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Ashland thumps Vikings

ASHLAND -- Despite a slow start from their potent offense and the absenceof six starters suspended for disciplinary reasons, the Ashland Grizzliesrolled to a 42-6 rout over visiting Mazama on Friday night at Walter A.Phillips Field.

Fullback Ben Ross led the charge with 170 yards on 13 carries and threesecond-quarter scores to break open a 3-0 game. Quarterback Erik Nagel hada solid game through the air with 156 yards and a pair of scoring tosses.

I thought we played adequately, well enough to win, anyway,said Ashland coach Jim Nagel. We were able to showcase players likeBen Ross tonight. He carried us the whole way and the offensive line madeit possible.

Ashland (2-0) scored on all but one of its first-half possessions, asthe game clock was the only thing in the stadium to halt an Ashland drivebefore the half.

Ross was the catalyst. The senior, who had only 12 yards in the Grizzlies'opener, gained 12 yards or more on eight of his 13 carries and outgainedthe entire Viking offense by 18 yards.

I played well, but not as well as it looked, Ross explained.The offensive line made it easy for me to shine tonight.

Ross benefitted from the suspensions in terms of carries.

(The coaches) told me that we were going to have a couple of playersineligible for the game, so they moved me to halfback on the halfback runs,and back to fullback on fullback runs, he said. I knew I wasgoing to get the ball a lot.

Ashland's defense was also in top form. The Grizzlies limited Mazamato 152 yards of offense, 370 yards less than the Vikings posted in their41-21 win over Klamath Union last week.

We played good, solid defense, Nagel said. (Mazama)did things early in the game that we hadn't prepared for, but we made theadjustments and took care of it.

The Vikings looked to make a game of it early in the first quarter, takingtheir opening drive to the Ashland 13-yard line. A missed 30-yard fieldgoal, however, seemed to zap any momentum the visitors could muster.

Nagel, who has six touchdown passes in just two games, had a stalwartgame on the defensive side of the ball as well. He had two sacks, forceda fumble and broke up a pair of passes. Defensive tackle Matt Webb alsohad a pair of sacks.

The defense was great, Ross said. They held (Mazama)all night and gave us the ball in great field position.

Ashland put the final salt in the Vikings' wounds when sophomore BlaneNewfield scored from 15 yards out.

We need to eliminate the mental mistakes, the dumb penalties andplay good overall football if we want to win next week, Nagel said,referring to next Friday's game at North Medford.