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Boyd's four TDs spark South to rout of Crater

If there was any doubt that Logan Boyd was back to full strength as a running back for the South Medford High football team, he put them to rest Friday night at Spiegelberg Stadium.

Boyd, who had knee surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in December 2002 and then underwent hernia surgery that caused him to miss South Medford's first game this season, scored four touchdowns to lead the ninth-ranked Panthers to a 50-14 victory over Crater in the Southern Oregon Conference opener for both teams.

The game was a Spiegelberg Stadium homecoming of sorts for first-year Crater coach John Beck, who left North Medford in the off-season.

Boyd, a 6-foot, 190-pound senior, scored the game's first touchdown on a 39-yard interception return late in the first period. He caught touchdown passes of 2 and 34 yards from South Medford quarterback Jon Weaver in the second quarter and finished off his brilliant performance with a 1-yard touchdown run early in the second half.

Boyd also threw a punishing block that sprang teammate Ryan Odell for a 13-yard touchdown run.

— I've got to give a lot of credit to (defensive coordinator Jerry) Wolfram for pushing me in the weight room and to my uncle Bill (head coach Singler) for keeping my spirits up after I blew my knee out, Boyd said. Last season was tough because I wasn't at full speed. It's easy to get down on yourself and have some doubts, but the coaches kept telling me that this would be my year.

Boyd's offensive statistics weren't spectacular ' he had two rushes for 27 yards and three receptions for 60 ' but he made judicious use of his limited touches.

Boyd kick-started what would become a South Medford rout when he picked off a Colin Hodges pass and ran it back 38 yards for a touchdown with 3:39 remaining in the first quarter.

I was covering the flat, and I don't think Colin saw me, Boyd said. I made a one-handed grab and then it was free sailing to the end zone.

Noah Brennan's extra-point kick sailed wide to the right, leaving the Panthers with a 6-0 lead.

On Crater's second play from scrimmage after it regained possession, South Medford linebacker Jon Lang recovered a Callan Hartzer fumble at the Comet 25.

Nine plays later, Weaver found Boyd alone in the right corner of the end zone on a bootleg pass for a 12-0 South Medford lead.

Their linebacker bit on the fake and there was no one within 10 yards of me, Boyd said. The flat passes were open all night.

The Panther defense, which held Crater to 61 yards rushing and 228 yards of total offense, tallied its second TD of the night at the 10:25 mark of the second period when Lang ran back an interception 25 yards.

We had a lot of pressure on their quarterback (Hodges), and he threw the ball behind his receiver on that play, said Lang, who barreled over a couple of Comets on his way to the end zone. Our defense has really come of age. It's fun to be a part of it.

A 34-yard strike from Weaver to Boyd padded South Medford's lead to 26-0 before Crater finally mounted an 82-yard, seven-play drive midway through the second period that ended with Hodges' 2-yard sneak for a touchdown.

Brennan booted a 27-yard field goal to give South Medford a 29-6 lead at the half, and the Panthers put the Comets away for good by scoring on their first two possessions of the third quarter.

Odell registered the first one on his 13-yard run, while Boyd put the exclamation point on his night with a 1-yard touchdown plunge.

It was great to see our defense set the tempo of this game, Singler said. We basically stuffed their running game, pressured their quarterback and then our defense scored a couple of touchdowns.

We've been spoiled by some great offenses at South the past few years, but our defense is creating its own identity this season, and that's great to see.

The Panthers fortified their defense Friday by moving 6-1, 250-pound junior Ben Koziol from linebacker to tackle and inserting Odell at Koziol's linebacker position.

That move has made us better, said Singler, whose team has a bye next Friday before meeting cross-town rival North Medford on Oct. 8. Koziol is a big, strong kid who strengthens our defensive front, and Odell does a good job at linebacker.

Crater, meanwhile, took a step forward offensively from its first two games as far as moving the ball, but it shot itself in the foot with four turnovers. South Medford turned all four miscues into touchdowns.

Hodges completed 13 of 31 passes for 167 yards and two interceptions. Hartzer paced the Comets' ground attack with 50 yards on 13 carries, including a 37-yard scamper that set up the Comets' first touchdown.

Reach reporter Don Hunt at 776-4469, or e-mail