Panthers fall when late field goal is blocked

REDDING, Calif. — After nearly four full quarters of a defensive battle, South Medford coach Bill Singler opted for what seemed the best way to pull out a victory: kick a field goal.

But Sam McLaughlin's 30-yard attempt with five seconds remaining had little chance after a low snap and a strong rush by Foothill's defense, and the Panthers suffered their first loss of the season, 15-13, in an electric homecoming setting for the Northern California host.

"We'd been kicking the ball decently on PATs and field goals," said Singler, "and we'd already thrown a couple, three interceptions."

South is 3-1 and ranked No. 2 in Oregon. Foothill is 3-0, has won 15 straight and 26 of its last 27 games.

The clash of titans came down to the final two drives.

First, Foothill marched down and got a 28-yard field goal by Andrew Miller with 2:21 remaining to take a 15-13 lead.

The Panthers had held on a third-down pass into the end zone, batting it down.

South then took over with the game on the line.

Junior quarterback Josh Milhollin was impressive in going 19-for-38 for 329 yards and two touchdowns, both over 40 yards. He was picked off three times, twice by Marcial Lawson.

However, Milhollin marched the Panthers from their own 30 to the Foothill 13 in less than two minutes.

Milhollin made a 24-yard connection with E.J. Singler to get the drive started. A dump pass to Patrick Thibeault and a scramble by Milhollin moved the ball into Cougars territory, and another pass to E.J. Singler got the Panthers to the 15.

After a couple of plays and a run to the middle of the field to set up for field goal position, the Panthers let the clock go down to 5 seconds left before calling their final timeout.

Then came McLaughlin's attempt, which was blocked by senior cornerback Travis Hawley.

"The snap was low, it wasn't perfect," said Singler. "They rushed us pretty heavily from the left side. They had the urgency to block where we didn't have the urgency to protect."

Save a for a few big passing plays, South's offense struggled against Foothill's seven-man front until the final march.

"Without really practicing the two-minute drill much and not executing it all year, I was really proud of how we ran it," said coach Singler.

Mitch Singler had four catches for 109 yards, including a 46-yard TD pass with 6:05 left in the third quarter that put the Panthers up 13-12. E.J. Singler had five catches for 72 yards.

The Panthers were faced with stopping the "fly" offense, which isn't used often, and Bill Singler was pleased with his defense. South did not expect the Cougars to pass as well as they did, however, providing a nice complement to the ground game and a difficult matchup.

Senior T.J. Meredith of Foothill was 14 of 25 for 189 yards with one interception. He threw a 37-yard TD strike to Michael Faris on Foothill's opening drive for a quick 6-0 lead.

"They're a good team and they're used to winning," said coach Singler. "It was a great environment. They said it was the best game they've had here in two years."

South had little time to warm up prior to the game. Its bus broke down en route and the team waited 11/2 hours for a replacement.

GRANTS PASS 35, MARSHFIELD 0 — At Coos Bay, unbeaten Grants Pass exploded for 21 points in the second quarter and limited Marshfield to 57 yards on the ground in the game.

Senior running back Criss Bowen paced the Caveman attack with a team-best 117 yards rushing and one touchdown. Quarterbacks Jordy Romick and Justin Hoy combined for a 13-for-13 passing performance for 145 yards and three TDs.

The Cavemen (4-0) had 375 yards in offense, with 230 coming on the ground.

Grants Pass 0 21 7 7 — 35

Marshfield 0 0 0 0 — 0

GP — Romick 9 run (Keefe kick)

GP — Bowen 50 run (Keefe kick)

GP — Miller 14 pass from Hoy (Keefe kick)

GP — Vernoy 55 run (Keefe kick)

GP — Miller 9 pass from Hoy (Keefe kick)

Class 5A

CRATER 37, JEFFERSON 20 — At Portland, Josh Lokeno had three touchdown passes and Kenny Fahndrich had three scores as Crater defeated Jefferson.

Lokeno tossed a 62-yard touchdown pass to Josh Dalton to put the Comets on the board first in the opening quarter.

After Jefferson knotted the score 7-all, the Comets (2-2) received two straight touchdowns from Fahndrich. He hauled in a 12-yard pass from Lokeno, then found the end zone on a 3-yard run.

Lokeno finished the half with a 35-yard TD strike to Darrio Mobley to give the Comets a 28-14 lead at the intermission.

Lokeno threw for 129 yards on 9-for-14 passing and Fahndrich rushed for 60 yards on 18 carries.

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