Taft 27, Willamina 5

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    Taft’s Josh Salsbery goes all out to unsuccessfully haul in a long pass from Jack Stempel on Friday night

    Down 5-0, Stempel, Thomas lead Tigers on 27-0 rampage

    Quarterback Jack Stempel overcame two interceptions and an intentional grounding call in the end zone for a safety by throwing for a short score and returning a tipped pass nearly 80 yards untouched for a touchdown, while senior Everett Thomas was all over the defensive end of the field Friday in a 27-5 West Valley League homecoming victory over Willamina.

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    Jack Stempel airs one out

    A converted second-team all-league quarterback, Thomas, who now anchors the Tigers’ offensive and defensive lines, was one of eight seniors playing their final game at Voris Field. The 6-foot. 3-inch, 230-pound State wrestler made several pivotal plays in the first half, including a key sack, a fumble recovery and the tipped pass Stempel returned the distance that provided the Tigers with a 13-5 halftime cushion.

    The Bulldogs scored first when Stempel was pursued a yard deep in the end zone and the trailing back judge called him for avoiding a sack by throwing the ball away at 5:57 of the first quarter.

    Willamina kicked a 37-yard field goal and missed one of relatively the same distance in the first half. but led 5-0 after the opening quarter.

    Stempel hit senior Nathan Hertz on a short play-action pass for a 7-5 lead with 5:58 remaining in the half. The score was set up by a recovered fumble by Thomas and running back Dylan Gold’s hurdling run around the left side.

    Stempel’s long interception return 1:32 before halftime gave the 15th-ranked Tigers a 13-5 lead.

    The Tigers scored two second-half touchdowns to put the game away.

    Class 3A Taft improved to 4-4, 3-3 under first-year coach Jake Tolan, while Willamina fell to 3-5, 1-4.

    The Tigers close out their season at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at PacWest member Jefferson.

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    Jack Stempel waltzes down the visitor’s sideline Friday after picking off a pass and running unmolested for the score

    Taft High Class of 2017
    No. Name Position
    4 Mike Zacarias WR/DB
    7 Nathan Hertz WR/DB
    52 Michael Westfall OG/DT
    53 Micah Morgan C/DE
    58 Nick Martin OT/DT
    59 Zane Troutt OG/LB
    79 Everett Thomas OG/DT
    80 Christian Stockton WR/DB
    SOURCESports Lincoln County
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    Justin Werner is founder and publisher of Lincoln City Homepage and a journalist reporting news for the fine citizens of Lincoln City, Oregon and beyond. When he's not wearing his reporter hat, you can find him enjoying the Oregon Coast with his wife and three children.

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