SHERWOOD - The Sherwood Bowmen football team (3-0, 2-0) entered its Sept. 17 game against the St. Helens Lions (1-2, 0-2) as the unanimous No. 1 team in the Oregon 5A ranks.
It's likely little will change when the next polls come out.
Sherwood's high-powered offense led the way to a 63-14 victory for the Bowmen, even without injured running back Steven Long. Long was an All-NWOC back as a sophomore in 2009.
"They're No. 1 for a reason," said St. Helens head coach John England. "We had trouble with their speed. They were pretty physical. We didn't really match up."
Despite the lopsided score, there were some bright moments for the Lions.
England said he was especially pleased with the performance of his senior quarterback, Andrew Paulson. Paulson rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, and completed 5-of-9 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown.
"Andrew Paulson had some nice runs, made some good decisions at quarterback," England said. "He had three passes dropped. He made one bad decision on the interception, but he was spot-on on his passing. If those (three) catches are made, he has 200 yards passing. He rushed for 80 yards, so that's a bright spot."
More than half of his passing yards came on a 75-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to senior tight end Sam Hatch.
England said Hatch beat his defender on a slide route and was then able to outrun him into the end zone.
"It was a nice pass by Andrew, a nice catch from Sam," England said.
As it turned out, the Bowmen simply had too much firepower. But the Lions did not give up.
"We kept going hard, we gave effort," England said.
That effort led to Paulson's touchdown run, a 19-yarder in the fourth quarter.
England said a pair of sophomores played great defense in just their third varsity football game, especially coming against such a high-caliber opponent.
"Andrew Gray and Dallas Thompson competed pretty well. That was a pretty big plus," he said.
Gray is a linebacker; Thompson is a safety. One of Thompson's backfield mates drew praise as well.
"(Junior) Jesse Wright played pretty well in the defensive backfield. He had some nice hits, good plays," England said.
The Lions will look to get back on track with a home game Sept. 24 against the Milwaukie Mustangs (1-2, 0-2).
"They're not No. 1 in the state. If we play well, we should be able to handle them I think," England said. "Athletically, they're not the same as Sherwood."
He said the Mustangs have gone back and forth with their offensive sets, running some I-formation with two tight ends early in the season, but more recently running a shotgun, spread offense.
England said he expects the latter, although he wouldn't be surprised with either.
"Who knows? They've shown a little bit of both. It indicates they're trying to find their own identity," he said.
The coach thinks his squad has a good offensive game plan to combat Milwaukie's 4-4 defense, and the Lions have a mostly clean bill of health heading into the game.
Junior running back Jerek Pense sprained an ankle against Sherwood. England said he's questionable.
"We're looking to move ahead now. This part of the schedule, we've got winnable games. We strive to get better every week - every day, actually," he said.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
ST. HELENS 7 0 0 7 14
SHERWOOD 28 14 14 7 63
Sher - Christian Morris 9 run (Kick failed)
Sher - Morris 22 pass from Jordan Ramp (Travis Dyer pass from Ramp)
Sher - Trent Duppenthaler 25 run (Chad Pollock kick)
SH - Sam Hatch 75 pass from Andrew Paulson (Eldon Ralls kick)
Sher - Chris Organiz 28 pass from Ramp (Pollock kick)
Sher - Duppenthaler 7 run (Pollock kick)
Sher - Josh Patterson 25 pass from Dusty Crabtree (Nate Montgomery kick)
Sher - Michael Balfour 21 run (Montgomery kick)
Sher - Justin Davis 14 pass from Crabtree (Montgomery kick)
SH - Paulson 19 run (Ralls kick)
Sher - Cody Setere 17 run (Pollock kick)
Passing: Paulson 5-9, 145-1-1; Thompson 0-1, 0-0-0
Rushing: Paulson 11-81, TD; Malnasi 9-50; J. Molden 1-1; Je. Pense 1-1; Thompson 1-0
Receiving: Malnasi 3-70; Hatch 1-75, TD; Preston 1-0