KEIZER — Steve Turner’s first game at the helm for the North Medford football team went according to plan, and then some, as Eli Spence and the Black Tornado rolled up around 500 yards of offense and five touchdowns on the ground in marching to a 55-27 season-opening victory over McNary on Friday.
“It’s one game and we’ll enjoy it tonight but one game doesn’t make a season and come Monday, we’ll put it in our back pocket and focus on next week,” said Turner on his first win as North’s coach and his squad’s impressive start to the season.
Spence broke a long run for a touchdown on the second offensive play of the game, and that was the theme of the night for the Black Tornado. He and Josh Baptiste, who rushed for over 100 yards, had the ground attack working so effectively, the Black Tornado (1-0) needed to throw the ball just six times in the contest.
“It was a combination of the offensive line and a lot of guys running the ball,” said Turner.
“If you’re running for that many touchdowns, you have to be doing something right,” he added. “We had some explosive, long runs tonight, and it wasn’t just Eli. So we spread the ball out pretty well with different runners.”
Defensively, the Black Tornado limited McNary to around 50 yards rushing.
Jett Carpenter had two interceptions for North Medford and Baptiste also had a pick.
OREGON CITY 64, GRANTS PASS 41: At Grants Pass, quarterback Chase Coyle passed for 474 yards and four touchdowns in a losing effort for Grants Pass at Mel Ingram Stadium.
Oregon City, led by a 340-yard, five-touchdown performance from Zakaysa Dennis-Lee, jumped out to a 17-0 first-quarter lead.
The Cavemen cut the margin to 17-14 on touchdown runs by Jake Henricks and Jaren Emptage, but Dennis-Lee added three second-period touchdowns, including an 88-yard kickoff return, to give the Pioneers a 36-21 halftime lead.
Oregon City 17 19 14 14—64
Grants Pass 7 14 6 14—41
OC — Dennis-Lee 28 run (Lovell kick)
OC — Heath 28 pass from Iverson (Lovell kick)
OC — FG Lovell 34
GP — Henricks 3 run (Pendleton kick)
GP —Emptage 43 run (Pendleton kick)
OC — Dennis-Lee 65 run (Lovell kick)
OC — Dennis-Lee 4 run (kick failed)
GP — Clark 64 pass from Coyle (Pendleton kick)
OC — Dennis-Lee 88 kickoff return (kick blocked)
GP — Clark 16 pass from Coyle (kick failed)
OC — Dennis-Lee 4 run (Lovell kick)
OC — Iverson 7 run (Lovell kick)
OC — Manassero 1 run (Lovell kick)
GP — Clark 60 pass from Coyle (Pendleton kick)
OC — Iverson 22 run (Lovell kick)
GP — Lopez 29 pass from Coyle (Pendleton kick)
ASHLAND 21, WILLAMETTE 12: At Ashland, DaMario Watson scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter and had an interception to set up another score as the Grizzlies won their season opener at Walter A. Phillips Field.
The Wolverines (0-1) scored all of their points in the third quarter, with quarterback Damein Kirkpatrick throwing a pair of touchdown passes within a 31/2-minute span to give Willamette its first lead of the night.
Watson’s 32-yard burst through the center of the line set up his 6-yard touchdown run that put Ashland ahead 15-12 with 10:42 remaining in the game. The key score happened soon after Grizzlies punter Brett Stone tucked the ball under his arm and rushed for 13 yards and a first down, allowing the Grizzlies to keep their drive alive.
Watson rushed for 150 yards on 19 carries, and Ashland quarterback Rieger Sayre completed 18 of 32 passes for 184 yards.
WILSONVILLE 53, CRATER 21: At Central Point, Crater struck first but Wilsonville responded with seven consecutive touchdowns as the Comets fell in their opener at Dutch Meyer Field.
Gavin Acrey put the Comets (0-1) on the scoreboard first with a 40-yard touchdown run and streaked 96 yards on a kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
The Comets’ Ethan Scott added an 80-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
EAGLE POINT 35, KLAMATH UNION 28: At Klamath Falls, Noah Page scored three touchdowns, all of 65 yards or more, to lead the Eagles to the season-opening nonleague victory.
Page scored on a 70-yard reception after catching a pass from Cameron Morgan in the second quarter. He added a 69-yard run in the third and a 65-yard reception early in the fourth.
Page finished with three receptions for 144 yards and six rushes for 111 yards.
Morgan completed 7 of 15 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns.