KLAMATH FALLS — Phoenix trailed at halftime in Klamath Union’s homecoming game Friday night.
Then Javan Gail took things into his own hands.
The senior quarterback passed for four touchdowns — three in the second half — and ran for two others as the Pirates made the necessary adjustments that led to a 40-19 Skyline Conference football win over the Pelicans at Modoc Field.
With the victory, Phoenix (6-2, 4-1 Sky) shares the Skyline crown with three-time defending champion Mazama and Henley. It’s only the Pirates’ fourth conference title since 1993, and first since 2009. Phoenix will advance into the Class 4A state playoffs as the Skyline No. 2 seed.
“One of our goals was to win the Skyline Conference championship,” said Phoenix second-year coach Jered Gail. “It is great for our kids.”
Klamath Union led 13-7 at halftime.
Phoenix put together a sustained drive on its first possession of the second half that culminated with Gail’s 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down. With the two-point conversion pass from Gail to Chase Courtney, the Pirates took a 14-13 lead and never trailed again.
Gail hooked up with Courtney on two more third-quarter touchdown passes, and Phoenix had a 27-13 lead heading into the final period.
“We made some adjustments big-time at halftime,” said Jered Gail. “It was a matter of us settling in and finding a groove. Once we got our running game going a bit, it set up everything else.”
Javan Gail led the Pirates in rushing with 55 yards and was 16-for-28 passing for 242 yards.
“(Javan Gail) let things come to him,” said the Phoenix coach about his son. “Once we were able to protect, he was able to distribute the ball where it needed to go.”
Courtney finished with six catches for 130 yards and three TDs. Jonathan Halligan, a senior tight end, hauled in five receptions for 104 yards and one touchdown.
“Our offensive line did a great job of making the adjustments to take the game over in the second half,” said coach Gail. “Them doing the job up front was responsible for us getting our offense in gear.”
P — Courtney 14 pass from Gail (run failed)
KU — Holmes 95 kickoff return (Hammsly kick)
KU — Coleman 4 run (kick blocked)
P — Gail 1 run (Courtney pass from Gail)
P — Courtney 36 pass from Gail (Espana kick)
P — Courtney 5 pass from Gail (kick blocked)
P — Gail 10 run (Espana kick)
KU — Ysen 12 pass from Arvizu (pass failed)
P — Halligan 8 pass from Gail (Goff run)
GRANTS PASS 31, SOUTH EUGENE 0: At Grants Pass, Vince Washington ran 11 times for 97 times and a touchdown in his return from injury and Blain Hobbs passed for 209 yards and two TDs to lead Grants Pass in the Southwest Conference shutout.
Tayler Phillips had a 26-yard interception return for a score and a 10-yard TD hookup from Hobbs for the Cavemen (6-2, 4-1 SWC).
South Eugene (1-6, 0-5) was limited to 16 yards rushing and 57 yards overall.
CRATER 54, NORTH EUGENE 19: At Eugene, quarterback Trever Davis played a hand in four of Crater’s five third-quarter touchdowns in the Midwestern League contest.
Coming out of halftime tied 13-all, Davis ran for two touchdowns, caught a TD from Ethan Scott and threw another to Bailee Robles to give the Comets (5-3, 4-2 MWL) a 47-13 advantage.
Davis went 10-for-19 for 167 passing yards and carried eight times for 59 yards, while Cade Weaver ran 12 times for 67 yards and three TDs to go with two catches for 66 yards.
THURSTON 39, ASHLAND 14: At Eugene, Thurston quarterback Preston Fisher passed for 273 yards and four touchdowns and the Colts’ defense held Ashland in check in the Midwestern League game.
Ashland (2-6, 1-5) scored first when Rieger Sayre found Nathan Carter for a 33-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. Sayre completed 7 of 13 passes for 63 yards and rushed for 74 yards to lead the Grizzlies, who were held to 208 yards of total offense and 10 first downs.
Also for Ashland, Cade Swenson threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Ben Feinberg late in the third.
CHURCHILL 76, EAGLE POINT 26: At Eugene, Eagle Point’s Casey Zakowski hauled in touchdowns of 78 and 74 yards from Cameron Morgan, but Churchill scored six touchdowns in the first quarter to pull away early in the Midwestern League game.
Devin Bradd rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries for Eagle Point (3-5, 2-4 MWL), and Dante Lallo went for 82 yards on six attempts.
The undefeated Lancers (8-0, 6-0 MWL) piled up 525 yards of total offense.
ROGUE RIVER 74, RIDDLE 12: At Rogue River, quarterbacks Derek Nelson and Austin Gardner combined for seven touchdowns through the air and four rushing for Rogue River.
The Chieftains led 52-12 at halftime.
Nelson accounted for five TD passes thrown and had a 50-yard scoring run, while Gardner added two passing and three rushing scores.
Ethan Canoe was the leading receiver for the Chieftains (7-1) with three catches for 112 yards and three TDs.
Jacob Tambellini led the Rogue River ground attack with 14 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
CAMAS VALLEY 63, PROSPECT 8: At Prospect, Shane Lawler’s second-quarter, 70-yard touchdown run accounted for Prospect’s lone score in the District 2 game against third-ranked Camas Valley (7-1, 5-0 Dist. 2).
Prospect (0-6, 0-5) trailed 57-8 at halftime.
Lawler rushed for 138 yards for the Cougars, who totaled just over 200 on the ground.
Sophomore quarterback Michael Combs-Cripps passed for 115 yards and ran for 51.