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PREP FOOTBALL: North Medford staves off Liberty for road win

HILLSBORO — North Medford knew its best plan this season was to put the ball in the hands of playmakers Bryce Dyer and AJ Pugliano and let them do what they do.

That recipe certainly played out in the Black Tornado’s favor Friday, with Dyer and Pugliano each coming up with big plays to propel North Medford to a 31-27 road win over Liberty.

Dyer scored on a pair of touchdown passes from Mason Warren and added two interceptions — including the game-clincher with four seconds to play — and Pugliano scored the winning TD with 3:47 to play after Liberty had taken the lead following a 20-0 surge in the fourth quarter.

Unofficially, Dyer finished with six catches for 121 yards and Pugliano had five catches for 114 yards to spur the Black Tornado (2-1), which saw Warren pass for 247 yards on 14 completions.

Brandon Dominguez provided the first score for North with a 22-yard field goal, but Liberty answered with a 1-yard run by quarterback Hiro Diamond and held that 7-3 advantage into halftime.

In the third quarter, Dyer took the game over with a 49-yard catch and run that saw him take a short pass from Warren, juke his defender and race untouched into the end zone.

On the ensuing possession, Dyer made a falling interception of a Diamond pass to give North the ball back at midfield. A 31-yard double-reverse pass to Pugliano quickly put the Tornado in scoring position, and Dyer capped the drive with an 8-yard TD catch to make it 17-7.

North Medford forced a fumble on the next drive by Liberty (2-2) and Warren again found Dyer for a 37-yard gain to the 12-yard line. Ty Pugliano did the damage from there with a determined TD run that made it 24-7 with 11:24 to go in the game.

Liberty, however, had no designs of going away easily.

Diamond led the Falcons on three consecutive scoring drives to regain the lead for his team, with the senior QB running for two TDs and passing for another to give Liberty a 27-24 edge.

Undaunted, North answered right away when AJ Pugliano took an innocent pass in the flat and turned it into a 52-yard score after shoving away a pair of Liberty defenders to break loose.

The Black Tornado had to make a pair of late defensive stands to secure the win, much like a week ago against Sherwood, with the defensive line forcing Diamond to escape the pocket time and again.

Liberty eventually managed to get down to the North 23-yard line with 14 seconds to play but an incomplete pass and then Dyer’s goal-line interception sealed the victory.

Ty Pugliano ran for 43 yards on 11 carries for a North squad that erupted for most of its yards after the half. The Tornado had only 56 total yards in the first half and finished with 323.

Diamond passed for 278 yards and was a key cog in the Falcons’ ability to run for 143.

North Medford301414—31

Liberty70020—27

NM — FG Dominguez 22

L — Diamond 1 run (kick good)

NM — Dyer 49 pass from Warren (Dominguez kick)

NM — Dyer 8 pass from Warren (Dominguez kick)

NM — T. Pugliano 12 run (Dominguez kick)

L — Diamond 10 run (kick good)

L — Diamond 3 run (kick failed)

L — 7 pass from Diamond (kick good)

NM — AJ Pugliano 52 pass from Warren (Dominguez kick)

GRANTS PASS 28, SHASTA 20: At Grants Pass, Grants Pass put up an inspired goal-line stand to preserve its first victory of the season and stave off hard-charging Shasta.

Jace Blanchard was 10-for-18 for 167 yards and two touchdowns for the Cavemen (1-3). He linked up with Jayce Jordan from 4 yards out to put the Cavemen up 28-20 with about four minutes remaining before Shasta marched down the field and was denied a potential game-tying score after turning the ball over on downs with 20 seconds remaining.

Jackson Tunick had five catches for 124 yards and a touchdown for Grants Pass, while Asher Yriarte carried the ball eight times for 61 yards and a TD. Trevor Reeves going for 56 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

Shasta0777—20

Grants Pass7687—28

GP — Tunick 71 pass from Blanchard (Anderson kick)

GP — Yriate 38 run (kick failed)

S — Guillory 22 run (Fleming kick)

S — Guillory 3 run (Braxton kick)

GP — Reeves 12 run (Hart pass from Blanchard)

S — Wilkes 18 run (kick blocked)

GP — Jordan 4 pass from Blanchard (Anderson kick)

CRATER 28, SPRINGFIELD 6: At Springfield, Crater senior running back Caden Lasater scored a pair of touchdowns to lead the Comets to a Midwestern League win over Springfield.

Crater (3-1, 3-0 MWL) went up 7-0 at the 7:20 mark in the second quarter after 20-yard pass from Javon Smith to Lasater. Minutes later, Crater doubled its advantage on a fumble recovery at the 2-yard line by lineman Justin Brehm after Tony Downes forces the fumble with a quarterback sack.

Springfield cut its deficit to 14-6 before Lasater struck again in the third quarter on a 5-yard run and then Smith closed out the win with a 9-yard TD run.

Crater01477—28

Springfield0600—6

C — Lasater 20 pass from Smith (Perez kick)

C — Brehm 2 fumble return (Perez kick)

S — Lomeli 26 fumble return (Lemley pass fail)

C — Lasater 5 run (Perez kick)

C — Smith 9 run (Perez kick)

MAZAMA 21, EAGLE POINT 20: At Klamath Falls, Eagle Point led for much of the second half, but saw Class 4A Mazama go ahead with four seconds left on a short touchdown run by Aidan Kindt and Treyce Horton’s successful PAT.

Eagle Point (2-2) — which has lost both games this season by a combined eight points — took a 21-14 lead in the third quarter on Isaiah Hill’s 4-yard touchdown run up the middle.

The Eagles earlier cut the Vikings’ lead to 14-13 late in the second quarter on a 27-yard TD pass from quarterback Caiden Lacey to Anthony Milian, but were unsuccessful on a fake kick on the PAT.

Mazama (2-2) took an early 7-0 on Kindt’s first rushing touchdown of the night, but Eagle Point tied the game on Lacey’s 59-yard pass to Jimmie Copeland.

Eagle Point01370—20

Mazama7707—21

M — Kindt 6 run (Horton kick)

EP — Copeland 59 pass from Lacey (Cordle kick)

M — Anderson 1 run (Horton kick)

EP — Milian 27 pass from Lacey (run failed)

EP — Hill 4 run (Cordle kick)

M— Kindt 3 run (Horton kick)

CHURCHILL 32, ASHLAND 0: At Ashland, Churchill running back Austin Mills rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Lancers over Ashland at Walter A. Phillips Field.

Churchill (2-2, 2-1 MWL) held a 12-0 lead at halftime thanks to a 58-yard touchdown pass from Chace Pence to Riley Van Camp and the first of Mills’ three trips to the end zone.

Mills added touchdown runs of 13 and 21 yards in the second half.

Pence finished 15-for-26 for 221 yards and a touchdown, while Van Camp caught a pair of passes for 87 yards. Henry Pence had six catches for 66 yards. Ashland running back Gavin White rushed for 59 yards on nine carries.

The Grizzlies (0-3, 0-2) were outgained 406-182 by the Lancers.

Churchill012713—21

Ashland0000—0

C — Van Camp 58 pass from C. Pence (kick failed)

C — Mills 2 run (run failed)

C — Mills 13 run (H. Pence kick)

C — Mills 21 run (H. Pence kick)

C — Peck 6 run (kick failed)

ST. MARY’S 43, HARRISBURG 14: At Harrisburg, St. Mary’s Beau Aldrich and Indiana Olson punched in two rushing touchdowns apiece and the defense stood pat with three shutout quarters.

The Crusaders also capitalized on defense with a couple of touchdowns — the first was a 23-yard fumble return by Seth Baker that pushed the score to 13-0 in the first quarter and Gavin Cougle’s 30-yard interception return that capped the scoring for St. Mary’s (3-1) in the third.

Aldrich, who had 10 carries for 54 yards, also provided a pair of sacks on the defensive side as did Rex Smith for St. Mary’s, which collected five as a team. Olson had five totes for 30 yards while quarterback Eli Haynes was 9-for-14 for 101 yards.

The defeat dropped Harrisburg 0-3 on the season.

St. Mary’s1316140—43

Harrisburg00014—14

SM — Aldrich 5 run (Cougle kick)

SM — Baker 23 fumble return (kick failed)

SM — Olson 13 run Olson (Cougle kick)

SM — Aldrich 5 run (Cougle kick)

SM — Safety, snap out of back of end zone (Cougle kick)

SM — Olson 8 run (Cougle kick)

SM — Cougle 30 interception return (Cougle kick)

H — Davis 91 pass from Lidbeck (conversion failed)

H — Davis 70 pass from Lidbeck (Lidbeck run)

REEDSPORT 45, ROGUE RIVER 6: At Reedsport, Rogue River running back Said McWillie rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown but Rogue River squandered its early opportunities with four first half turnovers on the road.

Rogue River’s record dropped to 1-2 on the season.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's AJ Pugliano secures the ball making a catch for a 50-yard score against Sherwood on Sept. 17.