South Medford used a little help from an unexpected source and a few more-heralded football players to ease past Roseburg for a 33-12 triumph on homecoming night Friday at Spiegelberg Stadium.
Senior quarterback Giovanni Bottero passed for three touchdowns — two to little-targeted senior receiver Trevor Marthoski — and the combination of senior Terrence Butler and juniors Mason DeVries and Austin Boster were dependable as usual to open Southwest Conference play.
Bottero finished 15-for-17 passing for 178 yards and the three scores to help the Panthers improve to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in SWC action.
“Obviously it’s been nice getting into a groove with all my receivers,” said the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder. “On all those completions, it’s all 11 guys on the field coming together and doing the job and that results in a high completion percentage for us right now.”
On this night, however, it was Marthoski stepping into the spotlight with a 46-yard touchdown reception to open the scoring on South Medford’s first drive, and a 32-yard TD catch that boosted the Panthers to a 26-6 edge with 3:20 to go in the third quarter.
“Trevor is one of those guys who will go out and get the job done,” said Bottero. “I think he only had one reception before tonight (good for 33 yards two weeks ago against McMinnville) and I’m glad I could find him twice in the end zone.”
With Boster positioned as one of the leading receivers in the conference and speedy seniors Trent DeBoer and Adam Nanez also in the mix, Marthoski was able to catch Roseburg (1-5, 0-2 SWC) off guard on each TD catch. Marthoski finished with three catches for 91 yards.
“He’s just getting in holes that guys aren’t in and we’re throwing the ball to him,” said Bottero.
All in all, it was that kind of an unusual night for the Panthers, who were a little flat overall — especially on defense — and seemed to play a different game than usual.
Some of that difference worked in South Medford’s favor, especially with Butler and DeVries grinding out good runs against the Indians and Bottero opting to play a little closer to the vest with his passes on this night. Butler wound up rushing 15 times for 78 yards and DeVries carried nine times for 30 yards, with the end result being time-consuming drives throughout the night.
“They hogged the ball a little bit, unlike South Medford, really,” said Roseburg head coach Dave Heuberger. “Normally they get down and score right away but they hogged the ball and we couldn’t get our offense on the field in that first quarter. Credit to them and them being patient.”
South Medford head coach Bill Singler said some of that patience could also have been pegged on his team’s lethargy during a week with a lot of outside distractions.
“It’s one of these kind of trap games,” said Singler, who also had high praise for Roseburg’s play. “You’ve got a big game looming (next Friday against Sheldon), you have homecoming and there’s a lot of distraction going on, but we didn’t play with any emotion — especially in the first half — and that’s on me. We’ve got to be better.”
Roseburg wound up posting more total yards (390-293), although DeVries and an ill-fated fake punt attempt in the third quarter supplied South with short fields to work with.
After the Indians trimmed their deficit to 12-6 on a 79-yard TD pass from Collin Warmouth to D’Angelo Adams on a simple screen pass to the sideline, the Panthers needed a spark and DeVries supplied it with a 49-yard kickoff return to the Roseburg 26-yard line. A few plays later, Boster went up over his defender on third-and-15 to haul in a momentum-changing 20-yard TD that put his team up 19-6.
“To answer the bell was huge, and we’ve done that a couple times this year, which is nice,” said Singler. “It shows maturity on the team and no panic. That did change momentum to help us score there and go up two scores going into halftime.”
After Roseburg’s second score — a 7-yard run by Warmouth midway through the fourth quarter — DeVries came up big again with an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for the final tally.
“Our special teams has been decent all year, I’ve been really proud of our special teams,” said Singler. “We got the punt return by Austin Boster last week and this week we get Devries on the kickoff return. We have good skill kids and it’s nice to see them making plays in the kicking game.”
After a season of being ecstatic with his team’s defensive effort, Singler wasn’t as complimentary this time around as missed tackles and an inability to wrap up allowed Roseburg to extend its drives. Warmouth wound up running 13 times for 94 yards and Zack Mandera had 17 carries for 116 yards, with Warmouth also completing 8 of 16 passes for 181 yards.
“That was just one of the poorest tackling days we’ve had, which is discouraging,” said Singler. “There’s a lot of things we need to clean up because our toughest games are looming. We’ll chalk it up as a victory but we’ve still got to go back and continue to preach our fundamentals in blocking and tackling because we’re going to need them to surface in the next couple weeks.”
“But you’ve also got to give Roseburg credit,” added the coach. “I’m impressed with Heuberger and what he’s done up there the last couple years. He’s just improved the team immensely over two years ago, and Warmouth is a hell of an athlete and Mandera is really a tough guy.”
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry