaliers’ program.
“Clackamas has been close so many times,” Modjeski said, “and to finally breakthrough I think it’s big for our team and for future teams.”
The Cavaliers were led offensively by senior running back James Millspaugh, who capped his career with a 3 touchdown championship performance. Wide receiver Cole Turner, who is committed to play at Nevada next year, also had a touchdown catch from Modjeski.
The perfect ending to Clackamas’ season didn’t have a perfect start. South Medford started fast, taking a 10-point lead into halftime.
The Cavaliers were in an unfamiliar position, and they’d have to do something they weren’t forced to do very often this year: comeback.
“At halftime we were believing in ourselves, just telling ourselves we could do this thing,” Millspaugh said. “Just chip away, just chip away.”
Chip away they did. Modjeski and Clackamas struck first in the second half when the senior quarterback found Turner for a 17-yard touchdown.
South Medford responded on a touchdown run from quarterback Robbie Patterson. But, on the ensuring PAT, South Medford missed — something that would play a part later in the Cavaliers’ one-point win.
Eventually, the Panthers were holding a 2-point lead with time running out. Then, Clackamas linebacker Justice Pagan forced a fumble while safety Braelen Bettles recovered, giving the Cavaliers new hope.
“We’ve got a shot,” Turner thought when he saw the fumble. “We’ve got one more chance.”
And they took advantage. Eventually, Modjeski and company drove down to South Medford 20-yard line. Nelson took it from there, hitting the game-winning field goal.
Perfect season complete.
“It’s a storybook ending,” Turner said.
KOIN 6 is at Reser Stadium and will update this story later.