The odds-makers predicted that one team would defeat the other by three touchdowns, or more. What they didn’t predict was that the team would be the Gold Beach Panthers, and that not only would they beat the number-one ranked Scio Loggers but that they would shut them out.
Senior running back Travis Wood, 22, breaks a tackle as he gains 13 of his 44 total yardage on Saturday night as the Gold Beach Panthers defeat the Loggers of Scio. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
“It’s the greatest feeling. I can’t even describe it,” senior running back Travis Wood said after the game. “We shut out the number one team in the state. We were expected to get beat by how much we beat them.”
The Panthers football team didn’t just beat the Loggers Saturday night, they demolished them: 30-0.
“Well, don’t question my kids’ heart,” Head Coach Kevin Swift said. “They work really hard for me. It’s not Xs and Os, it’s about convincing kids that it’s a toe-to-toe boxing match and you have to put your head in the meat grinder and get it kicked in for the good of the team.
“It’s all about doing what is necessary for the team.”
The Panthers did what was necessary for the team, rushing for 272 yards and passing for 61, while holding the Loggers to just 217 total yards – none of them through the air.
“We were confident in our offense,” Wood said. “But we’ve been working our defense because we knew that if Scio just pushed it along the ground at a slow pace that they would get ahead, so we worked defense.”
“I give them props,” he added. “Yeah, we put up 30 points tonight, but defense was key tonight.”
The first quarter of the game was a back-and-forth battle with neither team able to put any points on the board.
It wasn’t until senior quarterback Kipp Marstall scampered for 14 yards, and six points, with 4:10 remaining in the second quarter, that the scorekeepers saw any action.
The Panthers scored twice in the third quarter, once at 9:19 remaining and again with just 24 seconds on the clock. Both third-quarter touchdowns were claimed by senior running back Quinn Johnston as he bulldogged his way across the goal line from three and two yards out, respectively.
The Panthers’ fourth and final score came on a 41-yard pass from Marstall to senior wide receiver Anthony Kelly who dodged two defenders before crossing the line for six.
The Panthers were able to convert three of their four two-point conversion attempts to end the game 30-0.
Marstall was quick to acknowledge the role his offensive and defensive lines played when asked what made it possible to lead his team to victory.
“Defensive and offensive lines played a hell of a game,” he said. “They controlled the trenches, and that is all you can ask for.”
“It’s the greatest honor,” junior center Kyle Sonnevil said of the compliment. “We bust our ass so they can bust theirs.”
The Panthers cap a perfect 13-0 season with the victory at the OSAA 2A state championship game and add another state title to the two the school already has – one from 2007, and another from 1976.
“I tell the kids all the time,” Swift said. “If you want to live forever, make sure the team wins and no one will ever forget you.
“No one is going to forget this team, ever.”