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GOLD BEACH PANTHER FOOTBALL READY TO DEFEND STATE TITLE

By Chad Robert Snyder

Pilot staff writer

The Gold Beach High School varsity football team dominated Regis in the 3A semifinals Saturday, Nov. 22.

The only negative in the 41-29 victory – which took place of the Cottage Grove High School field – was the 14 points the Panthers gave up late, according to Head Coach Kevin Swift.

"We played well. We just gave up a couple cheap touchdowns," he said.

The Panthers started fast, scoring 14 points in both the first and second quarters. The defense allowed only 14 in the same span, giving Gold Beach a 28-14 halftime lead.

"I thought we played one of our better first halves in this game, both on offense and defense," Swift said.

In particular, he pointed to the performance of the defensive line and lavished praise on lineman Timmy Young for what Swift called "a brilliant game."

The teams traded second half touchdowns (4 total), including the two Regis scores that upset Swift.

One in particular, he said, was frustrating because it came on a special teams' play – a 41-yard punt return – which he regards as an essential fundamental.

"That's not acceptable in my football world," he said.

Regis' pass-happy offense was ultimately their downfall. Quarterback Dylan Boschler threw five interceptions in the contest.

Conversely, the Panthers were able to run the ball all game. The Quest Player of the Game for Gold Beach was justly given to Jeffrey Knox, who individually carried the ball 13 times for an astronomical 217 yards. The Panthers as a team rushed for 438.

Now the Panthers' sights are set on Grant Union, against whom they'll defend their state title at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, in Hillsboro City Stadium.

In preparation, Swift said this week's practices will focus on fundamentals.

""We've got to keep it basic and concentrate on executing, both offensively and defensively," he said.

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