Prairie secures first playoff berth since 2011

first_img Tags Devante Clayton and Brody Schlaefli were at the head of Prairie’s postgame handshake line.Once the final opponent was greeted, they turned and bounded back toward Prairie’s sideline. Each leap sent them into the air, bumping shoulders a few times.There was a reason for their exuberance. For the first time since 2011, Prairie is headed to the playoffs.Prairie beat Evergreen 34-7 on Friday at McKenzie Stadium, wrapping up the last of three postseason berths from the 3A Greater St. Helens League. Next week, the Falcons will be on the road for a Week 10 regional playoff game against Lincoln of Tacoma. Share: (360) 735-4548 By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor Published: October 26, 2018, 10:06pm Share: Prairie secures first playoff berth since 2011 Falcons hold Evergreen to 215 yards in 34-7 win “I talked to a couple of them on the sideline and said ‘hard work pays off, doesn’t it?’” Peck said. “We had a lot of guys who put in that work for a long period of time and transformed their bodies. Because they transformed their bodies, their confidence went up.”That confidence came through Friday during a first half where Evergreen (3-6, 1-4) had enough offensive rhythm to be a threat, driving into Falcon territory four times.But Prairie snuffed out those drives by recovering two fumbles, forcing a turnover on downs and seeing the first-half clock run out after a sack by Trajveion Douglas.Leading 13-0 at halftime, Prairie put the game away with three touchdowns in the third quarter. Micah Rice Columbian Sports Editor By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Follow The Columbian on Instagram GOcenter_img @col_mrice After a four-game losing streak that saw the Falcons start league play 0-2, Prairie (5-4, 3-2) has won three straight.The last of those wins was Prairie’s best game yet.Clayton and quarterback AJ Dixson each rushed for two touchdowns as Prairie gained 311 yards on the ground. The Falcons held Evergreen to 215 yards of offense.“We played a complete football game,” Prairie coach Mike Peck said. “We’re peaking at the right time heading into the playoffs. It’s a great time to be a Prairie Falcon.”Dixson rushed for 131 yards on just 11 carries. His longest was a 41-yard touchdown, where a fake handoff to Clayton fooled Evergreen’s defense. Receive latest stories and local news in your email: A junior, Dixson moved from receiver to QB this season to lead first-year coach Peck’s offense. But before he even stepped on the field, Dixson felt this year would be different for a program that went 10-26 over the previous four seasons.“It all started in the offseason,” Dixson said. “We were all in the weight room, getting that team-bonding experience. We all knew this year was going to be different because we had a different mentality.”That’s why Peck didn’t panic during Prairie’s midseason losing streak, which included games against Mountain View and Black Hills, both ranked in the top five statewide.He believed his team had put in too much work and grown too much to have their season go off the rails. Prairie Falcons Follow Buy this Photo The Prairie football team celebrates after a 34-7 win over Evergreen on Friday at McKenzie Stadium, which clinched the program’s first playoff berth since 2011. (Micah Rice/The Columbian) Bret McGuire, taking a direct snap in a wildcat formation, capped Prairie’s first drive of the half with a four-yard touchdown. McGuire had nine carries from the wildcat for 72 yards.Dixson broke loose for his 41-yard touchdown run on Prairie’s next drive after the Falcons defense forced a three-and-out.Then, after a Zeke Dixson interception, Prairie put the game away with a 62-yard drive capped by Clayton’s 15-yard touchdown run.That sent Prairie on to victory, one capped by a postgame huddle that broke with a loud shout of “Playoffs.” “We all just have a lot of passion and love for the game,” Clayton said.PRAIRIE 34, EVERGREEN 7Prairie 0 13 21 0–34Evergreen 0 0 0 7–7Second quarterP – Devante Clayton 14 run (Taylor Lawhead kick)P – AJ Dixson 4 run (kick blocked)Third quarterP – Bret McGuire 4 run (kick failed)P – Dixson 41 run (Nolan Mickenham catch from Zackery Brown)P – Clayton 15 run (Lawhead kick)Fourth quarterE – Isaijah Griggs 10 yard pass from Ryan Blaize (Eli del Angel kick)INDIVIDUAL STATISTICSRUSHING – Prairie: Devante Clayton 9-72, AJ Dixson 11-131, Bret McGuire 12-71, Zack Wright 2-35, Zackery Brown 1-2. Evergreen; Eli Vaa-Leiataua 25-99, Ryan Blaize 4-(minus-19), Gideon Macabeo 1-12, Trent Hemann 1-3, Z’yell Griffin 3-1.PASSING – Prairie: AJ Dixson 11-19-1-102, Bret McGuire 0-1-0-0. Evergreen: Ryan Blaize 13-20-1-119.RECEIVING – Prairie: Nolan Mickenham 3-35, Bret McGuire 1-(minus-5), Ajay Nijjar 1-14, Bryce Cordon 1-6, Taylor Lawhead 2-34, Zeke Dixson 3-18. Evergreen: Gideon Macabeo 2-23, Luke Allen 3-31, Jaylenn Fite 1-10, Trent Hemann 1-10, Z’yell Griffin 4-35, Isaijah Griggs 1-10. micah.ric[email protected]last_img

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