North to face resurgent Glencoe
One team has methodically marched through its first 10 games, leaving no stone unturned and no doubt it was the best team on the field.
The other has been through a tale of two seasons, stumbling out of the gate 1-4 before winning five in a row, including a lopsided playoff win on the road.
Third-ranked North Medford (10-0) tackles Glencoe (6-4) in the second round of the Class 4A state football playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hare Field in Hillsboro.
The Black Tornado leveled the Lincoln Cardinals of Portland, 56-7, last Friday at Spiegelberg Stadium. Glencoe, the Metro League's No. — team, jumped out to a 58-16 advantage before Hood River rallied to within 58-44. Overall, North Medford has outscored opponents 440-61, while Glencoe owns a 331-241 advantage.
But it took the Crimson Tide a while to get rolling.
The first three games we were not a very good football team, says Craig Ruecker, Glencoe's coach since 1982. We made every mistake known to man and we were very inconsistent.
The crossroads arrived after Sunset laid a 38-7 licking on the Tide, which has just nine seniors on its roster.
We were winless after three games, 0-2 in league and we were staring at Beaverton, ranked No. — at the time, and Jesuit, ranked No. 2 at the time, Ruecker says. We could've easily gone 0-5.
But in a game marred by Beaverton quarterback Kris Tyacke's spinal injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down, Glencoe finally got untracked, edging the Beavers, 35-28.
We were ahead 35-14 with seven minutes to go, Ruecker says. But it was one of those scenarios where we were playing prevent defense and we didn't prevent anything.
Even though Jesuit, which had ascended to No. — the previous week, pounded Glencoe, 42-7, Ruecker could see his team was coming around.
Since then, we've been playing much harder and much sounder, Ruecker says.
North Medford coach Rod Rumrey is quick to point out that the Tide has averaged 45.6 points in its past five games.
They're playing about as good as anybody in the state right now, Rumrey says. You can see the adjustments they make in the offensive line if they are overmatched in a certain area. If you stand up, they?ll double-team you back into the linebackers and we can't let that happen.
Rumrey is confident that the six players — Norris Bier, Scott Myers, Justin Baehmann, Dan Crawford, Curtis Stout and Shawn Backstrom — rotating through the defensive front will hold their own.
Long ago Ruecker adopted a grind ?em out I formation philosophy and if need be, jam it down opponents throats with a Power-I.
Glencoe's tailback tandem of Kyle Kirsch (6-2, 225, sr.) and Mike Stanton (5-11, 175, jr.) shared time and all-Metro League honors. Kirsch gained 1,079 yards on 114 carries, while Stanton rambled 128 times for 835 yards. Fullback Jesse Jones (6-2, 220, jr.) carried 119 times for 675 yards).
Basically, they come out and run to their left until you prove you can stop them, Rumrey says. Against Hood River they were pounding a couple of times and then their quarterback (Zach Henningson) is very good at running play-action.
Henningson (6-0, 160, jr.) completed 80 of 154 passes for 1,340 yards and nine touchdowns with five interceptions. He threw for 270 yards against a Hood River defense that packed as many as nine men at the line. Henningson's other big passing night was against Jesuit, when he threw for 256 yards in a game Glencoe fell behind, 21-0.
His key receiver is all-leaguer Josh McInnis (6-0, 185, jr.), who has 36 catches for 541 yards and five TDs.
He had a half of a career against Hood River, Rumrey says.
It could make for an interesting time when McInnis enters North safety Travis Poulton's jurisdiction. Poulton has five interceptions this fall.
They're a young team that's on a roll, Rumrey says. I think that our team has seen enough video to have respect for them.
The Tornado leaves for Portland today and will workout on Lewis & Clark College's artificial turf
It's important to get an early lead and not let them control the ball all night, Rumrey says. They have that kind of potential.