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Cavemen hammer Tornado

Four turnovers fuel 28-6 victory

The North Medford High football team must feel like a boxer who has had to endure one slugfest after another with little time to rest up and heal.

Already battered and bruised from smashing helmets with Roseburg, Ashland and Crater the first month of the season, the Black Tornado got another dose of physical football from Grants Pass Friday night at Spiegelberg Stadium.

And this time the Tornado couldn't overcome yet another wave of injuries.

Cory Restvedt passed for one touchdown and ran for another and GP's swarming defense forced four turnovers as the Cavemen clubbed the Tornado 28-6.

The loss was doubly costly for North Medford, which already was a banged-up team before the opening kickoff.

Wide receiver Jake Scheid suffered a neck injury, kick return specialist Mike Olson took a vicious hit in the midsection and offensive guard Frank Silva went down with a severe ankle sprain. Scheid and Olson were placed in an ambulance and transported to Rogue Valley Medical Center.

Scheid, after making a hit on GP running back Chuck Martin, crumpled to the turf. According to coaches and game officials along the sideline, Scheid began to suffer numbness in his arms and legs. His neck was immobilized before medical personnel placed him on a stretcher and into the ambulance.

North Medford coach Rod Rumrey said late Friday night that Scheid and Olson would likely be OK. Silva went to the hospital later in the evening for X-rays.

We got a report back that Scheid had full feeling in his arms and legs, Rumrey said. There was concern about Olson's spleen, but he went through some tests and he seems to be all right also.

Although North Medford went into the contest with a 4-1 record and could have virtually locked up a playoff berth with a victory, not much went right for the Tornado.

Grants Pass seized the momentum late in the first period on a broken play. Restvedt, the Caveman quarterback, was flushed from the pocket but managed to let fly with a long pass down the left sideline that tight end Jake Zeliff turned into a 68-yard touchdown.

It was a bootleg to the left but they read it and made me sit in the pocket, Restvedt said. I got belted just as I let the ball go but I knew he caught it by the roar of the crowd. Then when I got up I saw him running to the end zone.

North Medford came back with a quick 62-yard, six-play drive that was highlighted by Zac Driskell's 33-yard reception and capped by Nate Mayben's 1-yard touchdown run.

But sophomore Kelly Brown's PAT kick sailed wide to the left, enabling the Cavers to hang on to a 7-6 lead with 9:33 left in the second period.

Three minutes later, with North Medford facing a third and 23 play from its own 11-yard line, Mayben suffered the first of his three interceptions on the night. Brian Graham picked off the overthrown pass and the GP defensive back ran it back 25 yards to the North Medford 24.

Four plays later, on fourth and one, Restvedt faked a trap play up the middle, raced around left end and tightroped his way 15 yards to paydirt.

Trailing 14-6 at that point, North Medford drove from its own 36 to the Grants Pass 15 in the waning seconds of the first half, only to march backwards on a holding penalty, one of five on the night for the Tornado.

Whatever hope North Medford had of staging a second-half comeback faded quickly. On the second-half kickoff, Robert Lesher crushed Olson, the ball popped loose and GP linebacker Len Luancz scooped it up and ran 22 yards for a score.

Chuck Martin, who ran for 111 yards in the second half and 128 on the night, scored GP's final touchdown on a 7-yard run.

I saw the ball pop loose, swam over a guy, picked it up and just ran into the end zone _ no one was around me, said Luancz, who had an outstanding game at inside linebacker along with Matt Major.

The win was the fourth in a row for Grants Pass following a pair of losses to start the season.

I'm really proud of these kids, Grants Pass coach Tom Blanchard said. It's always tough to come over here and win in this stadium but our boys took it to 'em.

Things don't get any easier for the Tornado next week as they journey to Coos Bay to face unbeaten and No. — ranked Marshfield.

Three North Medford defenders corral Grants Pass fullback Jake Leair at Spiegelberg Stadium. - Photo by Jim Craven