LAKEVIEW — It wasn’t pretty, but the Beau Lehnerz era for Ashland football got off to a winning start.
Ashland’s defense shut out Klamath Union and forced five interceptions, including three by junior defensive back Will Beaudoin, as the Grizzlies pounded out a 12-2 victory on Saturday in a nonconference game played at Lakeview High School.
“We’ll take that,” said Lehnerz, the Grizzlies’ first-year coach. “We’re 1-0 and that’s the best way start.”
Ashland (1-0) got all the points it needed in the first quarter on a touchdown pass from junior quarterback Cade Swenson to sophomore receiver Gabe Ekwall.
The Grizzlies padded their lead in the fourth quarter when senior lineman Kadyn Kimbrough recovered a fumble in the end zone. A reception and run by sophomore running back Austin Harris, who fumbled the ball at the goal line, led to Kimbrough’s recovery.
Offensively, Ashland got off to a strong start with its rushing attack but wore down physically as the game wore on and was unable to execute as fatigue set in, Lehnerz said. Untimely penalties also contributed to the Grizzlies’ lack of production, Lehnerz added.
“That’s something to definitely work on for the future,” Lehnerz said.
Klamath Union (0-1) avoided the shutout when a snap from Ashland’s center sailed over Swenson’s head and the ball went through the back of the end zone, resulting in a defensive safety for the Pelicans.
CRUSADERS SPLIT: At Klamath Falls, St. Mary’s concluded play with a loss in the silver division championship to Bonanza, 25-13, 20-25, 15-12, in the Basin Best tournament at Henley High. Sophomore Hallie Shean had 10 kills and seven digs to lead the Crusaders, with Katie Rietmann and Natalie Thicket chipping in five kills apiece. Freshman Abbie Christman defended the net with four blocks and also went 5-of-5 from behind the serve line. Strong passing also came from Grace Johnson on the day.
Earlier in the day, St. Mary’s knocked off Lost River 25-23, 25-17 in the first round of bracket play. St. Mary’s got off to a sluggish start in morning pool play, earning the No. 8 seed. But the Crusaders managed to hit their stride against the higher-ranked squad from Lost River, putting down 24 kills and going 47-of-49 from the service line. On the offensive front, Shean led St. Mary’s with eight kills, while Rietmann added six kills and Thickett chipped in five kills. Sophomore Susanna Schatz led the Crusaders in serving, going 11-for-11 with an ace. Sophomore setter Ashley Gurr tallied 18 assists while also contributing four kills and libero Lauren Russo led the team in defensive passing.
DOUGLAS 3, ROGUE RIVER 2: At Winston, Rogue River was defeated in a nonconference match to open its season.