ADAIR VILLAGE — A halftime extended by five minutes for homecoming ceremonies gave the Santiam Christian football team ample time to make second-half adjustments.
The added prep time did not go to waste.
The Eagles (6-2, 3-1) regrouped offensively and stiffened defensively in the final two quarters of a 48-27 rout of Amity in a West Valley League game at SC. They erupted for 28 unanswered points in a 15-minute span to clinch second place in the WVL with their second win in a row.
Luke Janssen ran for three touchdowns on playoffs covering 24, 3 and 1 yards and Hunter Fields added scoring runs of 4 and 3 yards for SC. Quarterback Grant Carley had a 28-yard TD pass to Vandon Haugen and Zach Watson a 58-yard scoring run as SC erased a 21-13 second-quarter deficit by striking for 35 unanswered points.
“We had a few first-half mistakes and Amity made us pay for them,” SC coach Matt Bain said. “But at the end of the day, we had some kids who are starting to develop some leadership.
“We got better as the game went on. What we had to do was get a few guys to understand the stuff we worked on all week, and to start implementing it.
“They still hurt us with a couple plays, but we tightened up and the kids made some plays.”
Ivan Gilder had two interceptions, Conrad Carter one and Jaxon Connor blocked a punt, leading to 14 SC points. The Eagles did not have a turnover in the second half and scored on five of their final seven possessions.
SC jumped ahead 13-0 before Amity (6-2, 2-2) responded with 21 consecutive points in the second quarter. The final seven came on a 58-yard interception return with 2:54 left in the half that could have sent the Eagles into a tailspin.
Instead, they marched 45 yards in five plays and scored on Fields’ 4-yard run with 1:27 remaining to trim the halftime deficit to 21-20, setting the stage for their third-quarter explosion.
Fields scored again on SC’s first second-half drive for a 27-21 lead. A blocked punt by Connor set up Carley’s perfectly-throw TD pass to Haugen for a 34-21 lead with 5:22 left. Carter then intercepted a pass on Amity’s first play of the ensuing possession and Janssen scored from 24 yards out three plays later for an insurmountable 41-21 margin.
“We kept pushing ourselves and knew if we kept executing the small things it would come together and we’d make big plays,” said Carley, who was 9 of 15 for 158 yards and one TD.
“The guys on the line and the guys around me helped me keep my head up and keep pushing through it” after throwing the pick-6. “They kept my head in it and I’m thankful for them.”
Janssen gained 93 yards on 13 carries, Watson 67 on three attempts and Fields 43 on 10. SC totaled 210 yards on 34 carries, a 6.2-yard average.
“The line did a great job,” Carley said. “They pushed each other all week, just kept getting better and better and it definitely showed today. The backs can run, but without the line they can’t do anything and they played well tonight.”
Noah Hubele’s 49-yard run set up SC’s final score, Janssen’s third touchdown of the night. That made it 48-21 with 9:12 to play, more than enough to offset a late Amity TD.
The Eagles conclude the regular season next Friday with a nonleague game at Washougal, Washington. They will start the 3A playoffs the following week.
“We need to get better and better, and that’s what we’ve been doing,” Bain said. “We stumbled for a while,” in successive losses to Dayton and Cascade Christian, “but these last two weeks we’re starting to get our legs back again.”