Running hard

Coquille’s Waylon Messerle tries to break a tackle by Reedsport’s Tristin Corrie during Monday’s game.

 

COQUILLE — When Coquille’s football team returned to practice to prepare for its first game in nearly 40 days because of COVID-19 challenges, assistant coach Jake Cochran told head coach David Thomason that he felt sorry for whoever the Red Devils played first.

It turned out that foe was Reedsport, and on Monday night, the Red Devils ran over the visiting Brave 56-6.

“We’ve been cooped up and we were ready to get out,” Thomason said after the win.

The ongoing pandemic led to Creswell canceling a game with the Red Devils in the second week of the season and Coquille canceling three more because of issues within their own school.

The lost weeks have put Coquille in a questionable spot for the postseason even though the team hasn’t lost a game on the field — canceled dates with Lakeview and Illinois Valley were considered league forfeits.

Thomason said he wasn’t worried about that, but rather focused on a short turnaround before hosting Rogue River on Friday night.

“We’re just happy to be playing football,” he said. “We’re playing games now. Everything is right with the world again.”

The Red Devils overwhelmed Reedsport with their speedy offensive attack and a tough defense.

“We came out with something to prove and we got after it,” Thomason said.

Coquille led 34-0 by the end of the first quarter and scored a few moments into the second quarter to pass the threshold that led to a running clock for the second half.

Reedsport coach Bill Shaw was complimentary of the Red Devils after the contest.

“This is the toughest team we’ve faced this year,” he said. “Gunner (Yates) has great speed.”

Yates regularly broke free for long runs on the outside and teammate Brock Willis was similarly effective in the first half. Both only played a few snaps on offense the second half, but the rest of the team kept the ball moving just as well.

“Not only did our varsity play good, our JV and reserves did, too,” Thomason said.

The result was the big lead early and a near shutout by Coquille’s physical defense.

Reedsport got its lone score on the final play of the third quarter when Aaron Solomon got across the goal line. The Red Devils had stopped a drive by the Brave moments earlier, but handed the ball back to Reedsport with a turnover near their own goal line.

Coquille has regularly made the playoffs in the recent past, while Reedsport has shown signs of great improvement this fall after a couple of down seasons.

The Brave were much more competitive in their losses to Monroe and Bandon, the latter a 14-7 setback to the Tigers a week earlier.

“I’m proud of my kids,” Shaw said. “They’ve come a long way trying to rebuild a program.”

The success on the field is paying off at the lower levels, with about 20 kids out for the junior high (seventh and eighth grade) teams and another 20 in the fifth/sixth grade program, Shaw said.

Coquille, meanwhile, will look for more efforts like Monday’s as the Red Devils look to get into the playoff picture.

“We came out with something to prove (tonight),” Thomason said. “They got after it.”

 

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