The last time Jack Singler faced the Beaverton Beavers, things didn't exactly go his way.

The last time Jack Singler faced the Beaverton Beavers, things didn't exactly go his way.

When the Metro League squad comes to town tonight, the South Medford senior quarterback has high hopes it will be a different story this time around.

Stoking that optimism is the fact that Singler is a different player from then to now, and he likely has the Beavers to thank for that.

In only his second game as a varsity starter, Singler threw five interceptions against Beaverton — two off tipped balls and another when a receiver ran the wrong route — during a game that got away from the Panthers for a 31-14 loss.

Few things spark the learning curve more than having to deal with adversity, and that's exactly what kicked off the maturation process for Singler, who's had only seven interceptions ever since that game. In last week's season-opening 55-20 win at South Salem, Singler was a crisp 20-for-28 passing for 342 yards and five touchdowns.

"Last year there were a couple bad decisions and it really hurt our team in turnovers," said Singler. "I think I learned if I'm smart and can make the right reads, then we're going to have a good team and play tough. We had a really good week last week and a lot has to do with my decision making."

He'll be put to the test again by a senior-laden Beavers team that runs an unconventional 3-5-3 scheme, but Singler said there is comfort in the support he brings with him to the field.

"I'm so excited for this game just to show them that last year that wasn't Jack Singler," he said, "but mostly because I've got a great group of teammates out here that are going to help me through everything. Just being with them is going to calm me down. I'm just excited to go out and play with them."

In other Class 6A nonconference action tonight, Crater plays host to McMinnville in its season opener, North Medford is at Class 5A Mountain View and Grants Pass is home against Redmond. Ashland and Eagle Point are home again and face Marist and Churchill, respectively, in Midwestern League play.

South Medford's poise and confidence to open the season against the Saxons echoed the standard set by senior receiver/defensive back Matt Retzlaff, who did it all on the road for the Panthers (1-0).

Retzlaff amassed 309 yards of total offense, scoring on an 80-yard punt return and also hauling in five passes for 129 yards and two TDs to highlight his outing. He also had two interceptions to help pace the defensive effort.

"I haven't seen a kid in our program do that," said Panthers head coach Bill Singler. "That's one of the greatest games all-around I've ever seen by one player ... ever. That was definitely a workhorse effort but Matt's prepared himself to have a great senior year and he got us off to a great start in that game last week."

Retzlaff's impact was great, but he was also one of many prime performers getting off to a good start last Friday. Senior tailback Denzel Mobley rushed 29 times for 174 yards and two TDs and caught four passes for 63 yards, junior receiver Adrian Garcia hauled in nine passes for 127 yards and one score and sophomore tailback Christian Bowley averaged 13.5 yards per carry. Pat Alexander and Max Farthing also caught TD passes.

"We have a lot more athletes and are quicker this year," said the younger Singler. "If you focus on one, then we have another. And if you focus on that one then we have another after that. We have a bunch of athletes that are going out there to play."

In all, the Panthers amassed 570 yards of offense against South Salem.

"We have the kind of skill now where we need to spread the ball around," the coach said of his team's balanced effort. "We have kids that can make plays. Our best football teams have been when we spread the ball around to the receivers, to the running backs, wildcat, all that kinda stuff. Right now we've got a lot of things that we can go to, it's just a matter of where we're going to settle in against Beaverton."

The Beavers (1-0) offer up a lot of stunting and movement by their five linebackers, often crowding the box but also showing the ability to drop back to clog passing lanes. Beaverton returns last year's Metro League defensive player of the year in noseguard Peter Tafea, three-year starting defensive back Ershad Mahmood, linebacker Justin Barker and defensive end Evan Colorito.

"It's going to be harder for us to do (what we did against South Salem) because this team presents different challenges," said coach Singler. "They're a very senior-laden team and experienced with 29 seniors on the team. They're a little underrated because of being lost in the shuffle with Aloha and Jesuit and Westview in that league, but they're a very good football team."

The Beavers posted a shutout in beating Glencoe 26-0 during last week's opener and displayed a potent option offense guided by returning senior quarterback Ben Cunha, who ran all over the field against the Crimson Tide. A key will be in maintaining assignments and not getting sucked in by the run too much because Cunha has some quality targets in tight end Colorito and senior receiver Randy Salsedo.

"It's going to test our mental capabilities," coach Singler said of slowing the option attack.

NORTH MEDFORD AT MOUNTAIN VIEW — Little went right for North Medford last Friday in a 64-14 loss to Lakeridge, and the Black Tornado faces another stiff test tonight in a Mountain View team that humbled them at home last season and is one of the top 5A programs again this year.

Steve Turner's Cougars return about half of their starters on each side of the ball, led by linebacker/running back Joel Skotte, who recently gave a verbal commitment to Oregon State, and twins Jacob (quarterback) and Cody Hollister (receiver). Jacob Hollister was 9-of-13 passing for 117 yards and two TDs and Cody Hollister hauled in eight passes for 84 yards and one score.

Mountain View's Kyle Ayers returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a TD during last week's 56-6 win at Eagle Point and the Cougars also returned a punt for a score, a subject of concern for the Black Tornado since it allowed three special teams TDs by the Pacers.

Mountain View also was able to limit the Eagles to 86 yards of total offense.

North senior quarterback Zach Tanner provided a bright spot for his team by completing 21 of 36 passes for 232 yards and also rushed for a team-best 89 yards. Tanner was able to spread the ball around to a bevy of receivers, with Darren Cossette, Trey Garfas, Mario Saldana and Jordan Browne-Moore each catching at least three passes.

MCMINNVILLE AT CRATER — No player on the Crater roster is likely more excited to see McMinnville come to town than Cole Berriochoa, who scored touchdowns by way of an interception and a blocked punt return against the Grizzlies in last year's 33-21 victory.

Berriochoa was back at his old tricks during last week's 55-15 drubbing of McNary, hauling in two TD passes from Chase Mackey and finishing with 93 yards receiving to help pace the Comets.

Crater head coach John Beck said prior to the season that tailback Ty Wolf was up for a breakout season and he certainly didn't disappoint, rushing 11 times for 131 yards and one TD before sitting out the bulk of the fourth quarter. As a team, the Comets rushed for 321 yards and amassed 573 yards of total offense, spearheaded by junior quarterback Mackey, who was an efficient 12-for-21 passing for 212 yards.

McMinnville took a 28-0 halftime lead over McKay last week en route to a 35-13 victory, with running back Spencer Payne carrying the load by scoring five times and rolling up 318 yards rushing on 18 carries.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488,, or