ASHLAND — Ashland's offense gained just one first down on 15 plays in the second half. For Marshfield, that was one play too many.

ASHLAND — Ashland's offense gained just one first down on 15 plays in the second half. For Marshfield, that was one play too many.

Senior wide receiver Josh Hogeland scored on a 75-yard catch and run in the third quarter, and Ashland's defense held on from there as the Grizzlies improved to 5-0 for the first time since their 1998 state championship season with a 13-12 win over the Pirates Friday night at Walter A. Phillips Field.

Hogeland ended up with two catches — both touchdowns — for 79 yards, and Ashland quarterback Matt Dierks completed 8 of 13 passes for 184 yards, but it was Ashland's clutch defense and special-teams play that proved to be the difference.

After Dierks' bomb to Hogeland gave No. 5-ranked Ashland the lead with 4:21 to go in the third quarter, the Grizzlies fought off the Pirates on their last three possessions.

The first of those turned out to be the visitors' best chance — they marched all the way to the Ashland 10-yard line before settling for a 34-yard field goal attempt that was blocked.

"You have to give those guys so much credit," Ashland head coach Charlie Hall said of the Grizzlies' defense. "They played with great heart against a good team. There was no quit in them. It was a great team effort, and we're looking forward to getting into conference now."

Another important factor for Ashland, which kicks off its Southern Sky Conference schedule next Friday against Crater, was punter Sam Gaviglio. He averaged 45 yards on three key kicks.

Marshfield (2-3) was led by running back Cameron Winfrey and quarterback Brogan Oswald. Winfrey gained 97 yards on 16 carries and Oswald threw two touchdown passes and rushed for 65 yards on nine carries.

The Pirates capped a 14-play, 65-yard drive when Oswald hit a leaping Jordan Sheppard in the end zone on fourth-and-seven with 4:45 to go in the third. The two-point try failed, but the Pirates still led 12-7.

Three plays later, Hogeland caught Dierks' perfectly thrown pass on the left sideline and sidestepped Alex Elleston's attempted tackle 40 yards later to reclaim the lead for the Grizzlies. The play was a role reversal for the two skill players — Elleston burned Hogeland on a nearly identical 75-yard play that gave the Pirates a 6-0 lead only two minutes into the game.

Ashland escaped with the win despite being out-gained on the ground, 199 yards to 66. Turnovers were a major plus again for Ashland, which recovered two Marshfield fumbles and picked off Oswald's desperation pass with 1:54 to go in the game.

Joe Zavala is sports editor of the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 482-3456, ext. 224, or e-mail joe.zavala@dailytidings.com