There are plenty of high-scoring teams across the country, but none may be more explosive relative to its surrounding division than Oregon's Lowell High School. In a season which has seen the Red Devils rack up an impressive 7-1 record, Lowell has surpassed 60 points in all but two games, yet one game stands out: An Oct. 8 matchup with Triangle Lake (Ore.) High, when the Class 1A, eight-man Red Devils scored an astounding 58 points in a single quarter.
That's right, one quarter, 58 points. The stats get even more amazing when you delve a little deeper. The Red Devils scored a touchdown on each of their first six offensive snaps. They added a touchdown on a punt return, an interception return and a fumble return. One player, senior running back Zac Cardwell -- number 51 in the photo above -- scored five touchdowns in the first quarter alone.
When all the dust from what had to feel like the longest football quarter in history for Triangle Lake fans, Lowell led 58-0, and Red Devils head coach Tim Pinson immediately put in both of the two varsity substitutes he was allowed in the first half. He also rotated all his starters to positions with which they weren't familiar. The result was a non-offensive time-killing result that was nearly as impressive as the team's offensive output, with Lowell scoring only six points after the opening period.
"It was a difficult situation for me," Pinson told Prep Rally. "We came out in the first quarter and just executed very well. The hard thing is I can't tell my players not to play hard.
"I'm the last guy to run up a score. I hate it as much as anyone, because I've been on the other end of it, and it's hard."
In a way, Pinson was boxed into a corner. Because Lowell had played a junior varsity game on Monday, Pinson wasn't allowed to play his jv squad until the second half. That meant he had to keep all of his starting eight players -- with the exception of his two varsity substitutes -- on the field for both the first and second quarters.
The Lowell coach also stressed that he wasn't intentionally calling plays to run up the score. Rather, he was sticking to his pre-planned script for the game's first 10 snaps. The first six of those, including one of only two passes Lowell threw all game, just happened to end in the end zone.
Still, the Red Devils adjusted as the score got out of hand, eventually moving away from their no-huddle, frantic option attack that usually puts opposing defenses on the wrong foot. Eventually Triangle Lake fans seemed to sense that Lowell was trying its best to keep the game's score reasonable, even if there were a couple of touchy moments towards the end of the first quarter.
"I got some calls about a punt that went for a TD at 50 to 0," Lowell athletic director Pat Todd told Prep Rally. "People were unhappy from both sides about that. Lowell is very good. Good kids as well as good football players."
While there were plenty of places to give credit during the Triangle Lake rout, Cardwell has repeatedly found himself in the spotlight for breaking through opposing defenses. The senior currently has 107 touchdowns in his varsity career, just four short of the Oregon state scoring record. If he keeps up his current pace of five touchdowns per game as a varsity player -- he matched that average in last Friday's win over McKenzie that clinched a league title -- Cardwell will break the record during the state playoffs.
The recent attention surrounding Cardwell's record push has helped the senior get some attention from smaller schools -- Western Oregon, Portland State and Cornell are all recruiting the running back -- but he thinks football might only be his second-best sport. Cardwell has already won three state wrestling titles, and the sport runs in the family bloodline, with his older brother Caleb currently competing as a sophomore at Oregon State.
If this is Cardwell's final football push, he's making sure his name sticks in state football folklore. His coach insists that would happen no matter where he played.
"He would start at any high school in the state," Pinson told Portland TV station KATU. "He's 6-feet, 1-inch, 190 pounds and he's solid. He's not a 'breakaway speed guy,' but I don't care who you are. He will run over you."
Of course, against Triangle Lake, Cardwell was hardly the only person who ran over an opposing defense, as fans of both teams aren't likely to forget anytime soon.
- Lowell High School