The Jesuit Crusaders and Central Catholic Rams will renew one of the best and most high-profile rivalries in the state on Friday. Oregon’s two largest catholic high schools will face off in the latest “Holy War” rivalry in a quarterfinal game of the Class 6A state playoffs.
The Crusaders-Rams game is one of four quarterfinal games in the championship bracket. No. 1-seed West Linn will face No. 8-seed Sherwood, No. 2-seed Sheldon will face No. 7-seed Lake Oswego and No. 3-seed Tualatin will take on No. 6-seed Mountainside to round out the bracket.
The Crusaders-Rams contest is the most intriguing matchup of the four quarterfinal games.
The Crusaders (9-1) lead the all-time series 23-16-1, but the Rams have won the past two games, including a 35-28 win in a playoff semifinal game on their way to a second consecutive state title last season. The Crusaders, the No. 4-seed, are excited about getting another shot at the Rams.
“This game is personal, very personal. It’s not just another playoff game,” Jesuit senior lineman Roice Cleeland said. “These guys took us out and won a state championship last year. We want revenge.”
The Crusaders rallied from a 35-14 deficit late in the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie the game but fell short.
“We just made too many mistakes last year. Coach said this game is going to be decided by special teams and 50-50 balls. Winning the 50-50 balls help win close games,” Cleeland said. “I believe this year will be different, we’re locked in. Our goal is to not make as many mistakes. Hopefully we will prevail.”
The Rams (9-1) are attempting to become the first team to win three consecutive state football titles at Oregon’s highest classification since Marshfield won three straight from 1954-56 (Marshfield finished in a 13-13 tie with South Salem to share the title in 1954).
Central Catholic, seeded No. 5, rolled past South Medford 63-6 in a first-round game.
Junior quarterback Cru Newman completed 9 of 15 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns, both to sophomore wide receiver Zhaiel Smith. Newman also ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns.
The Rams have averaged 51 points a game and have allowed a total of 40 points during their last eight games.