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North aims to cut down mistakes, Panthers

North Medford High senior lineman Josh Hartley says the Black Tornado's22-19 loss to rival South Medford in 1996 was the most humiliating experienceof his football career.

Hartley, a three-year starting offensive guard and defensive end forNorth Medford, hopes to help the Black Tornado atone for that loss tonight.

North Medford (1-2) meets South Medford (0-3) in the 12th edition ofthe Black And Blue Game at Spiegelberg Stadium. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Hartley and his energized friends and teammates from North say they willhave revenge on their minds in Medford's Civil War prep football game.

It's been hard to get over that loss because everywhere I go aroundtown, I have to hear about it, says Hartley. I'm sick of it.

I'm glad this game is this week, says Hartley. Hopefully,we can go out and take it to them. We owe them.

Hartley says not only did South beat North last season, but the Panthersplayers banged on their dressing room door as they returned to their lockerroom across the tunnel after the win.

That's rubbing it in, as far as I'm concerned, says Hartley.I haven't forgotten that. It made me mad, but there wasn't anythingI could do.

Until now.

I'd like us to beat them pretty bad, but it seems like it's neverthat way in this game, says Hartley. It's always a close game.There's a lot of hitting going on and it's very emotional out there.

It doesn't seem to matter what the records of the two teams arein this game. It's not like any other game because it's the Civil War. Theemotions of the teams seem to change everything about this game.

We all have friends on South's team. But those friendships go awayfor 60 minutes.

Hartley, a 6-1, 210-pounder, was a second-team Southern Oregon Conferenceall-star as an offensive lineman in 1995 and '96.

He's our best offensive linemen, says North Medford coachRod Rumrey. He has made second team all-conference the last two years,but second team isn't good enough for him now. His goal is to be a first-teamer,and he's playing like one so far.

North Medford's physical offensive line may have an advantage over SouthMedford's small, inexperienced defense, according to Rumrey.

This is the best offensive line I've been in, says Hartley.We will be fired up to open the holes on Friday.

But South is well-coached on defense, and they are quick gettingto the ball, says Hartley. We need to execute our offense betterand cut way back on our mistakes and penalties.

If we do, I think we should win. We'd better win, or I might notwant to live in this town any longer.

In a 38-7 loss to top-rated Ashland last Friday night, North Medfordhad six turnovers (three interceptions and three lost fumbles) and had eightpenalties for 58 yards. The Black Tornado had similar problems in a 21-14loss to fifth-ranked Roseburg in its opener.

Our biggest concern this week is focusing on taking care of ourselves,says Rumrey. I think we can have a very good football team.

Most teams who play Ashland and Roseburg are not going to comeout of those games feeling real good about themselves. We had our chancesto beat Roseburg, and we hurt ourselves badly against Ashland with too manymistakes.

Without those mistakes, it could have been different, saysRumrey. We need to stop hurting ourselves. The kids are working hardin practice this week, and they have a good attitude about starting overnow that Roseburg and Ashland are behind us.

Rumrey has a personal record of 6-3 against South Medford. He had a four-gamewinning streak over the Panthers snapped last season.

We led most of the game until the last 30 seconds, and then Southcame back and beat us (22-19), says Rumrey. We had opportunities,but we didn't get the job done. The kids are anxious to make up for thatthis year

We've made some changes in personnel this week, but I'm not goingto say what they are, says Rumrey. It's a matter of some newkids stepping up and showing they deserve to start.

North Medford has won four of the last five meetings against South andsix of the last eight. South Medford has outscored North 211 to 188 in 11games despite trailing in the series.

Despite losing South Medford last season, North Medford quarterback K.C.Rumrey set a series record by completing 86 percent of his passes againstthe Panthers. South Medford set the record for most yards passing in a BlackAnd Blue Game in 1994 with 186.

North Medford holds the record for most rushing yards in a series game(328 in 1993).

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