Ashland pulls out homecoming thriller
Kyle Weinberg shook off an injured hip to drill the go-ahead 24-yard field goal with four seconds to go as No. 2 Ashland staged a dramatic homecoming night comeback to edge upset-minded Ridgeview 16-14 Friday at Walter A. Phillips Field.
Weinberg’s 41-yard pass to Shashi Penn on 2nd-and-31 advanced Ashland to the Ridgeview 26-yard line with 27 seconds to go, and five plays later Ashland’s junior quarterback booted a line drive from the 14 that was partially blocked at the line of scrimmage but still ricocheted through off the cross bar.
Weinberg’s kick, which capped a 15-play, 75-yard drive that took 2 minutes, 58 seconds, gave the Grizzlies their first lead of the second half. It held up moments later when Ridgeview’s desperation gadget play resulted in offsetting penalties, allowing the Grizzlies to improve to 4-0.
“I didn’t really want to think about my hip,” Weinberg said of the clutch kick. “I just thought about practice, lining up, kicking the ball like I do every day in practice. And I got lucky.”
“There were no second thoughts at all,” added Ashland coach Charlie Hall of the decision to attempt the field goal with 7.7 seconds to go on 2nd and eight from the 8. “(Weinberg’s) a great kicker, obviously. He’s worked hard at it. He’s a competitor, he’s a winner. … So I trust him.”
Weinberg completed 24 of 37 passes for 245 yards and ran for another 98 yards to pace a Grizzly offense that outgained Ridgeview 511 yards to 322. But penalties and turnovers allowed the visitors to control the scoreboard most of the night and come within an eyelash of delivering what would have been a major upset. Ashland was penalized 14 times for 120 yards and turned the ball over five times – three fumbles and two interceptions.
Ryne Robitz rushed for 141 yards and a score, and Penn had five catches for 77 yards. None of his catches were more important than the clutch grab near the sideline as the Grizzlies’ hopes seemed to be slipping away, and he made a sliding catch at the Ridgeview 8 two plays later to get the Grizzlies in field goal range.
Ridgeview rode an efficient offense most of the night. Tanner Stevens rushed for 116 yards and Jacob Johnson completed 9 of 19 passes for 185 yards. Nothing spectacular, but the Ravens turned the ball over just once and held Ashland on 8 of 13 third downs.
Ridgeview claimed the early lead when Cooper Shaw scored on a 4-yard rush with 8:06 to go in the first period.
The Grizzlies answered on the ensuing drive, with Robitz capping a 59-yard march with a 23-yard TD run.
Ridgeview reclaimed the lead on Stevens’ 1-yard run, which capped a 96-yard drive, with 4:26 to go in the first half. The Ravens also connected on the two-point conversion try to go up, 14-7.
Ashland thought it had the tie in hand when Weinberg found Michael Pruitt for a 19-yard touchdown pass — Pruitt did most of the work himself, dragging defenders across the goal line — but Weinberg pushed the point-after kick wide right, setting up the dramatic finish.
Hall said he didn’t watch Weinberg’s kick.
“I couldn’t watch that one,” he said. “I put my head down and wanted to hear the crowd. Then coach (Antione) Perry next to me says, ‘It went in.’”
At Newberg, Tristan Gavin and the Ashland boys water polo team gave a strong effort in their first action of the Newberg Tournament at Chehalem Aquatic Center on Friday.
Gavin scored four goals and collected four steals for the Grizzlies, who stormed to a 10-4 victory over Lincoln.
Ashland (3-3) received three goals from Finn Griffin and one from Ethan Croyle. Croyle gave the Grizzlies a boost by winning all four sprints to give them possession at the beginning of each quarter.
Goalie Vincent Wright had 11 blocks for the Grizzlies.
Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-776-4469 or email@example.com.