North Medford wears down Crater
CENTRAL POINT — After an initial surge by Crater, North Medford settled in and rattled off 25 straight points to dodge an upset bid by the 5A Comets in a physical, 25-18 triumph Friday at Dutch Meyer Field.
“We were down 18-zip and a lot of teams would’ve folded but our guys didn’t fold, we just kept the faith,” said North Medford head coach Steve Turner. “Putting 25 on them in a row like that, that’s really good. I’m really happy with that.”
Black Tornado senior running back Devin Bradd provided a workhorse performance with a season-high 35 carries for 181 yards and two second-half touchdowns that proved to be the difference.
Running behind a physical offensive line anchored by center Tharon Gail, Bradd was able to steadily move the pile even when confronted by Crater’s swarming defense. Bradd had only one run of 10 yards or more in the first half, but started the second half with a pair of double-digit efforts.
He ultimately salted the game away for North Medford (2-1) with 9:31 to go in the fourth quarter on a go-ahead 30-yard burst to the end zone.
“He had a little rough sledding in that first quarter,” said Turner, “but we stayed the faith, made some adjustments at halftime and we found some things that worked and kept going to it.”
Crater (1-2) jumped on the Black Tornado with a 23-yard field goal by Blake Eaton on its second possession, then used an interception by Trevor Jaasko to set up a three-play, 40-yard scoring drive that was capped on a 24-yard pass from Eaton to Jaasko.
An ensuing two-point conversion run by Dawson Douglas pushed Crater’s advantage to 11-0, and the momentum kept swinging the Comets’ way three plays later. Caden Lasater stepped in front of a Colby Neron pass for a second interception that again put the home team in fantastic position.
Capitalizing quickly again, the Comets needed just a minute to build an 18-0 cushion, with Jaasko and Eaton connecting one more time from 24 yards out for another touchdown.
“I challenged our team to be a fast starter today and try to get a jump on a team that’s really, really good and has a lot of good athletes,” said Crater head coach Berk Brown. “We jumped on them quick but we just couldn’t hold up in the long run. They just kind of wore us down tonight.”
North Medford began to turn the tied when Mason Warren’s hit after a Dawson Douglas reception dislodged the ball and Nolan Morris was there to pick it up for the Black Tornado.
After that, North clipped off 46 yards on four plays, with Neron diving in from the 1-yard line to cap the drive.
Danny Cossette’s 35-yard field goal as time expired in the first half gave the Black Tornado a lift going into the break, and North Medford got going after a defensive stop to open the second half and marched 65 yards with a host of runs by Bradd and a key third-down conversion run by Warren that also involved an injury to Jaasko, who had to be helped off with a knee injury.
Less than a minute later, Crater would be down another key player as Brady Eaton suffered a back injury on a 4-yard scoring run by Bradd.
The senior Eaton had to be immobilized on a backboard and left the field in an ambulance during a 20-minute delay that meant the loss of yet another key figure for the Comets. His father, Brad, confirmed Saturday that his son "is doing well and all major injuries have been ruled out."
Bradd’s ensuing two-point conversion run tied the contest at 18-all with 2:54 to go in the third quarter.
Crater managed only 73 yards in the second half, compared to 212 by North Medford — 164 of it coming on the ground.
“I really like the way our defense rallied here,” said Turner. “They were giving us some problems that first quarter and we made some adjustments and we fixed some things and they didn’t score nearly the last three quarters. We played really good defense, but they didn’t have the guys, obviously, to throw the ball to that they had early on.”
C — FG Bl. Eaton 23
C — Jaasko 24 pass from Bl. Eaton (Douglas run)
C — Jaasko 24 pass from Bl. Eaton (Bl. Eaton kick)
NM — Neron 1 run (Cossette kick)
NM — FG Cossette 35
NM — Bradd 4 run (Bradd run)
NM — Bradd 30 run (Cossette kick)
Have a story idea? Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry