Stop me if this sounds familiar.
A senior-laden Central Oregon team that relies on running the football and playing stout defense rolls into the state semifinals, matched against a high-octane Marist squad led by Kamerun Smith, a strong-arm quarterback who averages almost 30 pass attempts a game.
Hoping to take a page from Mountain View's storybook run from a year ago, undefeated Redmond High is one win from making its first state football finals appearance. Standing in the Panthers' way are the Spartans from Eugene, the same pass-happy program that Mountain View upset in last year's semifinal round en route to the 2011 state championship.
Redmond, which held Crescent Valley in check last Friday, topping the Raiders 14-6, will need a similar defensive effort against Marist. Crescent Valley quarterback Tanner Sanders, who passed for 2,226 yards and completed 57 percent of his passes this season, struggled mightily against the Panthers, completing just eight of 21 passes for 89 yards and no touchdowns and one game-changing interception.
The Redmond defensive line was arguably the game's MVP, consistently getting a pass rush on Sanders without many stunts or blitzes from the Panther linebackers. With Redmond's front four causing havoc all on their own, the Panthers were able to leave an extra defender back in the secondary to help shut down Sanders' air attack.
After the game, Sanders, a Division I college recruit, said Redmond's defensive line was the best he had seen this season, noting that the Raiders played in a league that advanced three teams to the state quarterfinal round.
Looking ahead, the Panthers' ball-control offense should help slow down a Marist team that averages 422 yards of offense per game, 218 of which comes through the air. Against Crescent Valley, Redmond physically and mentally broke down its opponent midway through the second half with a 13-play, 83-yard drive that took more than six minutes off the clock. The Marist offense can't score if it is not on the field.
Redmond and Marist kick off at 5 p.m. at Willamette University's McCulloch Stadium in Salem, the second of two 5A semifinal games. Silverton and Sherwood, who are both 11-0, open the post-Thanksgiving festivities at noon.