BANDON — The city of Bandon had to cancel the annual Cranberry Festival because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but the Tigers still were able to celebrate a Cranberry Bowl victory.
Bandon beat Central Linn 29-6 on the weekend normally set aside for the city’s festival.
For the second straight week, the Tigers shined on defense enough to overcome offensive miscues, building on last week’s shutout victory at Sheridan.
“I think our offense could have done a lot better,” Bandon quarterback Reef Berry said. “So many mistakes. So many turnovers.
“We need to work on our passing. Once everything clicks, we will be moving the ball down the field.”
The turnover bug was particularly rough for Bandon in the first half against Central Linn.
The Tigers lost a fumble at Central Linn’s goal line early in the game and one at the Cobras’ 20 a little later. And Berry's interception early in the second quarter led to Central Linn’s only score.
The Cobras took advantage of the short field and Dyllon Isom scored on a fourth-and-one run from the 6-yard line at the 10:15 mark of the second quarter.
The Tigers stuffed the conversion run, but Central Linn had a 6-0 lead.
Bandon answered on the ensuing drive, with Berry racing around the end on a quarterback keeper for a 24-yard score. Eli Freitag’s conversion run gave the Tigers an 8-6 lead and they were in front the rest of the way.
“That was just me fixing my mistake,” Berry said of the earlier interception by Central Linn.
It appeared the score would be 8-6 at halftime, but Berry intercepted an errant throw by Isom and returned the pick 35 yards for a touchdown. Chris Butler’s conversion run made it 16-6.
The second half was largely dominated by Bandon’s defense, which repeatedly got strong penetration by the line to stymie various Central Linn running plays.
The Cobras’ best chance came after a second interception thrown by Berry and intercepted by Central Linn’s Cole Geracke. Central Linn started on Bandon’s 19 and went backwards hampered by two penalties and two others plays stopped by the Tigers behind the line of scrimmage. By the time Creswell punted, it was fourth-and-43.
“The defense is solid,” Bandon coach Jordan Sammons said. “The only time they scored was when the offense put them in a bad spot. We knew we had a bunch of guys that like to hit.
“It’s getting that offense to execute.”
The Tigers did score twice in the fourth quarter.
Butler pulled several would-be tacklers into the end zone on a 15-yard scoring run a little over a minute into the quarter and Cooper Lang sprinted down the sideline for a 38-yard score with just under 2 minutes to go. Tristan Radcliffe kicked the extra point following the final touchdown, thrilling the Cranberry Bowl crowd.
Sammons said he likes the push the Tigers have been getting from their line up front and the variety of weapons who can run the ball, also including Eli Freitag and Denver Blackwell.
“It’s early,” he said. “We are trying some things out to see what is going to work.
“We’re excited for sure. When we clean some things up, we will be OK.”
One thing he hasn’t had to worry about is attitude.
“We’ve got a good culture,” he said, adding that the players “are buying into the team atmosphere.”
The Tigers jump into league play on Friday when they visit Rogue River.