Powerful Tornado levels E.P.
Powerful Tornado levels E.P.
-- The question entering Friday night's Southern Oregon Conference football opener for North Medford wasn't how much talent the Black Tornado has on offense, but how it would mesh.
That question was answered emphatically, as North made one big play after another in rolling up a 40-6 victory over Eagle Point at Eagle Stadium.
After sputtering on its opening drive, the Black Tornado scored on seven of its next eight opportunities.
Fullback Ken Halpin scored the game's first touchdown on a one-yard plunge, following a 35-yard pass completion from quarterback Nate Mayben to Mike Olson and an 18-yard run from tailback Phil Ouellette.
I settled down after our first drive, said Mayben. I gave the wrong play and ran the wrong way on the first drive, but after that I was fine.
The senior quarterback connected on 11-of-14 passes for 250 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown strike to Colby Gonzales on North's third drive, which pushed the lead to 14-0.
Our line gave me plenty of time, said Mayben. It's not like any of those passes were very pretty, but we just have some awesome receivers.
Mayben's main target was Olson, who caught five balls for 133 yards.
With Mayben able to spread the Eagle Point defense, the running lanes were left wide open for Ouellette, who dodged and darted his way for 163 yards on 15 carries.
Though he never crossed the goal line, it was Ouellette's footwork which set up numerous scores.
He's (Ouellette) hard to tackle in the open field, said North coach Rod Rumrey. We have some players that can really run.
The offensive line really made things easy for me tonight, said the junior tailback. Everyone did a great job and showed they could get the job done.
Mayben's 11-yard touchdown run, coupled with a Kelly Brown 40-yard field goal, extended the Black Tornado's lead to 24-0 at halftime.
They've got great team speed, said Eagle Point coach Mike Johnston of the Black Tornado. When we got into a footrace with them, we were in trouble.
While the North offense was rolling up the points, it was the defense which solidified things, harassing Eagle quarterback Nick Rouhier into a 3-for-13 performance, and stuffing the Eagles' running game at every turn.
Tailback Evan Pogue led Eagle Point with 98 yards.
The defense really set the tone, said Rumrey of his unit that limited Eagle Point to 164 yards of total offense. They really got after it early and gave us great field position.
After halftime, North offensive coordinator Brent Barry dug into his play book and pulled out a double pass that was executed to perfection.
Mayben swung the ball out to Tate Mellbye, who heaved the ball down field to a wide-open Halpin, who trotted across the goal line with a 42-yard play and a 30-0 lead.
Still undaunted, the Eagles promptly marched down the field in five plays, culminating with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Rouhier to Chris Moore.
We could have rolled over, but we didn't, said Johnston of his club. We saw glimpses of good things and we showed we could play with them at times.
North answered the Eagle Point touchdown with another Brown field goal, this time from 30 yards out.
That's more field goals in one night than I've had in 29 years of coaching, said Rumrey. That kid's a real weapon for us.
North finished its scoring on a three-play drive capped by Halpin, who reached the end zone for the third time on a 6-yard plunge.
Halpin's effort was set up by an Ouellette jaunt of 48 yards through a gaping hole on the right side of the offensive line.
The offensive line had some big moments for us, said Rumrey. For a revamped group they did a great job.
North was penalized six times fir 75 yards.
The penalties and turnovers are a real worry. said Rumrey. But our skill-position guys were always there to help out with big plays when we needed them.