Sep. 3—If South Medford was looking to make a statement in its season opener, the Panthers sure didn't waste time doing it.
The Panthers stormed out of the gate Friday night, scoring touchdowns on their first six possessions to dominate host Beaverton, 41-0, and secure their first shutout in four years.
"It was a total team effort," said South Medford head coach Bill Singler. "The defense played well and stood up and got a shutout and the offense, we talked about execution and you can't execute any better than that, scoring on your first six possessions.
"Guys were doing their job and weren't trying to do too much. It was kind of the 'you can count on me' game."
Best of all, South Medford (1-0) did it the old-fashioned way, using a strong push from its linemen on both sides of the ball to control play and then letting its playmakers go to work against the Beavers (0-1).
Senior receiver Andrew Walker scored two first-half touchdowns and unofficially finished with four catches for 138 yards, while junior running back Ryder Scheid totaled 113 rushing yards on 13 carries with one TD to lead the way for South Medford.
"It's not going to be throw the ball 50 times," said Singler, whose team didn't attempt a single pass in the second half. "We're at our best when we can run and pass and are keeping teams off-balance."
"What I liked about Ryder is he was running downhill into the hole and then breaking to the right or left depending on vision," he added. "I thought he had a really nice game running the football and our line was great."
The Panthers set the tone from the get-go, marching 80 yards on an opening drive built almost entirely on the ground.
With strong blocking and decisive running by Scheid, South Medford quickly got into Beaverton territory. The lone pass of the drive — a 17-yard completion from quarterback Deacon Edgar to fellow senior Ty Henry — put the Panthers on the edge of the red zone and Walker later scooted in from the 7-yard line for his first score.
Beaverton seemed destined for an answer but on a fourth-and-3 play from the Panthers' 37, Grant McDowell tried to slip through the middle but junior defensive tackle Makani Manuwai swallowed him up for a 1-yard loss.
"We knew Makani would give us some real juice in there because he's a football player," said Singler. "The poor kid had to sit out last year but he's gotten himself healthy and he's got a real nose for the football. I think everyone else on the (defensive line), because of his work ethic and his personality and how he plays, it just improves their level of play as well.
"It was great to see Makani back on the field, he looked so happy, because it's been a long year for him."
Friday's effort marked the first shutout for South Medford since a 35-0 win over North Medford on Oct. 26, 2018.
The Panthers forced two defensive turnovers — an end zone interception by Josh Phillips and forced fumble by Jacob Dalton — and limited Beaverton to 144 total yards in the first half.
"I'm really proud of our defense," said Singler. "They tackled better and had some nice coverage. Phillips made a really nice interception in the end zone, and I thought all in all the defense stepped up in the red zone when they were driving a couple times."
"I can't remember our last shutout," he added, "so that was kinda nice to see our kids be rewarded with a shutout."
Walker's second TD came on a 59-yard reception from Edgar, who added a 1-yard scoring run on the third series. After Scheid scored on a 1-yard run, Edgar found Phillips for a 34-yard touchdown strike to make it 35-0.
In limited use, Edgar completed 9 of 11 passes for 226 yards and two TDs with no interceptions.
The second half was with a running clock, and South Medford's reserves played the final quarter.
Will Greenwood scored the Panthers' final TD on a 4-yard run in the third quarter.
"I thought our guys really came to play," said Singler. "We challenged them on the road to come out and play as a team, and they did in every phase — special teams, offense and defense — so that gives us a lot to build on."
SM — Walker 7 run (Dufour kick)
SM — Walker 59 pass from Edgar (Dufour kick)
SM — Edgar 1 run (Dufour kick)
SM — Scheid 1 run (Dufour kick)
SM — Phillips 34 pass from Edgar (Dufour kick)
SM — Greenwood 4 run (kick blocked)
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