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Schorovsky saves day for Grizz

ASHLAND

-- Sean Schorovsky picked the perfect time for a breakout performance.

On a night when the Ashland Grizzlies fumbled five times and had seven penalties stepped off against them, Schorovsky hauled in two touchdown passes, booted two field goals and tacked on three PAT kicks as the Grizzlies fended off South Medford, 35-12, at Walter A. Phillips Field.

I guess I was a bit lucky, said Schorovsky, who accounted for 21 points. I had never scored a touchdown in a varsity game. It was just my night and hopefully there will be more like that for our offense.

The Grizzlies improved to 2-2 in Southern Oregon Conference play and 2-3 overall after opening the season 0-3.

It also marked the return of senior quarterback Zach Hassell, sidelined with an ankle injury since Sept. 3. Although he wasn't exceptionally sharp, Hassell completed 10-of-19 passes for 195 yards without an interception.

But the Grizzlies' ball-handling proved all-together too sloppy for coach Jim Nagel.

It was a lack of concentration and intensity on our part, Nagel said. In the first half I wasn't pleased a whole lot by anything, but the second half was better.

The Grizzlies have yet to reach critical mass in their drive for a 15th straight trip to the Class 4A playoffs. But for the first time this season they came back after falling behind -- and in a hurry.

South quarterback John McKay's 32-yard bomb to Matt Trickey pulled the Panthers within 8-6 early in the second quarter. An exchange of fumbles deep

in Ashland territory gave the Panthers -- and Jeremy Boyd -- a second chance. South's 5-foot-7, 155-pound dynamo made good on the reprieve, taking an option pitch from McKay around the left corner then leaving four Grizzly defenders grabbing for air.

I just want to thank the coach (Bill Singler) for letting me try again, Boyd said. I don't know what happen when I fumbled down there.

But South (0-4, 0-3 SOC) had precious little time to enjoy its 12-8 lead.

Ryan Goodman returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards to the South 40. Then sophomore Mike Allen, who had quarterbacked the Grizzlies through four games in Hassell's absence, came through like a veteran.

On third-and-one from the South 31, Allen fired down the middle to Ben Thurman, who got behind Mike Combs and Jimmie Maddox for the score.

It was a play we put in this week, said Allen. The pass was wide open. There wasn't anyone within 10 or 20 yards of him.

Nagel had a hunch that the Panthers might be looking for a quick-hitter.

I thought they'd be cranked up to stop the run, he said. We set the play up a couple of plays before with that look and then went for the home run. The line did a good job of protecting and Mike laid it out there nicely.

Schorovsky's PAT made it 15-12 with 2:40 left in the half. Then after a South punt, Ashland marched to the South 12 before bogging down. Schorovsky drilled a 28-yard field goal with 11 seconds left in the half to give Ashland an 18-12 lead at intermission.

We wanted to come out and hit them hard and we definitely did some good things, Boyd said. But the going is still tough.

Schorovsky made it plenty tough in the second half.

Noah Hayes-McKeirnan's interception at the South 31 set up Hassell's TD toss to Schorovsky on the next play as Ashland extended its advantage to 25-12 with 6:14 left in the third quarter.

South threatened to cut the deficit in half at the start of the fourth period, but Jared Mulhollen couldn't hold on to McKay's pass inside the Ashland five.

When the Panthers turned it over on downs, Ashland went on a quick three-play, 58-yard drive. Schorovsky took a pass in the middle of the field from Hassell, spun away from Combs and then out-raced two more defenders to the end zone.

After the first couple of drives I was OK, said Hassell. I wasn't nervous, but I was excited.

Allen finished the nine 5-of-9 for 82 yards for the Grizzlies, while McKay, who was often on the run, was 13 of 29 for 183 yards and three interceptions.

McKay was sacked six times. Tyson George got him three times and Matt Boesche twice.

Boyd rushed for 110 yards on 15 carries.