Banks – For the first time in the school’s 98-year history, the Banks Braves football team won the Oregon state championship at Hillsboro Stadium.
The Braves outplayed their league rivals, the Seaside Seagulls, 31-20 in the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) 4A final.
Banks Athletic Director Ben Buchanan told the Banks Post that the Braves’ win is especially remarkable, considering the school plays in the 4A division with much larger schools.
“Banks is the smallest 4A school in the state,” Buchanan said. “When you’re up against schools that are sometimes three times larger than you, it’s difficult because they have a bigger pool of athletes and more depth. Winning the championship tells you a little bit about the quality of athletes we had this year, and really for the last 15 years. That we can compete with the big boys for this long says a lot about the kids, the coaches, and the community.”
Banks High School’s football team first took the field in 1931, and appeared in just two championships since then — 1949 and 2008.
Braves Head Coach Cole Linehan, who graduated from Banks High School in 2004, himself a notable defensive end in his era, said one reason the Braves won the championship this year is because there was “pure buy-in” from the team.
“From the very get-go I never heard a kid complain about the work we put in, and I never heard any of the kids question what we were doing because they all believed,” Linehan said. “That is something I will always remember.”
The end of the first half saw two remarkable plays in a row — a span of about 15 seconds. Seaside star running back Alexander Teubner, who ran for 2,217 yards this season, scored his second touchdown of the game, giving Seaside a 14-7 lead. But the Braves answered on the ensuing kickoff, with Markham catching the football before handing it off to Banks junior Jarred Evans, who ran 80 yards to tie the game before heading into halftime.
“I went into (the locker room) and told them we didn’t play a great first half and they played well, yet it’s tied,” Linehan said. “We had to make a few adjustments. It was a complete team win.”
OSAA noted on its website that Banks senior quarterback Hayden Vandehey threw two touchdowns, one each to Braves top receivers Blake Gobel and Blake Markham — Markham also ran for 110 yards and scored a second touchdown on the ground.
Linehan said he has been contacted by college recruiters who are interested in Braves players.
“All the kids would do a great job playing football at the next level,” he said. “It’s unbelievable we accomplished something that hasn’t been done yet. It was everybody. I’m so proud of these kids and my coaching staff. Everyone is so deserving of this, and also the community always has our back. They always filled up the stands for us, so to have the chance to finally bring home a title after 98 years is special.
Scroll down to see more photos by Angela Scorcio.