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Comets no match for Eagles

EAGLE POINT ' Something good had to happen for Eagle Point.

It had already experienced the bad and the ugly in recent weeks.

The Eagles, who had dropped their previous two football contests after starting the season 2-0, broke into the win column in the Southern Oregon Conference with a 40-8 rout Friday over winless Crater.

That's a good deal, nodded Eagle Point coach Harry Hedrick. And after last week's game, that was huge.

— Ahh, the bad.

Eagle Point let victory slip away when Grants Pass stole the ball in the waning minutes and scored with 18 seconds left for a 14-12 win.

That came a week after the ugly, when Roseburg shellacked the Eagles, 50-22, taking advantage of seven turnovers and 11 penalties.

This time, Eagle Point used its myriad offensive weapons, from the slick machinations of its quarterbacks to a variety of ball carriers, in righting itself and compounding the Comets' woes.

We did what we wanted to do, said Hedrick, whose team is 3-2 overall, 1-2 in the SOC. We controlled the ball on the ground and played real good, solid defense.

We've always been able to move the ball this year, but then we'd have something happen that would stop us. We overcame those things tonight. The last couple games we hadn't.

The Eagles were tested early, however.

On their first possession after forcing a punt by Crater (0-5, 0-3 SOC), a 53-yard drive stopped dead at the Comet — when quarterback Creighton Nevin and running back Josh Metcalf fumbled the exchange and Crater's Rich McDonald recovered.

As it turned out, the bobble ' the first of three near the goal line but the only one lost ' only delayed the inevitable.

Eagle Point scored on its next three possessions, taking a 20-8 halftime lead.

Nevin sandwiched two 1-yard plunges around one by fellow quarterback Jered McClellan.

The drives averaged 56 yards and were almost exclusively on the ground; the Eagles completed only two passes in the game.

Midway through the second quarter, Nevin scored his third touchdown, from the 2, to make it 26-8.

With no semblance of a passing game with which to play catch-up, the Comets were all but vanquished.

Fourth-quarter touchdown runs of 12 yards by McClellan and 5 yards by Johnston capped it.

This is a real boost to our confidence, knowing we go into next week with a win, said Nevin, who ran for 84 yards on 22 carries. We have momentum going. You could see everything we did today clicked. It was a good game.

With Nevin and McClellan putting on a ball-handling display in the triple option ' it even fooled an official into blowing a play dead when a runner without the ball was tackled ' Eagle Point's offense came in waves.

It rushed 59 times for 317 yards, led by Nate Idrogo's 107 on 18 carries. Three others ran for at least 20 yards.

Our line was doing it all for us, said Nevin. They work so hard in practice. They opened the holes for us and the running backs did the rest.

Not just the running backs.

That's kind of the precept of this whole offense, said Hedrick. You have a lot of guys coming from different areas and getting the football. It was a real good job by our quarterbacks running the offense.

Defensively, the Eagles, who had 23 first downs of their own, limited Crater to five.

The Comets managed 128 total yards, including 76 on the ground.

Cody Ponder ran for 64 yards on 16 carries for the Comets.

I think our defense was good, said Nick Smith, the anchor in the middle of the Eagle Point defensive line. We shut them down a lot of times on fourth down. Everyone was flying to the ball. We work hard, and we're there for each other. Everything's starting to come together.

Crater, which has every reason to take chances, showed that it can be a dangerous kind of opponent.

With only half of the first quarter gone in a 0-0 game, the Comets went for it on fourth-and-a-foot at their own 10 and converted.

And their first score, which narrowed the gap to 14-8 with 4:43 left in the first half, was the result of a fourth-and-10 halfback pass from Ponder to Dan Whitehead, who made a leaping, juggling catch over Carvajal.

Ponder then ran in the two-point conversion.

It's a situation where they're dangerous because they'll try anything and do anything at any time, said Hedrick. You're aware of that and you prepare for it, but things still happen.

This time, good things happened to the Eagles.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail