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North whips Roseburg

ROSEBURG -- There was an old-fashioned butt-kickin? at Finlay Field on Friday night. But the ones doing the whippin? weren't the Roseburg Indians.

It was the North Medford Black Tornado which beat, battered and bruised the Indians into submission, 31-0, before a packed crowd of about 6,000.

The victory boosted North Medford to 5-0 overall, 3-0 in the Southern Oregon Conference and put the Tornado in good position to claim its first league championship since 1985, a year before the split of Medford High.

It could also elevate the Tornado to the state's No. — ranking. North Medford went into the game ranked No. 5 and Roseburg No. 3.

We got beat in every phase of the game, Roseburg coach Thurman Bell said after his team fell to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the SOC. Offense, defense, special teams — you name it.

I can't ever remember getting physically whipped like we did tonight. My hat is off to the Tornado.

Just how dominating of a performance was it? The statistics told much of the story.

— — The Tornado racked up a 383-62 advantage in total offense.

— — Roseburg wound up with a measly three yards net rushing, thanks in large part to North Medford sacking Indians quarterback Adam Hazel nine times.

— — Roseburg tailback Rod Cope, who went into the game as the leading rusher in the SOC, managed just 13 yards on five carries, while North Medford's Phil Ouellette gained 136 yards on 18 carries and Justin MacLauchlan added 108 yards on just nine attempts.

MacLauchlan, a 5-foot-9, 176-pound junior and one of the fastest players on the team, put an exclamation point on the victory when he dashed 55 yards to paydirt with 2:28 to play in the game.

For us to come in here and play like we did tonight, against a very good Roseburg football team, speaks volumes for the kind of team we have this season, North Medford coach Rod Rumrey said.

While the offense finished with 31 points and nearly 400 yards, it was North Medford's swarming defense that set the tone. Roseburg could never establish a running attack, and nearly every time Hazel went back to pass, Tornado linemen and linebackers were breathing down his neck.

Roseburg's longest running play was 12 yards by Conway Bixby with five minutes left in the game, after North Medford had taken a 24-0 lead.

We don't have the biggest guys around but we've got hitters and we can run, said North Medford linebacker Tyler Graham, a 5-10, 188-pound senior who laid a thunderous hit on Bixby late in the game an instant after Bixby took a handoff. We do a swarm drill in practice where we've got to have all 11 guys around the ball or we just keep running it. We take a lot of pride in swarming to the ball.

North Medford wasted no time in establishing its presence when it took the opening kickoff and marched 68 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. The two big plays on the drive were a 13-yard pass from Kevin Foreman to Brian Weeks on third-and-nine and MacLauchlan's 16-yard reverse to the — on a third-and-12 play.

Fullback Curtis Stout busted over left guard Justin Baehmann on the following play for the score.

One of the things we talked about before the game was to score early and put a little doubt in their minds, said Foreman, who didn't have a big game statistically but made big plays at key times. We really thought this game would go down to the wire, but both our offensive and defensive lines dominated.

The Indians made their deepest penetration of the game on their first possession when they drove from their own 21 to the North Medford 27. But a holding penalty moved them back to the 41 and then Shawn Backstrom sacked Hazel for a nine-yard loss to ruin the threat.

The score remained 7-0 for most of the first half until MacLauchlan dashed 5 yards for a touchdown with 2:26 left before intermission, capping a 58-yard, seven-play drive. The big play on that drive was a 32-yard pass from Foreman to Mike Olson that carried the ball to the Roseburg 27.

It was a bootleg and I was going to run the ball at first, Foreman said, but Olson appeared at the last second and I was able to get the ball to him.

North Medford picked up in the third period where it left off in the second. The Tornado drove from its own 25 to the Roseburg 24 with its first possession of the second half, and while the drive stalled there, Kelly Brown booted a 41-yard field goal to make it 17-0.

The field goal was huge because it meant they would have to score three times to go ahead of us, Rumrey said. And it kept our momentum going.

Roseburg's only real chance to score in the second half came late in the third period when Cory Whitman intercepted a Foreman pass at the North Medford 32. But — as usual — the Tornado defense stiffened, sacking Hazel on successive plays.

Their defense just swarmed us all night, said Bell, whose team was shut out for the first time in six years. They've got phenomenal quickness across the board.