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Ashland opens season with triumph

Prep football

HERMISTON -- Jimmy Werbin hit Joel Smith with a 37-yard touchdown pass off a fake punt with 7:13 remaining as the Ashland Grizzlies came from behind to down Hermiston 20-14 in the season-opener for both teams on Friday night.

Werbin and Smith connected for all three of Ashland's touchdowns in the non-league game.

Smith, the Grizzly fullback, slipped unnoticed into the Hermiston secondary and Werbin hit him with a pass to give the Grizzlies the lead for good. Kris Pavilonis tacked on a two-point conversion.

We didn't have the outside man covered and that's my fault, Hermiston coach Ray Braun said. We hadn't practiced against an unsure punt and we only had 10 men on the field on the play.

Hermiston wasn't through, however, as the Bulldogs drove deep into Ashland territory in the waning minutes of the game. Hermiston had a first and goal at the eight-yard Ashland line but couldn't put the ball in the end zone and the clock ran out.

We expected a challenge and they gave it to us, Ashland coach Jim Nagel said. Our defense put on a heck of a goal-line stand.

Werbin hit 10 of 20 passes for 143 yards and the three touchdowns to Smith. Pavilonis had 69 yards rushing on 16 carries.

CENTRAL CATHOLIC 18, GRANTS PASS 0 -- At Portland, Ben Larson passed for two touchdowns and ran for another as Central Catholic pinned a season-opening non-conference loss on Grants Pass at Civic Stadium.

The Cavemen fell behind 18-0 in the third quarter when Larson hit Derec Brown on a 49-yard TD pass, but closed the gap with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Junior running Jesse Lara accounted for both Grants Pass touchdowns. He scored on runs of 9 and — yards.

Grants Pass ....................0 0 0 12 -- 12 Central Catholic .............6 6 6 0 -- 18

CC -- Rennie 5 pass from Larson (kick failed)

CC -- Larson 5 run (run failed)

CC -- Brown 49 pass from Larson (kick failed)

GP -- Lara 9 run (pass failed)

GP -- Lara — run (kick failed)

YREKA 35, PHOENIX 0 -- At Phoenix, Yreka completely dominated the season-opening game at Jack Woodward Stadium, holding the Pirates to 19 yards in offense and three first downs.

The Miners built a 21-0 halftime lead, then tacked on two fourth-quarter TDs.

The Pirates' defense couldn't contain the Yreka ground attack. The Miners used their big offensive line to open up holes between the tackles to fuel the running game.

Jeff Ralston opened the scoring with a first-quarter 6-yard touchdown run. Ralston also scored the final touchdown on a 26-yard reception from Nick Baker.

Bart Picanso added two short touchdown runs for the Miners.

Phoenix junior safeties Bryan Monical and Theron Hull each had interceptions.

Yreka ..........................14 7 0 14 -- 35 Phoenix .....................0 0 0 0 -- 0

Y -- Ralston 6 run (Thornburg kick)

Y -- Picanso — run (Thornburg kick)

Y -- Embury 30 pass from Baker (Thornburg kick)

Y -- Picanso 2 run (Thornburg kick)

Y -- Ralston 26 pass from Baker (Thornburg kick)