Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
KEIZER — The McNary Celtics scored a pair of touchdowns in fourth quarter and held off a late charge by the visiting North Medford Black Tornado to post a 20-13 season-opening win Friday.
Celtics senior running back Brett Hildebrand rushed for 219 yards and two scores.
"We had our chances," said North Medford second-year coach Mike Mitchell. "We're disappointed but there were a lot of positives."
North Medford junior quarterback Troy Fowler passed for one touchdown and 184 yards. Fowler completed 16 passes on 27 attempts and had two interceptions.
"Troy played pretty well," said Mitchell. "He stayed in the pocket and our line did a decent job overall on offense."
McNary's Tanner Walker set up the Celtics first score with a 54-yard punt return to the North Medford 18.
On the next play, Hildebrand took a handoff and broke two tackles on his way to the end zone for a 7-0 first quarter McNary lead.
North Medford responded on its next drive to tie the score as Fowler found Jared Evans on a crossing pattern for a 7-yard touchdown with 20 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The Celtics had a chance to take the lead in the second quarter with a first-and-goal at the North Medford 9 but failed to convert.
Quarterback Hayden Gosling was sacked for a 7-yard loss and a false start penalty forced an eventual 21-yard field goal attempt that sailed just wide of the left goal post.
The teams went to halftime tied 7-7 as McNary's Andrew Lawrence picked off a pass at the Black Tornado 40 with less than a minute remaining in the second quarter.
Hildebrand broke a 7-7 tie on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 19-yard touchdown run, his second rushing score of the night.
North Medford responded on its next drive with a 5-yard rushing touchdown by Nick Janakes to pull the Black Tornado to within 14-13. But Celtics senior defensive lineman Bruce Isabell was credited with blocking the potential game-tying extra point.
Hildebrand made North Medford pay for the error by rumbling 67 yards on the Celtics' next possession to the Black Tornado 12, and Gosling connected with Garrett Hittner to put McNary up 20-13.
Gosling didn't play the first quarter but finished the game 7 of 12 passing for 71 yards and the touchdown pass.
Janakes paced North's rushing attack with 97 yards on 18 carries. Evans was the leading receiver with five catches for 72 yards.
The Black Tornado finished with 14 first downs and 286 yards in offense, while 220 of McNary's 294 yards in offense came on the ground.
"It was one of those dogfight games," said Mitchell. "There was no lack of effort on our part. I liked the way our kids competed."
North Medford 7 0 0 6 — 13
McNary 7 0 0 13 — 20
McN — Hildebrand 18 run (McCowan kick)
NM — Evans 8 pass from Fowler (Chachere kick)
McN — Hildebrand 19 run (McCowan kick)
NM — Janakes 5 run (kick blocked)
McN — Hittner10 pass from Hildebrand (kick failed)
TUALATIN 35, CRATER 32 — At Central Point, quarterback Ty Fox had a spectacular performance but the Comets were done in by six turnovers and 130 yards in penalties at Dutch Meyer Field.
Fox passed for 362 yards and four touchdowns. The Comet senior was 25 of 43 passing but had four interceptions. Additionally, the speedy Fox accounted 90 yards on returns.
Crater jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead on a pair of touchdown passes from Fox to Kory Bennett, who had 10 catches for 185 yards.
Tualatin scored 21 unanswered points in the second period before the Comets mounted a three-play drive capped by a Fox 49-yard TD pass to Dylan Morgan with 20 seconds left in the first half.
A key play in the game was a Garrison Saina's 30-yard interception return for a touchdown on the first snap of the fourth quarter that put the Timberwolves ahead 35-20.
Bennett caught his third touchdown of the game from Fox — a 12 yarder — with a little less than two minutes to play to pull Crater to within three points.
The Comets got the ball back one more time but Bennett fumbled after making a reception in Tualatin territory.
CLACKAMAS 42, GRANTS PASS 23 — At Clackamas, Dan Sherrell scored three short touchdowns and Cade Wilkins passed for two scores to spark Clackamas.
Grants Pass cut the Cavalier lead to 14-10 with 6:46 remaining before halftime on Javan Appling's 16-yard run. But Wilkins found Keegan Daley for a 13-yard TD pass with just six seconds left before intermission to stymie the Cavemen's momentum.
The Cavaliers took a commanding 35-10 lead early in the fourth quarter on Sherrell's 1-yard run.
Grants Pass 3 7 0 13 — 23
Clackamas 7 14 7 14 — 42
GP — FG Dinkins 30
C — Sherrell 2 run (McDonald kick)
C — Hudson 18 run (McDonald kick)
GP — Appling 16 run (Dinkins kick)
C — Daley 13 pass from Wilkins (McDonald kick)
C — Sherrell 2 run (McDonald kick)
C — Sherrell 1 run (McDonald kick)
GP — Meadows 30 pass from Glaeser (Dinkins kick)
C — Krska 74 pass from Wilkins (McDonald kick)
GP — Bents 3 run (kick failed)
MAZAMA 38, EAGLE POINT 35 — At Klamath Falls, Class 4A Mazama used a 20-point surge in the fourth quarter to overtake 5A Eagle Point and overshadow a marvelous performance by senior quarterback Jorge Quintero in the nonleague season opener.
Quintero completed 20 of 35 passes for 319 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions.
Jonathan Munoz, who rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, put the Vikings ahead for good on a 45-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
Joey Lancaster's 56-run touchdown sprint gave Mazama a 32-21 lead before Quintero connected with Lucas Morris on a 31-yard TD strike.
Munoz answered with a 39-yard touchdown, and Quintero then found Carlos Flores for a 51-yard scoring strike to complete the scoring.
Mazama finished with 364 rushing yards.
Peyton Dole had 109 receiving yards and two touchdowns catches (16 and 28 yards), Morris made seven catches for 108 yards and Flores hauled in four catches for 86 yards.
Seth Arena carried the ball 13 times for 62 yards for Eagle Point, which committed 10 penalties for 100 yards.