Sheldon Irish topple S. Eugene Axemen, 49-7

Sheldon Irish topple S. Eugene Axemen, 49-7
Sheldon Irish quarterback Justin Herbert (#3) flies through the air while racking up yards against the South Eugene Axemen. Dan Morrison, Oregon News Lab

EUGENE, Ore. -- Against a worthy opponent in a football game, two turnovers means a loss. In the game Friday night at Sheldon’s home turf, the Axemen had three turnovers: a fumble; an interception; and, for the third consecutive game, a blocked punt. All were converted to points on the board for the Sheldon Irish, who defeated the Axemen 49-7.

The game went bad early for the Axemen. With 4:10 left in the first quarter, deep in their own territory, South punter Liam Duncan had his punt blocked, resulting in a safety and two points for the Irish. 

With 2:22 left in the first quarter, Irish quarterback Joseph Kuehn tossed a long ball to Taylor Tharp, making the score 9-0.

The Irish defense added points to the board when Sheldon’s defensive lineman Taylor Conlon intercepted the ball and lumbered just over ten yards into the end zone. 

Just before the horn indicated the end of the first quarter, Irish quarterback and receiver  Kellen Strahm scored on a deep pass. 

With 8:06 left in the second quarter, the Irish scored again, making the score 29-0.

Irish wide receiver Yadie Dunmore dove across the goal line with 2:14 left in the second quarter, making the score 36-0 at halftime. 

Irish quarterback Joseph Kuehn point more points on the board with a pass to Mitchell Herbert with 8:48 left in the third quarter, expanding Sheldon’s lead to 43-0.

Three minutes later Irish running back Taylor Tharp ran a short dive play to make the score 49-0.

Early in the fourth quarter South’s quarterback put points in the Axemen column on a short keeper dive, making the score 49-7, which held until the end of the game.

In all, the Irish collected 471 offensive yards in the lop-sided victory over the Axemen. 

Gathering their team together, the Axemen coaches attempted to put the most positive spin on the loss possible. Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Kevin Leonard told his players, “We’re going to learn from this. Big time. Get your minds right, we can’t bring this game back, but we can damn sure go forward with it in a positive manner.”

Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Chris Miller also tried to keep his post-game message positive. 

“They’re a good football team,” Miller said of the Sheldon Irish. “They’re good up front on defense. Their linebackers are active. We haven’t had any turnovers all year and we had three. [Sheldon is] number two in the state for a reason. They’ve been to three out of four state championships for a reason. That coaching staff has been here 17 years. We’re a work in progress. We’re 2-1 right now and I’m very pleased with where we’re at. We all got out of here healthy, so life is good. So we learn from this. Right now we sit here 2-1. South Eugene hasn’t been 2-1 in years. The key is how we come back to work. What kind of resolve we have.”

The Axemen resolve will be tested next Friday, September 20, against South Medford at South home field. Kickoff is at 7 pm.