HARRISBURG — Sutherlin gave up a touchdown to Harrisburg on the first drive of the game, but never allowed another score en route to a 45-7 win over the Eagles on Thursday night in a Class 3A Special District 2 North football contest.
The Eagles took the opening kickoff and marched 65 yards in 13 plays, keeping the ball for more than six minutes.
But it took Sutherlin (5-1, 2-0 SD2N) only two minutes to get in the endzone, with senior Jake Merrifield going 27 yards for a score. It was the first of three touchdowns for Merrifield, who ran for 196 yards on 23 carries and also caught a pass from quarterback Tehgan Pacini for a two-point conversion.
“Jake had another big night and they were kind of giving us that and we just kind of capitalized on that,” Sutherlin coach Josh Gary said.
The Bulldogs scored on three straight possessions to take a 20-6 halftime lead.
“I thought we started slow,” Gary said. “They came out in a totally different offensive look, so it was great for us to kind of weather the storm and come back from that. And then after that first drive we just shut them down and did a great job on defense.”
Harrisburg (2-4, 0-2) never had an answer for Merrifield and Davis. Sutherlin racked up 394 yards to 121 for the Eagles.
Pacini was 4 of 8 passing for 66 yards and one touchdown.
The leading rusher for the Eagles was senior fullback Gabe Knox, who had just 25 yards on eight carries and scored their only touchdown.
Junior fullback Josh Davis ran for 75 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns and sophomore Adan Diaz carried four times for 32 yards and a TD for the Bulldogs. Brandon Carr caught two passes for 53 yards and a TD.
Sutherlin will host unbeaten Santiam Christian (5-0, 1-0) next Friday. Santiam Christian, which is No. 2 in the OSAAtoday 3A coaches’ poll, hosts Siuslaw Friday.
Sutherlin 6 14 12 13 — 45
Harrisburg 7 0 0 0 — 7
H — Knox 3 run (Tapia kick)
S — Merrifield 27 run (kick failed)
S — Carr 15 pass from Pacini (kick failed)
S — Merrifield 1 run (Merrifield pass from Pacini)
S — Davis 3 run (kick failed)
S — Merrifield 9 run (kick failed)
S — Davis 33 run (Alcantar kick)
S — A. Diaz 30 run (pass failed)