By Brian Rathbone

The Bulletin

REDMOND — The officials sure were busy in Friday night’s matchup between Redmond and North Eugene. The teams combined for 16 penalties for 173 yards.

Despite committing 10 penalties for 112 of the yards, the host Panthers prevailed, fending off the Highlanders’ second-half rally to win 38-21, improving to 2-1 on the season and matching their win total from last season.

It was Redmond’s 2019 home opener and the home debut of first-year Panthers head coach Seth Womack.

“We just got to stop making mental mistakes and shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Womack. “That’s what was happening with us, we were just making mental mistakes that we have to correct for sure. It seemed like any time they had the ball we were giving up a first down because of a penalty. We have to clean that stuff up and we’ll be fine.”

Redmond could hardly have drawn up a better start. On the fourth play of the game, Brenden Powell took a handoff and dashed 42 yards to open the scoring for the Panthers.

On North Eugene’s second play, the Redmond defense recovered a fumble in Highlander territory.

From 14 yards out, quarterback Austin Carter found a wide-open Henry Chambers on a bootleg pass for a touchdown. Less than three minutes into the contest, Redmond held a 14-0 lead.

Penalties proved to be the Highlanders’ best offensive weapon in the first quarter. The Panthers defense was flagged for multiple personal fouls that helped move North Eugene into the red zone. However, no points would come out of the trip.

On the final play of the first quarter, Andrew Mckague extended the Redmond lead to 17-0 with a 31-yard field goal.

“I loved the way we started the first quarter,” Womack said.

The North Eugene offense found its footing in the second quarter, using quick passes from Jason Proudfit and power running by Tristan Karns moved the ball inside the Redmond 10-yard line.

But once again, the Panthers defense would not break, stopping Proudfit at the 1 on fourth down.

The Redmond offense marched the ball 99 yards and Colt Folston punched it in from 2 yards out with under three minutes left in the half to give Redmond a 24-0 lead.

“That’s demoralizing if you’re on the other side of that,” Womack said.

“For us to do that shows the poise and the character of our kids that are willing to fight through adversity. And we are still learning that stuff.”

But North Eugene would not go away, as Womack expected.

“I’m telling them we have a lot of game left,” Womack said. North Eugene executed its two-minute offense, scoring with two seconds left in the half when Proudfit found Dylan Coughran from 7 yards out.

The Proudfit-Coughran connection continued into the second half. On the second play, Coughran got behind the Redmond defense and Proudfit hit him for a 51-yard touchdown.

After an offensive series in which the Panthers went only backward, North Eugene dinked and dunked its way to another touchdown.

After sputtering for the better part of two quarters, the Panthers were finally able to string together a drive, aided by a big kickoff return by Colt Storey into North Eugene territory. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Folston scored on a short TD run to give Redmond a 10-point cushion.

“Colt on offense and defense is a savage,” Womack said.

Redmond retook a 17-point lead when it recovered a muffed punt on the 2-yard line. Folston, the workhorse in the second half, plowed in for his third touchdown.

Late in the game, all Folston wanted was to carry the rock. “I just wanted the ball,” the senior said. “I just wanted to lead by example and get everyone fired up so I tried to run hard and see what I could do with it.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0307, brathbone@bendbulletin.com

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