The Dalles seniors did not want their season to end.
TD scored three times in the first nine minutes and never looked back in a 58-13 4A state play-in beatdown of Valley Catholic at Sid White Field Friday.
“Our sense of urgency to play at a high level was more than it has been in the past couple of weeks. We want it badly,” said TD’s Dalles Seufalemua. “It’s a big win, but there’s so much more that we want. We can’t lose sight of what the big prize is. We got to keep our heads down, stay focused on every team, every week, and stay hungry.”
As part of TD’s early onslaught, Seufalemua rumbled into the end zone from 13 yards out, and senior quarterback Gabe Helseth tallied touchdown passes of 43 and 64 to Okean Green to swell the lead up to 21-0 at the 3:06 mark of the first quarter.
Helseth then hit Zach Anderson with scoring strikes of 17 and 21.
Green added a nine-yard rush, Denver Neill plunged into the end zone from a yard out, and for good measure, Ben Schanno capped the dismantling with a 13-yard interception return.
“This is huge,” TD defender Jaxon Pullen said. “We knew coming in that we had already beaten them once, so we prepared even better and had a great week of practice and that steered the momentum into this win.”
The Riverhawk defense allowed 49 plays for 171 yards and limited Valley Catholic to 2 of 12 on third downs and one red zone trip.
Jesse Larson posted 6.5 tackles, Ben Nelson added six tackles, and both Hayden Pashek and Dusty Dodge logged five tackles each.
Green ended up with 3.5 tackles, Seufalemua notched 3.5 tackles and forced a fumble, Schanno had his interception, and Michael Armstrong recovered a fumble and recorded 2.5 tackles.
“The most impressive thing for us is how our defense allowed 13 points, because Valley Catholic is known for scoring a lot of points,” Armstrong said. “We came in knowing that they could not stop anything we could do. Our defense came out and showed up.”
Neill rushed for 71 yards on eight carries, Seufalemua tacked on 59 yards, Helseth ended up with 23 yards and Ian Preston tallied 19 yards on a pair of fourth-quarter rushing attempts.
Green went for 66 yards on six rushing tries and caught two balls for 107 yards. Anderson had 71 yards receiving on four catches, and Helseth completed 7 of 11 passes for 186 yards.
Up next, No. 10 TD (5-4 overall) heads to Klamath Falls to take on No. 7 Henley (7-1) at 6 p.m. Friday.
“All of us seniors know that these are the final times that we are going to ever put on the pads, so it is time to fly around, hit and play our physical style of football,” TD’s Mac Abbas said. “It feels pretty good to get this win. Hopefully, we can come out strong again and beat Henley and do the same thing we did tonight to them. Then we’ll turn our attention to the next one.”