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Bandon’s football team showed its defensive prowess, starting the season with a 32-0 win at Sheridan on Friday.

“Defensively, we were solid,” said Bandon assistant Jordan Sammons. “We have a talented group of returners along with guys stepping up in new positions.

“The main thing was we had 11 guys flying to the ball every play and our defense isn’t afraid to be physical. Whether it’s our starters or guys who are part of the rotation, we have guys capable of making some soli plays on the defensive end and they did it all night.”

Bandon got off to a solid start on offense, with Reef Berry connecting with Cooper Lang for a score, Lang having a rushing touchdown and Berry scoring on a run as time expired to give the Tigers an 18-0 lead at the break.

In the second half, Denver Blackwell fell on a ball that Eli Freitag fumbled at the end of a run near the goal line for a score and then Blackwell caught a touchdown pass from Berry for the final score.

“It was a good first game for us,” Sammons said. “We executed fairly well at time, but definitely have some things we need to clean up.”

He said first-game jitters and players in new positions led to several miscues, including a number of turnovers within Sheridan’s 30-yard line.

“That’s definitely an area that we have to get better in so we can finish those drives,” Sammons said.

The Tigers host Central Linn on Friday in their final preseason game.

RED DEVILS TOP OAKLAND: Coquille overcame a tough challenge from Oakland to win its season opener 20-12 on Friday, behind three long rushing touchdowns by Gunner Yates.

The senior speedster had the only score of the first half on a 62-yard run in the first quarter, with fullback Brock Willis adding the conversion run.

Oakland scored in the third on a 14-yard run by Jayden Henry, but Yates responded with a 58-yard run.

The Oakers pulled within two points again in the fourth quarter on a 35-yard run by Henry, but again failed to convert the extra point and Yates rounded out the scoring with a 50-yard scamper.

“This was a real battle,” Coquille coach David Thomason said. “Oakland is a top 2A team this year and they came to play.

“There was a lot of hard hitting on both sides. I’m sure it was a great game to watch — it was a bit nerve-wracking to coach.”

Thomason added that while Yates had the touchdowns, Willis had a number of strong runs, converting several first downs to keep the Red Devils in possession.

Yates also had several key stops on defense, but the entire squad played well, Thomason said.

“I really couldn’t be prouder of our guys,” he said. “The (offensive) and (defensive) lines played great, too.”

Coquille is home again Friday against Creswell before opening league play at Lakeview.

POWERS WINS: The Cruisers celebrated their return to fielding their own football team with a 39-6 win over the combined Butte Falls-Prospect squad on Friday.

The Cruisers haven’t had their own team the past two seasons, with the Cruisers having cooperative agreements with North Bend in 2019-20 and Myrtle Point in 2020-21.

Now they have seven freshmen to go with a few veterans.

“We have an excited bunch of young boys playing football in Powers,” said Matt Shorb, who is coaching the team with Kayne Pedrick. “They have a good mix of abilities and they are working hard.”

Friday’s opener was tied until late in the first half, when the Cruisers scored on a pass from Rene’ Sears to Charlie Shorb.

The Cruisers led 13-0 when Prospect got its lone score in the third, but then things shifted in the favor of Powers. Sears returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown and then Prospect fumbled the next kickoff, with Braden Bushnell recovering the fumble. Sears connected with Talon Blanton on a touchdown and the Cruisers were in control the rest of the way.

While the majority of the roster is freshmen, both Michael Pedrick and Alex Mahmoud are juniors who played each of the past two years, first with North Bend and then Myrtle Point. Charlie Shorb is a sophomore who also played with Myrtle Point last year.

“We’re not all inexperienced,” Matt Shorb said. “We have a little balance.”

The best news, though, is Powers finally has a number of male athletes in the school after the enrollment was low the past few years.

“It’s boding well for the future,” Matt Shorb said. “The guys are working hard and they’re young and it’s going to be a fun group.”

The Cruisers visit Elkton on Friday for their second game.

BRAVE, BOBCATS FALL: Reedsport, which is again in the same Class 2A league with Coquille and Bandon this year, came up short in its opener Friday, falling 26-8 at Monroe.

The Brave have tough tests the next two weeks against Class 3A schools Amity (on the road) and Douglas (at home) as they get ready for the league season.

Myrtle Point, meanwhile, lost its eight-man opener to Waldport 42-28 on Friday.

The Bobcats and Irish both are part of the Sunset Conference with Coquille, Reedsport and Bandon in other sports, but play the eight-man format in football.

Myrtle Point is at Bonanza this week.

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