WOODBURN – Laban Davis knew he had to make something happen.
With a scoreless game nearly halfway into the third quarter, the sophomore, who was making his first postseason start at quarterback for Eastside, had to give his receiver something to work with.
So when he saw Wade Miller with a step on the defense he let the ball fly.
“I saw my fastest guy one on one and I just chucked it as far as I could and Wade ran and got the ball,” Davis said. “We knew when we came out we had to start rolling on offense and that play made us explode.”
Davis' pass hit Miller in stride for a 61-yard touchdown pass, which jump-started Eastside to a 21-0 win over Woodlan in the first round of sectionals Friday at Woodlan.
“At first it was kind of nerve wracking, first sectional game, pretty big game, but in the second half I calmed down,” Davis said. “Our line did great this game, everyone did great, our receivers ran great routes and allowed me to get the ball out.”
Davis and the Blazer offense looked out of sorts in the first half, but the defense kept them in it, much the way the season has gone for Todd Mason’s team. Woodlan’s first drive of the game lasted over 10 minutes of the first quarter, but Treyven McKinley and the big Blazer defensive line stuffed a fourth and goal attempt and the Warriors never got any closer to scoring.
“Our defense has been playing lights out all season, and I was not surprised by that goal line stand,” Mason said. “Our guys played some outstanding defense, and it was huge, and a big point in the game because I think it broke their will a little bit; it started us a little bit.”
The seams came undone for Woodlan (3-7) in the third quarter when Jacob Roemer fumbled and Eastside recovered. The Blazers missed a chip shot field goal but caught a break when Woodlan fumbled again the next possession.
Eastside turned that turnover into points when Davis hit Lane Burns on a third-and-long play to then set himself up for a quarterback keeper on the ensuing play.
Mason said he’s been impressed with his young quarterback.
“His ability to pull the ball down and create offense has been a real asset to him this year,” Mason said. “At times he’s struggled reading defenses, but he has matured. He’s got a cannon for an arm, and he’s going to be a great quarterback. I’m just glad he’s on the green team and not the other team.”
Burns intercepted Woodlan quarterback Ben Reidy in the fourth quarter and ran it back to the Woodlan 14-yard line, which set Ethan Farnsworth up for a 3-yard rushing touchdown with 9:32 to play in the game.
The Blazers held Reidy to 105 yards passing on 11 of 20 attempts.
Eastside, with hit eight wins for the first time since 2014, has earned a date with Bishop Luers next week.
“I'm so amazed, this is what I wanted," Davis said. "We knew we had work to do this season, and we knew we were young, but we knew that we had talent, too, so this is what we wanted.”