Yadie Dunmore‘s career night led Sheldon to a 21-point lead by the second quarter and a 49-14 win over the South Medford Panthers (1-4, 1-2 league). The Irish (3-2, 2-1) halfback scored thrice in the first half, finishing the night with more than 300 total yards.
“It was really good, I think our team really needed it,” Dunmore said.
Dunmore, a senior and brother of UO defensive back Oshay Dunmore, is now at seven touchdowns on the year and put it all together in this one. Two of his touchdowns in 2013 have come on special teams where he attacked all game on Friday. His third touchdown Friday was a 71-yard punt return that put the Irish up by a near-insurmountable 35-0 lead.
“We spend a ton of time on special teams, it’s just kids working together,” head coach Lane Johnson said. “We play our best players all the time.”
He added a 40-yard punt return on the next Panther punt that looked like he’d return to the end zone.
Dunmore’s backfield companion Joseph Kuehn was nearly perfect in this one, tossing just one interception early in the second half, but throwing for 339 yards and four touchdowns. Kuehn’s aerial assault started early and he got three of his touchdowns in the first quarter, utilizing the tunnel screen for large gains and scoring in bunches. Two of his TDs were tossed to Kellen Strahm, who picked up 92 yards through the air, all from Kuehn.
“Kellen’s been in his brother’s (Montana linebacker Connor Strahm) shadow his whole life, and he’s been a great player,” Johnson said. “He was great tonight on both sides of the ball.”
But fellow senior Mitchell Herbert was again Kuehn’s primary target and Sheldon’s other do-everything, and he pulled in 148 receiving yards and 23 rushing. Herbert pulled in Kuehn’s first touchdown pass, running the majority of it between South Medford guys who couldn’t bring him down.
For the first 12 minutes, that Herbert run was actually a succinct microcosm for the rest of the game: Sheldon lowered their shoulders, churned their legs and drove. They were all alone and left South Medford in their wake. After a loss last week to North Medford gave them their first two-loss regular season in years, coach Johnson said a win like Friday’s kept their sideline spirits up.
“Everybody plays with more confidence when you’re up by three touchdowns,” Johnson said. “You can just feel it with our kids.”
And sometimes, you don’t need to see the kids jumping around and shouting to get their feelings about the game.
With a large lead going into the last frame, the Irish turned to their reserves to put a little tap on the breaks. Sophomore Justin Herbert, Mitchell’s brother, took over at quarterback late, and junior Logan Comer joined him at halfback. Justin Herbert got to score one more for the Irish to set the final score.
With the win in hand, Sheldon is once again over .500 with three wins to two losses. They take to the road next Friday to meet with the Crater Comets, another league foe. Coach Johnson says they take any opponent south of Eugene especially seriously.
“We talk about taking one game at a time. Crater will give us their best shot.”
Joseph Kuehn 30 yard touchdown to Mitchell Herbert – (7-0 Irish)
Kuehn 20 yard touchdown to Yadie Dunmore – (14-0 Irish)
Kuehn 11 yard touchdown to Kellen Strahm – (21-0 Irish)
Dunmore 1 yard rushing touchdown – (28-0 Irish)
Dunmore 70 yd punt return touchdown – (35-0 Irish)
South Medford fumble recovery for a touchdown – (35-7 Irish)
Kuehn 14 yard touchdown to Strahm – (42-7 Irish
Justin Herbert two-yard rushing touchdown – (49-7 Irish)
South Medford six-yard rushing touchdown – (49-14 Irish)