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Black Tornado withstands Eureka rally

SOC football

Three splendid quarters more than made up for one disastrous one Friday night as No. 9 North Medford routed visiting Eureka, Calif., 37-13, at Spiegelberg Stadium.

The Black Tornado rolled up 457 yards in total offense, while yielding 210, including 73 on one play in the fourth quarter.

For the first time, our offense got off to a good start in the first quarter, North Medford coach Rod Rumrey said. We had a couple very good drives and executed well. Our players needed to know they could come out and get something done early in a ballgame.

The victory was the Tornado's fourth without a loss, while the Loggers dropped to 3-1.

The Tornado took a 14-0 lead on four-play drives of 53 and 36 yards with Phil Ouellette running 11 yards for one touchdown and Colby Gonzales snagging an 11-yard pass from quarterback Nate Mayben for the second TD.

But fullback Kenny Halpin's fumble deep in Eureka territory signaled a turnaround for the balance of the first half.

The second quarter was the biggest disaster, penaltywise, that you'd ever want to see, Rumrey said. I don't think at the time Eureka could stop us, but we found a way to stop ourselves. We had 95 yards in penalties and 70 of them must have come in the second quarter.

North lost three fumbles before intermission and Mayben threw his first interception of the season late in the second quarter.

Despite the woeful 12 minutes, the only score the Tornado surrendered was a 35-yard run on a broken play by Eureka quarterback Ben Larson.

North's defense put the clamps to the Loggers in third quarter. A punt snap sailed out of the end zone to give the Tornado two points and then North extended its advantage on a 9-yard gallop by Curtis Stout and the third of four PAT kicks by Kelly Brown.

Larson finished with 101 yards rushing, while Halpin caught six passes for 104 yards and rushed for 68 more.

ROSEBURG 35, GRANTS PASS 7-- At Roseburg, the third-ranked Indians took advantage of two Grants Pass fumbles and a solid night by Conway Bixby and Kevin Linderman in improving to 3-0 in the SOC.

Grants Pass (3-1, 2-1 SOC) fumbled on its first possession, and Roseburg's Matt Manser scored six plays later. The Cavemen coughed up the football to halt a drive later in the second half.

Kevin Linderman threw for 120 yards and two touchdowns in a 9-for-11 effort. Linderman also rushed seven times for 21 yards and a touchdown.

Bixby provided a back-breaking 54-yard touchdown run to cap the first half scoring. The junior rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries in leading Roseburg (4-1).

Caver quarterback Nathen Olson spoiled any hopes of a shutout when he connected with Robbie Lesher for a 52-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

ASHLAND 47, KLAMATH UNION 7-- At Klamath Falls, defending Class 4A state champion Ashland ended its longest losing streak since 1984 when the Grizzlies roared to a 24-0 first quarter advantage.

Ashland (1-3, 1-2 SOC) outgained the Pelicans (0-4, 0-3) 433-54 in total offense as the Grizzlies held Klamath Union to minus-53 rushing yards at Modoc Field.

Klamath Union punter Jason Mortensen had trouble fielding a punt snap early in the first quarter and touched his knee to the turf at his own 20, setting up a 12-yard scamper by Kris Pavilionis. Moments later, another bad punt snap sailed out of the end zone, giving Ashland a 10-0 advantage.

The ensuing free kick led to Mike Allen's 8-yard touchdown pass to Ben Thurman and Ryan Goodman's 42-yard punt return made it a rout before the second quarter began.

SOUTH EUGENE 32, SOUTH MEDFORD 12-- At Eugene, Blake Stepp completed 16 of 31 passes for 296 yards and four touchdowns to lead South Eugene to the non-league victory at Autzen Stadium.

The Axemen bolted to a 25-0 lead before South Medford got on the board in the second half on a 3-yard run by Jeremy Boyd.

Boyd had a big night with 123 yards rushing on 24 carries and two touchdowns, but he was no match for the Axemen, who rang up 481 yards in total offense.

With the loss, South Medford fell to 0-4. South Eugene evened its record at 2-2.