Cottage Grove Sentinel | Rayon-Wilder elevates the Warriors above the Eagles

After their first loss of the season to Elkton, North Douglas crushed their opponents to the tune of 65 points per game in their three-game winning streak.

Sadly, Yoncella didn’t play the same tune as they had lost 3 straight games for a variety of reasons, whether it was a COVID-related forfeit or a troubled offense.

Last year North Douglas and Yoncalla combined their programs and found success, but this year they are stepping aside.

As of 2015, North Douglas is 4-1 against rivals North. Unfortunately, for Yoncalla and his crew, not much would change on Friday night thanks to the huge performance of North Douglas senior Palu Rayon-Wilder.

Rayon-Wilder ran for 303 yards and scored six touchdowns in the Warriors’ 47-13 victory.

“Now that they’re at full blast and have all of their kids, I think they (North Douglas) are the best team in the league and probably one of the top five teams in the state,” he said. ‘Yoncella coach Matt Bragg.

North Douglas came out strong in his first game on offense as Rayon-Wilder found a crease and ran for a 23-yard gain, putting the ball deep into Yoncella’s side of the field. Two games later, Rayon-Wilder ran into the ball 13 yards for the Warriors’ first score (7-0 ND).

On Yoncella’s first possession, the North Douglas defense filled them up quickly. However, the Warriors fumbled for the ball, which led to an early swing from Eagle.

Yonçalla’s Noah Leary interrupted a 15-yard run to the Eagles’ own 40-yard line, but they wouldn’t be able to move the ball after that. North Douglas got the save on the fourth down and Rayon-Wilder shot the ball two straight games for 30 yards (13-0 ND).

In Eagle’s next offensive streak, quarterback Gabe Martinez was able to find Ashton Hardy, who had a great catch for a 26-yard gain as he moved the ball to the North Douglas 28-yard line. But again, the Warrior defense led by junior Ray Gerrad didn’t give up a touchdown in the first quarter by stopping Yoncella again.

With the Warriors’ offense returning to the field with just seconds left in the first quarter, quarterback Wyatt Reed handed the ball over to Rayon-Wilder who found a clear path and made it to the races scoring his third. touched in the first quarter (20-0 ND).

Palu, I thought, did a great job of figuring out where he could get his yards. I was wondering how he would fare against a bigger roster, and he did well, ”said North Douglas coach JJ Mast. “I think he (Rayon-Wilder) probably played his best game tonight.”

After forcing an Eagle turnover on the downs, North Douglas recovered the ball and Gerrard ran for a 32 win over the Yoncala 27. But two games later, Yoncala forced another fumble, recovering the ball on his side of the field.

Martinez was able to find his big receiver Hardy twice on the drive for two gains of 20 and 23 yards. With 30 seconds left in the half, Martinez looked for another pass but was intercepted by Rayon-Wilder at the end of the half and North Douglas still firmly in control (20-0 ND).

Coming out of the locker room, North Douglas didn’t miss a beat as Rayon-Wilder ran for 50 yards on his first offensive possession in the second period (27-0 ND). Yoncella was able to appear on the scoreboard later in the quarter as Noah Leary ran the ball three times to the Eagles’ record for 52 yards and one scoring (27-6 ND).

North Douglas and Yoncalla traded defensive saves as the Warriors recovered the ball with less than a minute to go in the third quarter and Rayon-Wilder scored another 47 yards putting a stranglehold on the game (34-6 ND ).

Rayon-Wilder found the end zone once again in the fourth quarter, increasing the Warriors’ lead (41-6 ND).

Yoncella was able to add another score as they were well prepared from a Leary kickoff return deep into North Douglas territory allowing Hardy to take a touchdown (41-13 ND).

Wyatt Reed of North Douglas scored the last point of the night as he ran for 47 yards (47-13 ND).

“It’s bittersweet that you wanted to win the rivalry game, but we got to know these coaches that we’re five miles away from,” said North Douglas coach Mast. “Then training with them last year allows you to bond a bit more. We also know a lot of their kids and you just want them to feel good at the same time.

North Douglas have now claimed four straight wins as they find themselves near the top of the league standings. They are heading to Riddle today (October 7).

Yoncella will also be hitting the road today as they have a good opportunity to secure a victory against Gilchrest.

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