The official start of fall football camp may still be weeks away but a few local high school teams made major strides toward the season recently at the Gold Beach Football Team Camp.

The official start of fall football camp may still be weeks away but a few local high school teams made major strides toward the season recently at the Gold Beach Football Team Camp.

North Medford attended the third of three week-long camps, which ended last Wednesday at Gold Beach High School, and South Medford joined a host of talented teams in the second camp.

Both left with significant hardware.

North Medford, in its first Gold Beach camp appearance, won the 7-on-7 passing competition, reached but lost the finals of the linemen challenge and were chosen to play in Wednesday night's "Best on the Beach" — a showcase scrimmage between two squads selected by attending team coaches.

The Black Tornado, which finished 3-6 last season, faced Sequim High School (Wash.) in the final scrimmage. Though North didn't score in the running clock, 25-minute game that featured Oregon School Activities Association officials, Black Tornado coach Jeff Olson liked what he saw.

"We played very well against them," Olson said. "They were much bigger than us, but we played very well. I'm really pleased with our performance over there. We came away feeling a lot better about ourselves."

North Medford players Mark Dickison, Kody Bonham, Brock Heaton and Kade Peden also earned individual honors.

Dickison, a starting defensive end last season, won the pro agility competition — a test of speed, change of direction and quickness — in the lineman challenge, and Bonham won the endurance portion of the weightlifting competition by bench pressing 185 pounds 13 times. Bonham will play slot receiver, linebacker and defensive end this season.

"He had an excellent camp," Olson said of Bonham.

Wide receiver/defensive back Brock Heaton and linebacker Kade Peden were North's representatives on the all-camp team.

"We've struggled the last two years because of a variety of things," Olson said. "This (camp) has helped tremendously. It was huge for the program and getting back on track. The kids came back with a much better feeling than when we left."

South Medford, which has been to the camp in the past and reached the second round of the Class 6A playoffs last season, won the lineman challenge and the 7-on-7 competition among teams that included Meridian, the defending Idaho 5A state champion.

"Our goal was not to go over there to win," South coach Bill Singler said. "We wanted to get better as a football team. It was neat. We competed against some pretty good schools. We're excited with how the kids competed.

"This is one of the best camps that's available all up and down the West Coast. There are teams from San Diego, Canada, Idaho, Montana ... it's very well received."

Mitch Singler and Cameron Kynard earned mention on the all-camp team for South.

Reach sports reporter Luke Andrews at 776-4469, or e-mail landrews@mailtribune.com