North Medford starts fast, routs McNary
It may have been the season opener but North Medford’s football team looked to be in midseason form Friday night at Spiegelberg Stadium, making play after play to stun McNary — and even themselves — for a 45-6 runaway victory.
The Black Tornado showed what kind of night it was going to be less than five minutes into the nonleague contest when senior quarterback Brennan Stults hit junior Chance Costanzo in stride for a 54-yard score, and everything just steamrolled from there.
“I was ready for the game and I think everybody else was,” said Stults, “but nothing could’ve been better than this right here. Nobody could have called this and it’s just great that we started off the season like this.”
McNary came into the game determined to erase the memory of last year’s opening-game rout by North Medford, which cruised to a 55-27 triumph as one of its three wins in 2018, but the Black Tornado simply wouldn’t be denied on Friday.
“All summer we’ve had a chip on our shoulder,” said Stults. “We’ve just always been the underdogs. Last year we obviously didn’t have a very good record and we just came out playing hard tonight. Everybody wants to be out here and I think that’s just the difference, our heart. We’re out here to have fun and win games and that’s what we’re doing right now.”
Stults wound up completing 7 of 9 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, the latter coming on a 17-yard pass to Jett Carpenter with about five minutes remaining in the third quarter to put the Tornado up 38-6.
North Medford was able to separate from the Celtics with a 24-0 surge in the second quarter built on big play after big play, on both sides of the ball.
Devin Bradd scored both of his rushing TDs in the second quarter — 5- and 2-yard efforts — with the second one stemming from an interception by Cole Zoller and a 38-yard completion from Stults to senior Devyn Grafton. Another spectacular back shoulder catch by Grafton paved the way for a 4-yard TD scamper by Josh Baptiste, who later set up a 34-yard field goal by Danny Cosette to end the first half with a 46-yard run after Costanzo had recovered a fumble by McNary quarterback Erik Barker at the North 10-yard line.
After all the dust settled, it was the Black Tornado whisking away to the locker room with a 31-6 advantage that was never questioned in the second half.
“We have a lot of playmakers and that’s what they’re going to do,” said Stults. “If you put the ball in their hands that’s definitely what they’re going to do for us, and that’s great to have.”
North Medford managed 554 yards of total offense — 326 on the ground and 228 through the air between Stults and junior Colby Neron — while limiting McNary to 219 yards overall.
Barker was limited to 9-for-18 passing for 92 yards with one TD, a 7-yarder to Zane Aicher in the first quarter, but was intercepted by Zoller and Grafton. Barker was able to run 13 times for 63 yards, while Oregon State-bound linebacker Junior Walling added 32 yards on 10 carries.
“The first two series we were a little confused on defense but once we got settled in we played pretty well,” said Black Tornado head coach Steve Turner.
Turner said even he wasn’t sure what North Medford would be able to do Friday night, with some varsity inexperience facing a formidable foe, but he was certainly pleased with the outcome.
“That’s a good football team we played, they had some physical kids, but I think we wore them down,” said Turner. “Even though we were smaller, I thought we played pretty physical and got after them the way the Black Tornado used to be. It was a different mindset.”
That physicality was definitely evident with the offensive line push that led to Bradd gaining 166 yards on 17 carries and Baptiste totaling 82 yards on seven totes. Through the air, Grafton gained 81 yards on three catches, while Costanzo finished with 69 on two receptions and Carpenter had 57 on five catches.
North Medford capped the scoring 90 seconds into the fourth quarter on an 11-yard TD pass from Neron to Nolan Morris.
Friday provided Medford fans with its first home opener at Spiegelberg Stadium in three years after poor air quality forced the relocation of early home games here the past two seasons.
NORTH MEDFORD 45, MCNARY 6
At Spiegelberg Stadium
NM — Costanzo 54 pass from Stults (Cosette kick)
M — Aicher 7 pass from Barker (kick failed)
NM — Bradd 5 run (Cosette kick)
NM — Bradd 2 run (Cosette kick)
NM — Baptiste 4 run (Cosette kick)
NM — FG Cosette 34
NM — Carpenter 17 pass from Stults (Cosette kick)
NM — Morris 11 pass from Neron (Cosette kick)
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry