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Prep Football: South edges Grants Pass in 3OT thriller

South Medford’s Garrett Henderson, shown here in an earlier game, scored the game-winning touchdown in the Panthers’ triple-overtime win over Grants Pass on Friday night. (Mail Tribune file photo)

GRANTS PASS — South Medford’s Garrett Henderson powered into the end zone from 3 yards out in the third overtime and Jude Pannell converted the deciding point-after kick to give the Panthers a wild, 56-55 football victory over Grants Pass Friday.

Each team scored a touchdown on their three overtime chances, but the difference came down to the PAT kick.

“You know what,” said South Medford coach Bill Singler, “it seems like when we play Grants Pass, it becomes a barnburner of some sort. This one just happened to go a little longer than normal.”

The last time the Panthers played an overtime game, it was a loss to the Cavemen seven years ago, he said.

“It was just perseverance,” said Singler. “I think we hung in there and kept playing.”

Both teams got the ball at the 25 in the first two overtimes. It moved to the 10 for the third.

With the Cavemen taking possession first in the third extra period, Jayden Brown scored his third touchdown on a 3-yard run. Miles Anderson, who had been perfect on his previous seven extra-point tries, pulled it and the ball bounced off the left upright.

After an incomplete pass on South Medford’s first play, Henderson danced up the middle for 7 yards, then was fed again and bowled over a couple defenders while scoring. Pannell made his eighth PAT of the night to end it.

The Panthers improved to 3-1, and Grants Pass dropped to 2-2.

Singler praised Pannell, who came over from the soccer team.

“He had a great week of practice,” said Singler, “he made every PAT and we needed every one of them. I was really proud of him and his execution. He was kicking the ball really smooth and straight, which was good.”

Grants Pass scored first in the first overtime, David Ruiz going in from the 2. South Medford answered with a 23-yard pass from Deacon Edgar to Carson Cota, who slipped behind defender Ryan Maier, then won a hand-fighting battle.

The second-overtime scores were by South Medford’s Colton Samis, on an 11-yard run, and a 15-yard pass from Hunter Gonzales to Jett Hood.

Then came the deciding session.

South Medford twice led by two touchdowns, at 28-14 and, with nine minutes left in the fourth, 35-21.

Grants Pass repeatedly rallied, getting the final two scores of regulation on passes from Gonzales to Dante Haven, who had three TD receptions, including a 72-yarder 1 1/2 minutes before halftime to give the Cavemen momentum.

The final score in regulation covered 12 yards and made it 35-35.

“We let them back in it with some poor tackling and some big plays we gave up on defense,” said Singler. “But I thought our guys hung in there. We knew we had to keep scoring. We told them before the game started that offensively, execution was going to be the key to this game, and that was obviously our most well-executed game that we’ve played. We needed every point we could get, obviously.”

Edgar was 13 of 21 passing for 193 yards and four touchdowns passes to go with his rushing score for the Panthers.

Carson Joe ran for 114 yards on 20 carries, scoring on runs of 9 and 6 yards.

Cota had four catches for 45 yards, with TDs of 4 and 23 yards.

The first half was a slugfest for all but the last two minutes, when two long passes resulted in touchdowns for each side.

Grants Pass struck first when, after converting a fourth-and-11 play, Brown ran it in from 15 for a 7-0 lead at 5:30 of the first quarter.

South Medford tied it 7-7 on a Joe 9-yard run with 5:08 left in the second. The drive was helped by two Grants Pass personal foul penalties in Caveman territory, including a roughing the passer that set the Panthers up at the 9.

The passing attacks took over in the waning minutes.

South Medford’s Edgar hit Andrew Walker for 13 yards, then came right back to him on a deep middle pattern that the sophomore receiver hauled in over his shoulder for 52 yards. The catch was made at the 12 and he cruised in for the go-ahead score, making it 14-7 with 1:43 left until halftime.

However, 30 seconds later, Gonzales flipped a swing pass to Haven, who caught it off his shoe tops behind the line of scrimmage and raced 72 yards up the left sideline to tie it at 14-14 at halftime.

Gonzales was 19 of 31 for 316 yards.

The Cavemen were led on the ground by Spencer Sloan, who carried 15 times for 110 yards.

Haven hauled in eight passes for 163 yards.

South Medford0141477 7 7—56

Grans Pass777147 7 6—55

GP — Brown 15 run (Anderson kick)

SM — Joe 9 run (Pannell kick)

SM — Walker 52 pass from Edgar (Pannell kick)

GP — Haven 72 pass from Gonzales (Anderson kick)

SM — Joe 6 run (Pannell kick)

SM — Cota 4 pass from Edgar (Pannell kick)

GP — Brown 6 run (Anderson kick)

SM — Samis 31 pass from Edgar (Pannell kick)

GP — Haven 8 pass from Gonzales (Anderson kick)

GP — Haven 12 pass from Gonzales (Anderson kick)

GP — Ruiz 2 run (Anderson kick)

SM — Cota 23 pass from Edgar (Pannell kick)

SM — Samis 11 run (Pannell kick)

GP — Hood 15 pass from Gonzales (Anderson kick)

GP — Brown 3 run (kick failed)

SM — Henderson 3 run (Pannell kick)

CRATER 28, EAGLE POINT 7: At Eagle Point, Crater quarterback Blake Eaton connected for three second-half touchdown passes to wideout Dawson Douglas as the Comets recorded the comeback win over Eagle Point.

In what was otherwise a defensive struggle for most of the night, the Eaton-to-Douglas connection gave the Comets (2-2) a spark on offense after they tied the game at 7-all 19 seconds before halftime on Cameron Kramer’s 7-yard fumble return.

Eagle Point (1-3) took the early lead on sophomore running back David Brown’s 39-yard touchdown run up the middle on fourth down as the Eagles capitalized on one of two first-half fumbles by Crater.

Crater took the lead four minutes into the second half when Eaton threw a looping 16-yard pass to Douglas in the front-right corner of the end zone. The two seniors made it a two-possession game with 4 1/2 minutes to go, this time with Eaton finding Douglas in the back corner of the end zone from 17 yards out.

Eaton and Douglas made it three with less than two minutes to go on a 7-yard strike.

Crater’s Caden Lasater had a pair of interceptions, including one late in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

Eagle Point’s defense made it tough for Crater’s offense to get going in the first half, recording a pair of sacks to go with the two fumble recoveries.

Crater07714—28

Eagle Point7007—7

EP — Brown 39 run (Cordle kick)

C — Kramer 7 fumble return (Eaton kick)

C — Douglas 16 pass from Eaton (Eaton kick)

C — Douglas 17 pass from Eaton (Eaton kick)

C — Douglas 7 pass from Eaton (kick)

CASCADE CHRISTIAN 37, SOUTH UMPQUA 0: At Myrtle Creek, Cascade Christian quarterback Sam Martin threw three touchdowns and running back Kristian Fralich added 122 yards on the ground to help the Challengers remain unbeaten on the season.

Two of Martin’s three TD passes went to senior wide receiver Matthew McPheeters, who finished with six receptions for 81 yards. Fralich caught the other on a 46-yard strike, finishing with a touchdown on the ground and through the air.

Martin completed 16 of his 22 pass attempts for 233 yards. He also scored Cascade Christian’s first touchdown of the night on a 1-yard run.

Cascade Christian outgained South Umpqua 384-217.

Cascade Christian714133—37

South Umpqua0000—0

CC — Martin 1 run (Knobloch kick)

CC — McPheeters 21 pass from Martin (Knobloch kick)

CC — McPheeters 9 pass from Martin (Knobloch kick)

CC — Fralich 46 pass from Martin (kick missed)

CC — Fralich 5 run (Knobloch kick)

CC — FG Knobloch 27