CORVALLIS, Ore. – For the first time ever, the Clackamas Cavaliers are football state champions.
Clackamas’ Jeffrey Nelson kicked a 37-yard field goal with three seconds left to clinch a 31-30 win over South Medford Saturday afternoon.
Clackamas’ perfect season seemed destined to fall one win short. But with 1:39 left in the game, Justice Pagan forced a fumble of South Medford running back Jaylin Parnell. The fumble was recovered by Clackamas safety Braelen Bettles.
The Cavaliers (14-0) then drove 59 yards to set up Nelson’s game-winning kick.
Watch: Game-winning field goal
It was the first lead of the game for the Cavaliers, and the only one that mattered.
Clackamas trailed just a little over a minute into the game as South Medford (12-2) opened the scoring with a field goal to go up 3-0. The Panthers, who were on an 11-game winning streak, scored a touchdown on their next possession to take a 10-0 lead.
Clackamas cut the lead to 10-7 late in the first quarter on a James Millspaugh touchdown run but the Panthers extended the lead to 24-14 at halftime.
After a Cole Turner touchdown reception cut South Medford’s lead to 24-21, the Panthers answered with a touchdown run to go up 30-21 with seven minutes left in the third quarter. South Medford missed the extra point following the touchdown, which in the end, proved costly.
Millspaugh scored his third touchdown of the game with just under two minutes left in the third quarter to pull Clackamas within 30-28. The senior running back rushed for 161 yards on 29 carries.
Clackamas senior quarterback Mitchell Modjeski completed 18 of 29 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown, including two key completions to Turner and Chad Bletko to set up Nelson’s game-winning field goal.