Central Catholic Church demolishes Tualatin 44-14 in Class 6A football championship match


After two long years of waiting for another opportunity, Central Catholic reached their goal of rehearsing as OSAA 6A football champions on Saturday. The Rams finished a historic 14-0 season, capped off with a 44-14 beating against Tualatin in the title game at Hillsboro Stadium.

“We got into practice a long time ago, did our camps and everything, and we were just working and building the chemistry,” said junior tight end Riley Williams, smiling broadly. “The result is right here.”

In 2021, Central Catholic was built differently, as the colloquialism goes.

The size, speed, athleticism and IQ of football kept the Rams apart from the field all season, and those characteristics made another championship inevitable. With the exception of a competitive seven-point victory over rival Jesuit in the semifinals, the Rams won their playoff games by 49, 31, 42 and 30 points.

It is historic domination, carried by a stable of high octane athletes.

One of those athletes is senior linebacker Emar’rion Winston, a University of Oregon entry, who started the scoring Saturday with a 60-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in the first quarter.

“Emar’rion, this guy is him,” Williams said, shaking his head in disbelief. “He’s a beast, for real. He’s going to go to Oregon, do his job, and hopefully come out on the ground and kill him like he’s doing right now.

It was 7-0 for the Rams in a quarterback as both defenses held up the serve.

Tualatin played closely with Central Catholic for much of the first half, at one point tying the game 7-7 on a 15-yard touchdown from senior Malik Ross. But after Rams senior running back Ellis Bynum scored on a 13-yard run, the game swung on its axis in favor of Central Catholic.

In the first play of the drive that followed, the Rams forced a fumble from Tualatin and second-year defensive back Timmy Mitchell returned him for a 20-yard touchdown. That’s 21-7.

As the final minutes of half-time rolled by, Tualatin netted another score on a 13-yard catch by senior broad Peter Burke to close the lead to 21-14. The Timberwolves didn’t put another point on the board, however, as Central Catholic stayed the course.

“We’ve been in the locker room (at halftime), and some teams are going to come in and they are going to scream and they are going to scream and they are going to swear and they are going to fight,” said Winston. “When we walked in we all smiled at each other and said, we’ve been through that first half being a state championship football game, everyone nervous, let’s play central Catholic football now. When we all did that… 11 guys turned out to be doing everything right.

Calm half-time demeanor led to a second-half shutout, in which the Rams demonstrated their athletic dominance.

Bynum scored his second touchdown early in the third quarter on a 29-yard run from the sideline. Senior kicker Asher Wajskol showed off his big leg with a 49-yard field goal that bounced off the crossbar and inside. The massive six-foot-seven Williams, who is the highest-ranked junior in the state of Oregon and a four-star recruit according to 247Sports, scored on a 53-yard catch and run.

At three, it was 37-14 Aries. They then added another touchdown on a four-yard run from senior Jacob Hardeman to take the game to its final score of 44-14.

Second-year quarterback Cru Newman, 2021 Mt. Hood conference offensive player of the year, finished the game after completing 12 of 24 passes for 243 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also carried the ball 11 times for 116 yards.

Bynum had 13 carries for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Williams finished with four catches for 140 yards and one touchdown while Jordan Kind had three catches for 60 yards and one interception on defense.

Tualatin’s Malik Ross, who’s been electric throughout the playoffs, still finished Saturday’s game with 177 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries. Tualatin quarterback Jackson Jones completed 16 of 36 passes for 101 yards and one touchdown and one interception.

As the clock ticked to zero, the Catholic players in the center assaulted their comrades on the sidelines and jumped for joy. Soon after, they hoisted the 6A Championship trophy for the second time on as many occasions.

The Rams now have six football championships in their trophy case: 1952, 1953, 2013, 2014, 2019 and 2021. With plenty of key returns from both sides of the ball, a hat-trick is not out of the question.

The race for a title in 2021, Winston said, began in the spring.

“This has all been forged over this six-game COVID season,” Winston said. “We had a few seniors but the majority of our team came back, and at that point we felt each other and saw how we were playing football, seeing where our weaknesses were compared to our strengths. From there our bonds grew stronger and the summer we came back to it was like we were playing football with our lifelong friends or our brothers, if you will.

And now, for life, these rams can also be called state champions. Some of them twice.

– Ryan Clarke, [email protected]

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