North Medford gets some revenge against intracity rival South Medfordwith the SOC romp
Considering the intensity fifth-ranked North Medford displayed Friday night, the Black Tornado could have beaten almost any team toeing the opposite sideline at Spiegelberg Stadium.
Still, the fact that it was intra-city rival South Medford made North's 60-17, Southern Oregon Conference romp that much more pleasing.
The Black Tornado carried last year's 45-41 loss in the Black and Blue Game with it for almost a calendar year, and unleashed the fury of a team bent on redemption Friday night.
— When it came down to it, we were going to send a message this year, said North senior quarterback Beau Hovland. Nothing was going to stop us.
And nothing did, save a running clock after the Tornado went up 54-7 with 8:23 to play in the third quarter.
That was a pretty dominate performance, said North head coach John Beck, who had an inkling it might go that way. The players prepared (for South) like it was a playoff game. That game last year left a bitter taste in their mouths and they've been thinking about it for a whole year. They prepared like champions this week.
The Black Tornado (5-1, 3-0 SOC) played like champions from the outset, taking a 37-0 lead with 1:20 to play in the first ' yes, first ' quarter.
We just couldn't meet their frenzy, said South head coach Bill Singler. They were playing fast, playing physical on both sides of the ball and they completely dominated us up front.
We tried to protect and couldn't do it. We tried to run and couldn't do it. We just got caught in a whirlwind.
David Faaeteete started the Tornado swirling with a sack of South quarterback Jon Weaver on the second play of the game, and it just built from there as North sacked Weaver nine times in the first half and 11 times overall.
Our defensive line just stepped up big and straight got after it, North senior linebacker Rob Folsom said of the feeding frenzy on Weaver. Nine sacks in a half? That's unreal. That's just mean.
Folsom helped carry some of that nastiness to the offensive side of the ball at tailback, toting the rock 58 yards for a touchdown on North's second play of the game.
After another three-and-out series by South (2-3, 1-1), Hovland romped 56 yards to pay dirt on an option keeper to make it 14-0.
And like a shark sensing blood in the water, the Tornado went for the kill.
North went up 21-0 two minutes later on a 7-yard pass from Hovland to Ben Running, then regained the ball when Hovland intercepted Weaver at the South 25 and returned it to the 1. The 6-2, 174-pounder finished where he left off with a 1-yard plunge to make it 28-0 with 3:52 to go in the first quarter.
Two sacks by Russ Vandell pinned the Panthers deep again, and the score quickly became 30-0 when South's snap back to punter Alan Phillips sailed over his head and through the end zone.
On Phillips' ensuing punt, South appeared to catch a break when North's Kyle Grinnel couldn't find a handle on the football. But as the Panthers piled up for the pigskin, Sammy McHenry swooped in for North and returned it 52 yards for yet another Tornado touchdown.
North's Brian Jimenez posted his team's seventh sack of Weaver to close out the first quarter, and the Tornado didn't let matters slip much in the second as Nick Taylor tacked on a 30-yard field goal to make it 40-0 with 9:22 to go until halftime.
South finally stumbled upon some luck a series later as Nick Griffin and Ben Koziol swarmed over a botched handoff attempt by Hovland to Folsom.
The fumble gave South its best field position at North's 13, but it still took the Panthers 11 plays and two drive-saving Tornado penalties to traverse that distance in 5 minutes and 24 seconds. South picked up its initial first down of the game on the drive with 6:10 to play in the half, while Weaver's 1-yard dive put South on the board.
Undaunted, North went 80 yards to answer, with Hovland hitting Trent Driskell for a 5-yard score less than a minute later to make it 47-7.
North's 47 points marked the highest point total in Black and Blue history, and it was accomplished with 1:16 to go in the first half.
It was unfair, said Folsom. Our line tore them up all night, and when that happens, it's hard not to score because there's nobody there to stop you.
Needless to say, the start to Friday's game didn't coincide with South's plans.
We knew they were building up for a year for this football game, said Singler. Our whole goal was to get through the first quarter down by a score or so, and then we could get into our game. But we couldn't get through the first quarter.
North held South to minus-24 yards rushing in the first half, and 12 yards overall. The Tornado countered with 246 yards of total offense to essentially seal its sixth Black and Blue triumph in the past seven years.
Their defense just moves, said South senior tailback Andy Narus, who had 21 yards on nine carries. Their line and linebackers didn't give us a chance. They're far and away the best team in the conference.
After North tacked on an early third-quarter score, a 28-yard pass from Hovland to Drew Herrera, the Tornado reached the 45-point rule that mandates a running clock for the rest of the contest outside of timeouts, injuries or kickoffs.
Hovland had a hand in six North TDs, throwing for four scores and 210 yards and rushing for two TDs and 85 yards overall.
South's Corey O'Neill set a Black and Blue record with his 47-yard field goal in the third quarter, while Weaver connected with Ryan Neuenschwander for an 80-yard TD with 6:19 to play to cap the scoring.
They're a young team and they're going to get a lot better and they're going to be good for years to come, Beck said of South. It was just one of those things where we got it going early and we just kept it going.
Although disappointed by the lopsided loss, Singler opted to take a realistic approach.
It's one game, he concluded. We're 1-1 in the league and we're not going to play North again. We've got to get focused on our football team and understand that we're not bad. A good football team can make you look bad, just look at Oregon (last week). But it's still just one game.