Highlanders run past Lions on homecoming

Courtesy photo – Aaron Giffin Photography

Cottage Grove welcomed the North Eugene Highlanders for the season finale of Lions football. The Highlanders were looking to make a push for a state playoff birth and the Lions were looking to go out on a high note.

North Eugene prevailed over Cottage Grove earning a 42-14 win and a playoff spot. 

The first offensive drive for Cottage Grove saw some positive signs as Parker Nelson was able to get a first down on the ground near midfield. 

But the Highlander defense  forced a punt that would quickly turn into points for North Eugene as they returned the kick for a touchdown (7-0 North Eugene). The Highlander defense forced another Lions punt and North got the ball again at their own 37-yard-line. Quarterback Devon Anderson showed off his skills as a runner when he had two carries, both for 15 yards on the drive to set up a first down at the Lions 14-yard-line. 

The next play North Eugene ran a fly sweep to the right for their second score in the first quarter (14-0 North Eugene). 

North Eugene had two more long drives for scores in the second quarter. Anderson would find Cooper Olney for a 9-yard score (21-0 North Eugene). Then a Highlander stop on defense, North Eugene would get the ball back at their own 20 yard-line. Only needing a few plays, Anderson found Nolan Wyers for a 53-yard score pushing the North Eugene lead even more at the half (28-0 North Eugene). 

Coming out of halftime, North Eugene would move the ball down the field again for another score. Anderson found his receiver, Jack Lemley for a gain of 21.

Setting up a 36-yard score after a penalty was enforced on Cottage Grove. Nolan Wyers would get his second score of the night (35-0 North Eugene). The Lion’s offense was starting to string some positive plays together on their last possession of the third quarter. Haydn Peterson got a sweep running right then cut it up the middle for a gain of 27 yards down to the North Eugene 12-yard-line just before the quarter came to a close.

Jason Travis capped off the first score for the Lions running in the ball from 2-yards out (35-7 North Eugene). North Eugene would score one more time in the fourth quarter courtesy of a Cade Johannsen 34-yard pass to Demetrius Cartwright (42-7 North Eugene).

But the Lions would muster one more score on the season to finish on a positive note. Nelson would start the drive with a 24-yard scamper to the Lion’s 44-yard-line. Shortly followed by a nice 56-yard pass from Nelson to Brayden Crump before time expired (42-14 North Eugene). 

The Lions will have plenty to build on for next year as most of the core group of players will be returning after only losing seven seniors after this season. 

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