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Shopp leads Eagle Point into playoffs

Eagles rally for victory over North

EAGLE POINT -- It's become standard procedure for the Eagle Point Eaglesto pull off fourth-quarter comebacks this season.

The Eagles were back at it again Friday night at Eagle Stadium.

This time, however, there was no margin for error. If the Eagles didn'tfinish off the drive there was no victory over North Medford, no state playoffsand no tomorrow.

With that in mind, the Eagles dashed 70 yards, in an eight-play drivethat consumed just under three minutes and quarterback Dan Shopp scoredon a 20-yard run to give Eagle Point a 25-22 triumph over the Black Tornado.

The win was the fifth straight for the Eagles and propelled Eagle Pointinto the Class 4A state playoffs for the third straight year.

They meet fourth-ranked McNary, the Valley League champion that defeatedEagles in last year's quarterfinals, next Friday in Keizer.

Everybody realized it was now or never, said Eagle Pointsenior Luke Scott. If we lost, we were going home and it would bethe last game for the seniors. We got it done when we had to. It shouldn'thave been that close though.

Nonetheless, after back-to-back one-point wins over Crater and GrantsPass earlier this month, the Eagles know what it takes in the stretch run.

North Medford regained the lead 22-18 with an eight-play, 70-yard drivecapped by K.C. Rumrey's 2-yard touchdown with 7:04 to play.

That was more than enough time for Shopp, Scott and Co.

Scott returned the ensuing kickoff 22 yards to the 30. On first down,Shopp completed an 11-yard pass to Paul Brewer. A facemask penalty tackedon 15 more yards and Eagle Point had a first down at the North 44.

On third-and-10, Shopp delivered quickly to Scott on the left sidelinefor 11 yards and a first down at the North 33. Two plays later, the Shopp-Scottconnection was good for eight yards and first down at the 20.

Sophomore Nick Rouhier was involved as a receiver and the place-kickerin the one-point wins. This time, he threw the critical block on North'sSeth McEwen that allowed Shopp to finish off a 20-yard dash around the leftside for the winning score.

I saw Dan breaking outside and if I could get to him and shieldhim, I knew Dan could score, Rouhier said. He had all the momentumand I went flying when we hit.

Shopp was flying -- along with the Eagles.

I saw Rouhier seal off that guy and it was wide open, saidShopp. It was pretty much a play where everybody did a perfect job.

Shopp, who was sacked three times, finished with just 19 net yards rushing.But he completed 13 of 24 passes for 132 yards and one score. More importantly,he didn't throw an interception and the Eagles didn't lose a fumble.

North turnovers led to Eagle Point's first two scores and eight penaltiescontinually put the Tornado in a hole.

We made too many mistakes, North coach Rod Rumrey said. That'shaunted us in our big games this year. In three of the last four games,I really thought we did a much better job of cutting our penalties down.They popped back up tonight.

North plowed through the Eagle Point defense like it was dry sand inits first two possessions. The Tornado swept 76 yards in 11 plays with K.C.Rumrey following Matt Haight into the end zone from 1-yard out for the firstscore. Then after Eagle Point's offense was quickly retired in three plays,North drove 45 yards to the EP 7.

Had the Tornado finished off the drive, the Eagles would've been in bigtrouble. But Shopp plucked off Rumrey's pass a yard deep in his end zone,scampered left, broke free down the right sideline, wriggled free from apair of tacklers in front of his own bench and then shrugged off two moreNorth players en route to the end zone.

They have two guys go to the same area and Sean (Johnston) tookone, Shopp said. I saw K.C. look at his receiver behind me andI stopped. He threw it right to me. I saw a lot of running room, I got somekey blocks and there it was.

It for a momentum-shift worthy of the Richter scale.

It was probably as big of a momentum shift as there could be,conceded coach Rumrey. It took a while for us to recover from it.

Eagle Point took its first lead when Scott hauled in a 15-yard touchdownpass from Shopp in the second quarter and left defenders Luke Buchstaberand Andrew Lougheed grasping for air.

I threw that different than it was designed, behind Luke a little,Shopp said. But he's so quick when they came in from the outside,he just put a move on them and took off.

Two minutes later, the Eagles were back in business when Shopp's puntslipped through Rumrey's hands at the 35 and Scott pounced on it at the23. Two plays later Shopp banged over from the — with 1:19 left in the half.

I saw it bounce off Rumrey's hands and was trying to decide whetherto try to pick it up or dive on it, Scott said. It was a nightwhen it was hard to handle punts, because it was so slick. I dropped onetoo. Thank God, it went out of bounds.

Two plays later, North got back into it when Buchstaber hauled in Rumrey'spass on the left side, eluded Scott and dashed 49 yards to paydirt.

After a scoreless third quarter, North returned to its first-quarterform with a swift drive that saw the Tornado retake the lead.

But the Eagles bounced back and then stopped the Tornado when Josh Hollingersacked Rumrey on fourth down.

It wasn't any different than before, Hollinger said. Wejust knew it was time to win this game.

North Medford finished the season 5-4.

In a television interview aired Friday evening, K.C. Rumrey alluded tothe possibility that the game might his father's last as the Tornado coach-- a report the coach refuted.

I certainly haven't reach that decision, coach Rumrey saidafter the game.

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