Eagles hold off Highlanders
EAGLE POINT — With the ball, the Eagle Point football team was nearly unstoppable on Thursday night.
Without it, well, it proved to be quite susceptible against winless North Eugene.
The Eagles, who turned in a practically impeccable effort in the first half of their Midwestern League contest, held on to beat the Highlanders 44-21 at Eagle Stadium despite some serious second-half special teams struggles.
Junior Jakob Combs ran for 223 yards and two touchdowns and senior Garrett Snow recorded 143 rushing yards and finished with four touchdowns — including a 55-yard punt return — for Eagle Point, which owned a 38-0 lead by halftime.
Desperate and willing to try something new, the Highlanders attempted four onside kicks and recovered three in the second half, turning the first two into touchdowns. The Eagles never gained possession in the third quarter but had already done enough damage to survive their opponent's 21-0 run.
"I was disappointed with the way we played in the second half," Eagle Point head coach Jacob Schauffler said. "We didn't have the chance to get the ball. (North Eugene) had great onside kicks. It was just one of those things. Without the ball, you can't score."
With it, the Eagles (3-4, 3-3 MWL) were simply too fast and too strong for the Highlanders (0-6, 0-6 MWL), who gave up 433 rushing yards.
Combs, who only played in the second and fourth quarters because he missed two practices earlier this week, had 17 carries and scoring runs of 37 and 1 yards. His backfield mate, Snow, did most all of his damage in the first half, tallying rushing touchdowns of 9, 5 and 2 yards and erupting for his 55-yard punt-return score with 2:33 remaining in the first quarter.
"I gotta give it up to the line," Combs said. "They got their blocks and the holes were there."
Sophomore Donald Everett finished with 59 rushing yards on 10 carries for Eagle Point, which edged the Highlanders 32-30 in a nonconference game last fall.
Starting quarterback Jorge Quintero was 5-for-6 for 66 yards for the Eagles, who racked up 13 penalties for 85 yards.
"There were a lot of penalties and bad things happened and our kids lost their composure a little bit is what it was," Schauffler said. "I think we relaxed a little bit (in the second half)."
The contest was televised live on KDRV (channel 12-2), Ashland Cable (12-2) and Charter Cable (291). The game will be rebroadcast on the same channels at 7 this morning.
Eagle Point will host rival Ashland in their final regular-season contest next Friday.
"It's kind of become the rivalry for both teams down here," Schauffler said of the matchup with the Grizzlies.
At Eagle Point
North Eugene 0 0 7 14 —21
Eagle Point 14 24 0 6 —44
EP — Everett 16 run (kick failed)
EP — Snow 55 punt return (Snow run)
EP — Snow 2 run (kick failed)
EP — Combs 37 run (pass failed)
EP — Snow 5 run (run failed)
EP — Snow 9 run (run failed)
NE — Collum 1 run (Collum kick)
NE — Collum 5 run (Collum kick)
NE — Koth 7 run (Collum kick)
EP — Combs 1 run (kick failed)
First Downs 22 28
Rushes-Yards 50-232 41-433
Passing Yards 50 66
Comp-Att-Int 9-28-2 5-7-0
Total Yards 282 499
Punts 4-35 0-0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 4-3
Penalties-yards 5-60 13-85
North Eugene — Collum 23-189, Bianco 8-26, Giubbini 12-22, Dawson 1-(minus 1), Koth 6-(minus 4).
Eagle Point — Combs 17-223, Snow 9-143, Everett 10-59, Owens 1-5, Quintero 3-3, Dixon 1-0.
North Eugene — Giubbini 9-28-2 50.
Eagle Point — Quintero 5-6-0 66, Dixon 0-1-0 0.
North Eugene — Collum 3-24, Koth 3-20, McCool 1-5, Dawson 1-3, Harding 1-(minus 2).
Eagle Point — Owens 1-22, Snow 1-19, Flores 1-15, Reed 2-10.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org