Southern Oregon Heat quarterback David Douglas, right, tries to elude a -City defender in Thursday?s game at the Jackson County Expo Park. - Photo by Drew Fleming

    -City too much for Heat

    CENTRAL POINT — An early touchdown typically doesn't mean much in the high-octane scheme of indoor football, but it meant everything for the Southern Oregon Heat on Thursday night.

    -City's Charles Verdone stepped in front of a David Douglas pass on the fourth play of the game, raced 20 yards to paydirt and the Diesel never looked back in steamrolling the Heat, 47-10, in front of 2,183 at the Inferno. From that point on, Douglas worked to atone for the early miscue to no avail. He turned the ball over three more times with two fumbles and a second interception.

    I guess I was trying to make too much happen, said the quarterback. I need to rely more on the other guys, and I didn't do a very good job of that, especially in the first half.

    Douglas received a break in the second half when his third fumble of the game was knocked over the dasher boards and out of play. The converted wide receiver was frustrated with the Heat's inability to avenge an early-season, 49-35 loss to the Diesel in Kearney, Neb.

    I came in feeling like I could do some real good things against this team, and I made a bad throw and they took it in for six points. Then it just built from there, said Douglas, who completed 6 of 19 passes for 103 yards.

    Definitely, this wasn't one to hang your hat on.

    -City (2-3) played a large part in handcuffing the Heat (1-3), with Maurice Addison and David Stricklin routinely snuffing Southern Oregon's ground game. Douglas? scrambling ability — which was a luxury in last week's win over Sioux City, Iowa — was completely negated thanks to the Diesel's sure-handed tackling. Our people in the trenches really controlled things for us, said -City coach Leland Skeen. And any time you?re on the road, one of the big things you want to do is get the crowd out of it early, and (Verdone's interception) did it. The defense really stepped up early.

    -City's Dale VanHousen made a big splash in his return to the field after a two-week absence, rushing 10 times for 67 yards and a 21-yard TD that put the Diesel ahead 25-10 early in the second quarter.

    We've got to have VanHousen in the backfield for us, said Skeen. He can just do so many things for us. Having him back on the field was probably the big difference, especially since Reggie (Boyd) wasn't here.

    Boyd, the Diesel's top runner, and starting linebacker Brad Kjar were nursing injuries in Nebraska and did not make the trip to Oregon.

    The Diesel more than made up for their absence, however, with quarterback Adam Lane hooking up with Trevor Weston for three touchdowns and Addison tackling Douglas in the end zone for a safety.

    Lane went 12-for-19 for 136 yards, while Weston hauled in TD passes of 45, 10 and 6 yards for his only receptions.

    Even when something went wrong for the Diesel, it still seemed to turn out all right. Derrick Kennedy was swarmed over by the Heat on a run toward the end zone and coughed the ball up at the 2-yard-line, only to have the fumble take one bounce into the arms of Tyrone Thomas for the only TD in the second half.

    We got all the breaks, said Skeen. Good ball teams are going to force some of those breaks, but we got more than our share.

    If you want to be a championship team, you have to be able to take advantage of what the other teams give you, and we did that tonight. We're really starting to put things together.

    Trailing 9-3, Southern Oregon appeared to be mounting a rally when John Acosta's 35-yard field goal sailed through the uprights in the first quarter. But when the Diesel was flagged for being offside, Heat coach Eric Vanderwegen gambled and took the points off the board. Adam Bolling sacked Douglas two plays later and Stricklin fell on his fumble with 4:40 on the clock.

    Jeremy Jensen drilled his second field goal of the game on the ensuing series to make it 12-3 at the end of the first quarter.

    Well, with 20-20 hindsight, I guess that was a bad choice wasn't it, Vanderwegen said. I really felt like we could get a first down and go down and punch one in for a score, but we just couldn't get it rolling.

    The Heat failed to score in the second half for the second time at home this season, and has only three points in three games at the Inferno during the home stretch.

    Southern Oregon's lone touchdown Thursday came on a 10-yard connection from Douglas to Duane Patterson.

    I really thought our offense was going to have a breakout night tonight against these guys, said Vanderwegen. We missed a lot of opportunities. It was all out there for us but we just couldn't take advantage.

    Southern Oregon will hit the road for next week's divisional game against the Yakima Shockwave, which beat the Heat 27-21 in the season-opener. We've got to go up there and get a win in Yakima, said Vanderwegen. That's a must-win for us now. Our backs are kind of against the wall like they were last week, and it was good motivation last week, so maybe that's what we need.

    At the Inferno
    -City Diesel........................12 28 0 7 — 47 Southern Oregon Heat...........3 7 0 0 — 10
    TC — Verdone 20 yard INT return (kick failed) SO — Acosta 16 FG TC — Jensen 25 FG TC — Jensen 17 FGTC — Weston 45 pass from Lane (Jensen kick) SO ?Patterson 10 pass from Douglas (Acosta kick)TC — VanHousen 21 run (kick failed) TC — Safety, Addison tackles Douglas in end zone TC — Weston 10 pass from Lane (Jensen kick) TC — Weston 6 pass from Lane (kick failed) TC — T. Thomas 2 run (Jensen kick)

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