Marist ready for clash with Sherwood in 5A Championship

EUGENE, Ore. -- There is just one player currently on the Marist roster that was on the team in 2009 when the Spartans won the State Title.

That player is Austin Baird, who is done for the year after getting hurt two weeks ago.

Despite losing arguably their best player, the Spartans made it to the 5A championship game, where they will face Sherwood this Saturday.

The Bowmen are the only team to beat Marist this season, a 38-20 game in week two of the season.

"No one is ready to play them early in the year," says Spartans head coach Frank Geske. "They have their spring football, then they go to Linfield Camp. They practice all summer long.

"We don't even do 7-on-7 in the summer. We lift and get the body ready, we're not football ready early on. We're ready now."

The Bowmen enter the game averaging more than 50 points a contest while going 12-0 this season, but Marist's biggest improvement this year comes on defense, according to Geske.

The Spartans have held five teams to under ten points this season, including a 40-8 victory over Redmond last week.

"Our level of progression and their (Sherwood) level of progression are not at the same rate," says Geske. "There's two different planes there. I think we're catching up."

The Spartans and Bowmen also met in the state title game two years ago, as Sherwood came away with 26-23 win in overtime.

"They like to come in and do their thing," says Marist quarterback Kamerun smith. "They just try to execute. Hopefully we can execute better."

The Bowmen and Spartans kick off at 7:30 from Hillsboro Stadium this Saturday.