Forced out as the head football coach at Eagle Point High in January, Jacob Schauffler wasn't sure what direction he would go in the early aftermath...
St. Mary's coach Jamie Young believes his team is headed in the right direction. He probably wouldn't have a hard time convincing Neah-Kah-Nie.
In a dramatic reversal of fortune from a year ago, the Crusaders rushed for 252 yards and took a 40-0 halftime lead en route to a 50-16 blowout win over Neah-Kah-Nie on Saturday at Speigelberg Stadium.
Neah-Kah-Nie routed St. Mary's 40-0 last season.
St. Mary's running back Dan Seus rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard breakaway on the first play from scrimmage, and Anthony Bonsi and Glenn Alvarez combined for another 106 yards rushing as the Crusaders dominated the line of scrimmage to remain undefeated through three games.
"I think we've gotten to the point where we think that we can compete with everyone on our schedule," said Young, whose team competes as an independent. "Starting off with beating what would be a league opponent in Rogue River, we honestly have just kind of been taking it one game at a time. We're a team that's really struggled over the years, so we want to make sure we're taking the right steps to move forward to become the best football team we can be."
After Seus' big start, the Crusaders added a 4-yard run by Seus, a 49-yard run by Alvarez, a 1-yard blast by Bonsi and a 22-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Denten Edwards to Sam Hough to go up 33-0 in the second quarter.
Calvin Roberts' 11-yard run completed the first-half scoring, as St. Mary's single-wing offense put on an exhibition for the first 24 minutes before turning the game over to the backups for the second half.
"I think the key is, we have an offensive line that's been great — they communicate well together and they work hard," Young said. "And we also have multiple backs that can do something with the football. It truly is a team offense."
Also for St. Mary's, Jacob Smith returned a kickoff 72 yards for a touchdown to complete the scoring.
Neah-Kah-Nie (1-1) rushed for 131 yards, but all but 12 came in the second half. Quarterback Tanner Repass completed 3 of 14 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Neah-Kah-Nie 0 0 8 8 — 16
St. Mary's 19 21 3 7 — 50
SM — Seus 75 run (kick failed)
SM — Seus 4 run (VanValkenberg kick)
SM — Alvarez 49 run (kick failed)
SM — Bonsi 1 run (VanValkenberg kick)
SM — Hough 22 pass from Edwards (VanValkenberg kick)
SM — Roberts 11 run (VanValkenberg kick)
SM — FG Hough 27
SM — Smith 72 kickoff return (VanValkenberg kick)
ROSEBURG CLASSIC — At Roseburg, South Medford, North Medford and Cascade Christian each advanced to the eight-team championship bracket before losing in the quarterfinal round as Roseburg captured its own tournament trophy with a straight-set win over Sprague.
Marshfield knocked South Medford out of title contention with a 25-13, 20-25, 15-4 victory in the quarterfinals. Brittany Cox had 11 digs and five kills and Claire Sporer 15 digs, four kills and two aces to lead the Panthers.
Earlier in the day, South beat North Medford in a seeding match, 25-22, 27-25. In that win, South's Cox had 10 kills and nine digs, Liz DeVaughn 25 assists and seven digs and Sporer seven digs, five kills and an ace.
North Medford fell to Roseburg 25-11, 25-8 in the quarterfinals, while Cascade Christian lost a thriller to Santiam Christian, 21-25, 25-16, 15-11.
Eagle Point (2-3) did not qualify for the championship bracket and lost two three-set consolation matches — North Bend beat the Eagles 18-25, 25-18, 15-7 and Grants Pass downed EP 25-15, 19-25, 15-12. In the loss to Grants Pass, the Eagles' Hannah Morris had five kills and four assists, and McKenzee Parker and Taylor Bidwell had six kills apiece. Against North Bend, Parker had six assists and Kinsey Bradshaw five blocks.
Roseburg beat Sprague in the championship match 25-21, 25-18.
PROSPECT 3, TRINITY LUTHERAN 1 — At Bend, Taylor Reynolds had seven blocks and three aces and Lakota Sizemore added nine blocks to power Prospect to the road victory, 25-15, 25-16, 22-25, 25-9.
Chloe Zelnar added seven kills, Heather Lass had 20 assists and Haylee VanWormer notched 36 digs for the Cougars (6-0).
NEWBERG TOURNAMENT — At Newberg, Sadie Kasiah scored 13 goals as Ashland won a pair of games in the Newberg Tournament, beating Lincoln 10-8 and Parkrose 17-8 to take fifth place.
Kasiah had seven goals and four steals in the first game, while Sabrina Scoggins had two goals and two assists and goalie Kaya Boehm five saves.
In the second game, which raised the Grizzlies' record to 3-2, Kasiah had six goals, five assists and three steals. Scoggins contributed three goals, Ada Lawson two goals and two assists and Emma Frantz two goals.
Boehm, with four saves, and Lili Wurfl, with three, split time in goal.
PREFONTAINE MEMORIAL — At Coos Bay, Brooklyn Gillespie led St. Mary's to third place in the Prefontaine Memorial 5K race.
Gillespie's time was 22 minutes, 17 seconds. She finished seven seconds ahead of teammate Gianna Isola.
Complete results were unavailable as of press time.
ST. MARY'S — Brooklyn Gillespie 22:17, Taylor Kreul 22:24, Gianna Isola 23:03, Annelise Delgado 23:05, Olivia Minor 23:07.