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Tornado rally falls short, 49-35

COOS BAY -- If the celluloid made top-ranked Marshfield appear vulnerable, the flesh and blood Pirates certainly demonstrated otherwise Friday night at Pete Susick Stadium.

Watching them on film, I wasn't sure they deserved to be No. 1, North Medford coach Rod Rumrey said. After seeing them in the first half, there was no doubt. I don't think I've ever seen so many 6-4 guys on a football field in my life. They're definitely very talented.

Marshfield rolled to a 42-7 lead in the first half, then pulled its starters with a 49-7 advantage. North Medford seized the moment and pulled to within 49-35 before the final horn.

Marshfield's Travis Burgher rushed nine times for 119 yards and three touchdowns, then returned a punt 70 yards for another score, while Doug Jadin rambled 145 yards on 10 carries and one TD as the Pirates improved to 7-0.

North fell to 4-3 overall as quarterback Nate Mayben completed 18 of 32 passes for 285 yards. But the Pirates picked off five passes and 173 of the yards came after the issue was decided.

They ran a basic 4-4 defense, like I've seen all year, Mayben said. They're just fast.

Mayben led four fourth-quarter TD drives.

Colby Gonzales recovered a fumble in the end zone to complete one drive and Phil Oullette ran 4 yards for the second. An onside kick set up Mayen's 13-yard toss to Steve DeClerck.

A bad punt snap gave the Tornado a first down at the Marshfield 33 and six plays later, Mayben ran an option 11 yards around the right end for a TD as North pulled to within 49-35 with less than two minutes on the clock.

At that point, the Marshfield regulars returned, but Jadin fumbled after picking up 14 yards and North drove one more time. But Burgher cradled the ball after it was tipped in the end zone for a touchback with 34 seconds to play.

There we were watching our JV team get rolled over like we had been doing to them 20 minutes earlier, Marshfield tackle Chip Zosel said. Now we've got to go back in. When we get up by 40 points, coach Wigle usually subs. Fortunately, it didn't cost us in the end.

For his part, Rumrey was excited to see his team showing some life after a poor offensive performance against Grants Pass the week before.

We went in without seven starters and you want to have every weapon available against a team like that, Rumrey said. But the kids we had filling in did a pretty good job. Phil Oullette gave us a good lift in the second half. After a lopsided first half, maybe we turned the corner in that last quarter.

Marshfield took the opening kickoff and drove 72 yards in 13 plays with Burgher slanting in from the 3. Todd Lewis nailed the first of seven PAT kicks to make it 7-0.

Justin Traver played a key roll on the next score, intercepting Mayben's pass at midfield. He then tossed a 57-yard reverse option pass to Lewis two plays later. The Pirates set up the score with an option when quarterback Levi Westgaard was buried for a 4-yard loss. Then he flipped to Traver, who shook off a tackler before unloading a strike to Lewis.

Tim Huntley set up Marshfield's third score with a 9-yard interception return to the North 24. Three plays later, Burgher scored standing up on a 5-yard trap as the Pirates took a 21-0 advantage.

North followed with its biggest offensive play of the night to get on the scoreboard. On third-and-three from the North 32, Mayben ran on option to the left, broke a couple of tackles on the corner, cut to his right and then outran the defense for 68 yards.

We missed a tackle, but you've got to give (Mayben) credit, too, he made nice run, Wigle said.

Kelly Brown toed the PAT with 12 seconds left in the period. But the Pirates regained the 21-point advantage before quarter's end.

Doug Jadin dashed 76 yards, kicking loose from a last-gasp tackle as the horn sounded. Marshfield then halted a long North march when Chip Zosel dropped Mayben down short of the stick on a fourth-and-two. Five plays later, Burgher disappeared on another trap for a 57-yard TD.

He's really explosive, the best skill position player I've had in 28 years as a head coach, Marshfield coach Kent Wigle said. Levi was throwing well, so we were able to mix things up early. That's why we're so good, because we have so many weapons.

We executed as well as we have all season early tonight. Because of all our weapons, we were able to keep them off balance. We had a good rhythm offensively.

Midway through the second quarter, North faked a punt with the snap going to Steve DeClerck, who was buried at the Tornado 30. Five plays later, Westgaard rifled a 7-yard scoring pass to Traver, who was momentarily separated from the ball by North's Kenny Halpin in the end zone before regaining control.