South finally scores, but Sheldon romps
The South Medford Panthers gave their fans something to cheer about Friday night.
No, South didn't win, but the Panthers scored their first touchdown in three games.
Sophomores John McKay and Bjorn Johnson hooked up for a 37-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. The touchdown allowed South to avoid its third straight shutout as Sheldon of Eugene registered a 35-7 non-conference football win at Spiegelberg Stadium.
It's a big lift for this team and it gets everybody kind of hyped up that we scored, said Johnson, a tight end who made the best of his only catch of the night.
South coach Bill Singler wasn't all that hyped by his team's first-half play. But he was pleased with the second half.
We didn't come out with the intensity _ especially on defense _ we showed in the first two games, Singler said. We didn't run to the ball and make things happen. We were waiting for something to happen.
Part of it was their offense. We were a step behind mentally and they made some big plays in the second quarter.
South simply couldn't contain Sheldon quarterback Aaron Stefanek, who completed 19 of 25 passes for 299 yards and two TDs.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior was particularly effective in the first half, when he completed 12 of 16 passes for 178 yards.
They were blitzing a lot and it opened up a lot passing lanes, Stefanek said. We were able to pick up the blitzes and that gave me more opportunity to throw.
Sheldon outgained South 405-216 in total offense.
McKay, making his first start at quarterback for South, completed 10 of 20 passes for 159 yards and one interception to go with his first TD.
I was pleased with the way John was throwing with more conviction, Singler said. He was tentative in the first half, and I saw him mature.
McKay wasted little time getting the Panthers into the end zone after Chris McQuillan returned an interception 43 yards to the Sheldon 37. Johnson streaked down the middle, grabbed the ball away from a defender, eluded two more tacklers then outkicked all three to pay dirt.
I saw the end zone and I wasn't going to give up until I got the touchdown, Johnson said.
McKay started the season opener at safety, then saw his first duty at quarterback early last week against Grants Pass.
We needed something in the first half to give us a spark, McKay said. We got it in the second half, but we needed it in the first half.
Bryan Enright scored Sheldon's first two TDs on carries of — and 4 yards, capping drives of 64 and 87 yards, respectively. Then, with 3:49 left in the half, Stefanek connected with Russell Bowden for an 82-yard TD.
David Drennan's interception set up the first of Sheldon's two third-quarter scores. Two plays later Stefanek completed a 32-yarder to Devin Brewer. Cameron Hollis tacked on a 2-yard plunge for the final TD.
Even though we're not winning a lot, we're making good steps toward improvement in the next couple of years, McKay said. Hopefully we'll get it going by the end of the year; but why wait?