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...
North Medford junior Austin Schoenmann launched in the game-winning goal in overtime and South Medford's goal with just one second left in the extra session was waved off, giving the undefeated Black Tornado a wild 2-1 boys soccer victory over the Panthers at South Medford High on Saturday.
South's would-be equalizer in OT — knocked in by senior Greg Alegria as the final second rolled off the clock — was nullified after referees declared Alegria offsides on the play.
The Black Tornado (12-0-1, 8-0 SOH) celebrated its regular-season finale when it became apparent that it had prevailed.
"It was probably our most emotional game we've had," North Medford head coach Michael Belzberg said. "It was a roller coaster in every sense."
After a scoreless first half, Alegria netted a goal on an assist from Uriel Cordoba in the 50th minute for South Medford (10-3, 5-3).
Louis Michelon evened the match around the 70th minute when he cleaned up a free kick attempt by Leonardo Alonzo, who had received a yellow card earlier but insisted on staying in, Belzberg said.
"It was a game-changer," Belzberg said of Alonzo's shot. "He said, 'Coach, put me in.' I said, 'If you get a red you aren't playing in the playoffs. Can I trust you?' ... He goes out there and gets a free kick and we end up scoring on the rebound."
Schoenmann scored about four minutes into OT, taking a couple of dribbles and ripping a shot into the upper net from about 20 yards out.
Then came the last few seconds of the cross-town affair.
"From my standpoint I couldn't or shouldn't try to judge," South Medford head coach Dave Kaufman said of the offsides call. "It was ultimately the ref who made the decision.
"Our boys did a good job to put ourselves in that position and to have an opportunity to tie it."
Goalkeeper Jose Siordia made eight saves for North, which will next compete along with South in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Nov. 3 against opponents to be determined.
"(North) dug so deep and they played so hard," Belzberg said. "The words I asked them afterward were, 'What sums up the season?' Most of them said 'In awe,' disbelief in how well they have done. I said, 'You have surpassed all expectations of yourselves and I think you can do more.'"
GRANTS PASS 4, ROSEBURG 1 — At Roseburg, Grants Pass responded with four first-half goals after Roseburg took a 1-0 advantage two minutes into the game.
Sophomore striker Moges Dinkins registered a hat trick for the Cavemen and Brian Satterthwaite, a senior midfielder, had a goal and an assist.
Dinkins answered Roseburg's quick strike at the 51/2-minute mark off an assist from Brian Luther.
Then Grants Pass (9-4, 5-3 SOH), which tied South Medford for second in the SOH, scored three goals in a four-minute span beginning with Dinkins' second goal on a cross from Nick Kaminksky in the 27th minute.
Satterthwaite headed in a corner kick by Trenton Anderson one minute later, and Dinkins completed the scoring off a Satterthwaite assist.
Grants Pass senior goalie Kevin Luther registered two saves before injuring a shoulder with 15 minutes remaining. Ethan D'Amato finished in net for the Cavemen.
ASHLAND 11, CRATER 1 — At Ashland, Diego Harrison scored a hat trick and Andres Garcia and Stenley Graham added two goals each for Ashland in the nonconference victory.
The Grizzlies (6-6) led 6-0 at halftime over the winless Comets (0-13).
ROGUE RIVER 2, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 1 — At Rogue River, Shawn Donohue scored both goals for Rogue River in muddy conditions at the Field of Dreams.
Cascade Christian (3-9, 2-5 Dist. 2) scored the initial goal in the 15th minute when Travis Cave served a through ball to Allan Garcia, who deposited a shot from about 18 yards inside the near post.
Donohue tied the game 1-all with five minutes left before halftime. Donohue boomed in the game-winner from just outside the box into the upper corner of the net in the 58th minute.
Rogue River registered a 12-9 edge in shots.
Challenger senior goalkeeper Christian McPherson made some key saves and sophomore sweeper Nate Wayda did a good job clearing the ball from the Cascade defensive end.