In all the hubbub over South Medford’s homecoming triumph over Grants Pass last Friday, one element of the night went unnoticed until further review over the weekend.
While senior Jaylin Parnell’s five-touchdown performance was one of the most notable — and clutch — the Panthers have enjoyed in quite a while as he helped power his team to a 40-21 victory, there was more to it than that.
The four touchdown runs by the 6-foot, 200-pound tailback tied a school record that has stood for 23 years. Parnell had TD runs of 4 and 11 yards in the first quarter, 1 yard in the second quarter and 4 yards in the fourth quarter to tie the single-game rushing touchdown record set by Derrick Vaughn in 1994 against Mazama.
Parnell’s five TDs in a game are also believed to be a school record, but South Medford has not kept track of that overall statistic since the school began playing football in 1986.
“I’m thankful for the offensive line and for (South Medford head coach Bill Singler) giving the ball to me,” Parnell said after the game. “What more can I ask for? That was fun.”
Parnell rushed for 118 yards on 26 carries against the Cavemen, pushing his season total through six weeks to 509 yards and 10 rushing TDs on 89 carries. He has also caught 18 passes for 204 yards and three scores, and with his 43-yard interception return for a touchdown against GP, he now has 14 TDs overall for a team-best 84 points.
Parnell was the Southwest Conference’s defensive player of the year last season and shared SWC offensive player of the year honors with Panthers quarterback Robbie Patterson.
“He’s the best football player I’ve ever played with and seen,” Patterson said after Parnell’s big effort against GP. “He’s just a guy that does everything right and is just always going 100 percent. He played almost every single snap tonight, and just having a guy out there like that who cares so much, that shows just his love for the game and for his team.”
Patterson had his own hand in Parnell’s second rushing TD after the latter took a snap in wildcat formation at the Grants Pass 11-yard line, dipped inside behind a block from senior fullback Trent Snyder and, after another cut, got one last obstacle cleared by Patterson.
“I was just kind of out there,” Patterson said with a laugh. “I knew he was bouncing it outside and I saw the safety there and I just threw a little block and he scored. It felt like I was back in Pop Warner again.”
THE VAUGHN NAME has continued to come up locally, most recently with the play of Derrick Vaughn’s daughter Alyssa, who is a senior outside hitter for the Cascade Christian volleyball team.
After transferring from South Medford High, Alyssa Vaughn has evolved into a key piece of the puzzle for the defending Class 3A state champion Challengers. Cascade Christian entered this past weekend with a 16-1 record but found itself in a bind when Vaughn went down with a knee injury during the second set of what turned into a four-set loss to Santiam Christian.
The Challengers, however, were able to rebound and earn a five-set win over Salem Academy, with sophomore Olivia Borg stepping into Vaughn’s slot to complement the already steady play of junior outside hitter Caroline McMahon.
Cascade Christian head coach Rob Kleker said Vaughn’s outlook for the season will become more clear after she gets an MRI on her knee later this week.
CRATER’S HISTORY of top-tier cross country and distance runners has been well-documented but continues to take the spotlight with the school’s hosting of the fourth annual Max King Invitational, which takes place at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson County Expo in Central Point.
The flat, fast 5,000-meter course features special prizes for the Keyser Mile and Tyerman 2-Mile markers. The first boy and girl reaching the 1-mile marker, named for former standout Jake Keyser, will receive a special long-sleeved shirt and the first boy and girl to reach the 2-mile marker, named for Kayleigh Tyerman, will also get a prize.
The marquee part of Wednesday’s 19-team event stands to be the boys race, which begins at 5:40 p.m. and will feature a host of Comets trying to pin a season-first loss on Ashland sophomore runner E.J. Holland, who won the recent State of Jefferson meet in a record 15 minutes, 29 seconds.
Holland was third at the Max King Invitational last year after finishing behind Crater’s Andy Monroe and Derek Tripp but has finished first in every race he’s run this season.
Monroe, still making strides in his recovery from a foot injury suffered at last year’s 5A state track and field meet, missed this past weekend while taking a college visit to Stanford University, but Tripp set a steady pace in leading the Comets to the top four spots at the Hidden Valley Mustang Invitational at Valley of the Rogue State Park.
On Saturday, Tripp won in 16:24.92 and was followed in order by senior Erik Olsen (16:28.67), junior Jantz Tostenson (16:29.28) and sophomore Gage Reed (16:38.92).
Crater’s top marks this season came at the Nike Portland XC on Sept. 30, when Monroe finished in 15:34.2, Tripp in 15:43.0, Tostenson 15:43.3 and Olsen 15:59.1.
“I think it will be a good race Wednesday between Ashland’s E.J. Holland and our boys,” said Crater head coach Justin Loftus. “It should be fun.”
— Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry