MERRILL — With a forced Lost River turnover on downs to hold the Raiders scoreless in the first quarter and a touchdown in the first four minutes, Gold Beach football looked dominate in the first 12 minutes Friday Night at Lost River high school.
Gold Beach senior running back Landen Timeus put the Panthers on the board with a two-yard run for a 6-0 lead.
“I don’t think we started out very well,” Lost River head coach Dennis Dunlea said. “I think they came out ready to play and we weren’t necessarily; and I think that showed early on.”
But the tides quickly changed for Gold Beach, who fielded just 16 players in the game, and after Friday’s 39-6 loss, have yet to win a contest this season.
Dunlea said that as the game went on, the Raiders started to play better, due in large part to a change in mentality.
The Raiders held Gold Beach at six points for the remaining three quarters. Meanwhile Lost River scored six touchdowns, two a quarter and three from 6-foot-6 senior quarterback and three-year starter Aiden McAuliffe.
“I think it’s pretty typical of him,” Dunlea said. “We didn’t throw it as much, so he ran it a little better than he has, and I don’t even know if better. He just took advantage a little bit more of what they gave us.”
McAuliffe earned 111 rushing yards and completed five passes in nine attempts, totaling 70 passing yards.
In the second quarter, the Raiders converted on 81- and 36-yard drives and forced a Gold Beach punt by quarterback Trenton Storns.
At seven minutes, McAuliffe found a hole on the right side for a 20-yard rushing touchdown, Lost River’s first; and six minutes later, the Raiders made their way into the end zone again, this time on a five-yard run by senior running back Jorge De Leon.
With less than a minute left in halftime, a failed Raider interception attempt tipped the ball into the Panther’s hands on the Raider’s 45-yard line, but Gold Beach was unable to capitalize in the remaining time.
Early in the third, De Leon was injured on a play, sidelining the running back for the remainder of the game. Before his exit, he rushed 92 yards for the Raiders.
Coach Dunlea said De Leon rolled his ankle and should be back.
But without his primary rusher, McAuliffe started running the ball more.
Midway through the third quarter, McAuliffe found the end zone again on fourth-and-inches. The 61-yard, six-minute drive culminated in the quarterback’s second touchdown, giving Lost River a 21-6 lead.
Four minutes later, McAuliffe bested the Panthers again off a nearly 80-yard run. With a failed kick, Lost River was up 21 points headed into the final quarter.
For the first play of the fourth quarter, Giovanni Rizo found the end zone on a 75-yard punt return, but with two flags on the play, the Raiders’ would-be touchdown was revoked.
On a 35-yard drive, 6-foot senior Kameron Moore caught a 19-yard pass from McAuliffe to give the Raiders their fifth touchdown. Behind a failed two-point conversion play, Lost River extended its lead to 33-6.
The Raiders final touchdown was delivered by two freshmen. Cole Johnson caught a 40-yard pass from replacement quarterback Grady Dunlea to give Lost River the final 39-6 victory.
Lost River opens Southern Cascade League play at Lakeview at 7 p.m. next Friday.