Canby's second football game was almost identical to the first as the Cougars fell behind early, fought back, but ultimately came up just short.
"I feel a lot better about this week's performance than I did about last week's performance, Canby coach Jimmy Joyce said of the Cougars 16-13 loss at South Medford. "Obviously, it's disappointing we lost, but we showed fight and it was very uplifting to see as a coach, that these kids aren't going to back down from opponents. Overall, we played a much better game than we did last Friday against Lincoln against a very physical team that could be intimidating but our guys didn't back down."
The "much better game" did not include the first quarter, which Joyce called the team's worst of the season, as Canby dug itself into a 16-0 hole.
"We made a lot of mental mistakes, a lot of little mistakes here and there and then once again we just gave them 16 points," Joyce said.
But just like the week before against Lincoln, Canby quarterback Andrew Peters threw a touchdown pass right before the end of the first half, this time 13 yards to Tyler Mead to get the Cougars within 16-6.
"It just happened, right before halftime we woke up and started playing good football again," Joyce said.
Canby's defense shut out South Medford in the second half.
"The improvement from week one to week two for any team needs to be huge, but for our defense I thought it was really huge, and they played well against Lincoln, but they played exceptionally well against South Medford," Joyce said. "I was really impressed with out defensive line and our defense overall. I think our defensive staff has done a tremendous job from week one to week two."
Joyce said the key was getting pressure on South Medford quarterback Toren Tuttle.
"If you give him time he's going to be able to find receivers and they have some playmakers, and we were able to get a lot of pressure on the quarterback and get a few sacks," Joyce said.
With 11:34 remaining in the game, Wyatt Ramos then reached the end zone on a 14-yard run to get Canby within 16-13.
Ramos finished with 103 yards rushing.
"He emerged in the second half last week as our workhorse, and when he needed to rest, K'den (McMullin) played really well, too. He ran a lot harder than he did the week before. He also had a great game on defense as well."
After a defensive stop, Canby had a shot to tie or win the game, but a pass from Peters was stripped away from receiver Ronan Gay and interecepted.
Peters threw for 221 yards in the loss.
"Andrew grew up a lot," Joyce said. "First road game, facing a heavy pressure team. You always want the game to slow down for your quarterback and I think it started slowing down just a little bit. That's a big positive."
Chance Miller caught seven passes for 133 yards.
"He's just going to grow," Joyce said. "I really think he has the potential to be an elite level receiver in this area."
The Cougars play their first Three Rivers League opponent this Friday at Tigard.
"South Medford was a big step up in competition for us," Joyce said. "Next week is an even bigger step for us."
Joyce knows Tigard's coaches well. He played college football and lived with head coach John Kemper at Linfield and then coached with Shane Kessler, the Tigers defensive coordinator.
Both Joyce and Kemper are first-year head coaches.
"I was really happy to see Kemper get that job," Joyce said. "It was something I was really pulling for. I was overjoyed that he got the job, and now we get to play him."
Follow us on Twitter
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.