Grizzlies stifle Rebels in play-in rout
ASHLAND — On a night when their refurbished locker room was dedicated to the late Dave Kitchell, the Ashland Grizzlies put on a show that their former defensive coordinator would likely have enjoyed.
Ashland shut down South Albany's surprise offense and rode quarterback Jake Scarminach's three first-half touchdowns to a 21-0 halftime lead en route to a 42-7 victory in a second-round Class 5A play-in game Friday night at Walter A. Phillips Field.
The blowout win, Ashland's seventh straight since an 0-2 start, advances the Grizzlies to the round of 16, which will be seeded today according to the Oregon Schools Activities Association's new rating system. Ashland was rated No. 12 at press time and is unlikely to jump high enough in the rankings to earn a home playoff game next week.
"The big thing in a game like this is that we stayed healthy, we stayed sharp, we stayed polished," Ashland head coach Charlie Hall said. "You try to stay fast on offense so we can run and pass and do the things we need to work on because hopefully we're going to go to the next level. Our kids came through in a big way."
The Grizzlies used drives of 75 and 44 yards to take a 13-0 lead in the first quarter, and made it 20-0 on Scarminach's electric 47-yard keeper with 1:03 to go in the first half. Scarminach also scored on runs of 1 and 2 yards for the Grizzlies, and finished Ashland's first game since Oct. 22 with a team-high 123 rushing yards on 15 carries.
Ashland's offense didn't slow down much after backup quarterback Jake McCoy took over the reins throughout most of the second half, as the junior threw touchdown passes of 6 and 39 yards to help Ashland build a 42-0 lead.
South Albany (2-8), meanwhile, struggled to do anything on offense as its plan to switch to a power-I formation in an effort to control the clock went up in smoke. The Rebels were held to 179 yards of total offense, 50 of which came on their lone touchdown drive.
South Albany quarterback Tanner Tibbett faced constant pressure and finished 3-for-10 with 36 yards passing and three interceptions, two by McCoy, whose first-quarter pick set up the Grizzlies' first touchdown.
The Rebels shot themselves in the foot by racking up 100 yards worth of penalties.
"We wanted to really control the clock a little bit and be able to stay on the field, but when you get a penalty and instead of being second-and-six it's first-and-15, that makes a big difference in what you're able to do," said South Albany coach Tony Matta.
Matta also praised Scarminach and the deception of the Grizzly offense, which racked up 495 yards — 270 passing and 225 rushing.
Scarminach completed 11 of 18 passes for 211 yards with one interception. Six Grizzlies had a catch, led by tight end Franklin Lime's five grabs for 66 yards. Taylor Humphrey had two catches for 84 yards, including a 70-yard bomb on Ashland's first play from scrimmage. Three plays later, Scarminach bulldozed in from the 2 to put Ashland ahead to stay.
After the Rebels failed to pick up a first down after going for it on fourth-and-one from their own 44, the Grizzlies took over and promptly covered the distance in seven plays to make it 13-0.
Ashland's next possession ended when Scarminach made his only major mistake, an underthrown ball into the end zone that was picked off by Schamp. But Ashland's senior dual-threat QB made up for it and then some later, when he turned what at first looked like a routine sneak up the middle into the longest run of the night.
From the Ashland 47, Scarminach bolted up the middle then cut outside before outrunning South Albany's defense.
Jon Volz capped an eight-play 68-yard march on Ashland's first series of the second half with a 14-yard TD run.
Ashland cleared its bench little by little after that, but the backups didn't let up. McCoy's 39-yard touchdown heave went to a sophomore, Quaid Walters, and later freshman QB Danial White rushed for 15 yards on four carries, including a first-down keeper late in the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies even threw in some trickery late, with Lime completing a 14-yard fake-punt pass to give Ashland a first down with about five minutes to go in the game — the play worked, even though the snap sailed over Lime's head.
"This year, we've really bonded as a family and it's been amazing," said Lime, whose 37-yard reception set up the Grizzlies' fourth touchdown. "I just can't picture us losing. Our team just has such a great connection and all the coaches have done such a great job. We're going to be a (tough) team to play."
At Walter A. Phillips Field
South Albany 0 0 0 7 —7
Ashland 13 8 14 7 —42
A — Scarminach 1 run (Wurfl kick)
A — Scarminach 2 run (kick failed)
A — Scarminach 47 run (Dodds pass from Scarminach)
A — Jo. Volz 14 run (Wurfl kick)
A — Heater 6 pass from McCoy (Wurfl kick)
A — Walters 39 pass from McCoy (Wurfl kick)
SA — Tibbett 1 run (Gomez kick)
First Downs 10 22
Rushes-Yards 36-143 41-225
Passing Yards 36 270
Comp-Att-Int 3-10-3 14-21-1
Total Yards 179 495
Punts 4-26.5 0-0
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-1
Penalties-yards 8-100 9-57
South Albany — Schamp 14-53, Nordahl 13-45, Tibbett 7-20, Johnson 1-19, Ohlhuasen 1-6.
Ashland — Scarminach 15-123, Jo. Volz 8-52, Davies 6-17, Bennett 4-15, Humphrey 4-9, Lime 1-4, Montgomery 2-4, Naylor 1-1.
South Albany — Tibbett 3-10-1 36.
Ashland — Scarminach 11-18-1 211, McCoy 2-2-0 45, Lime 1-1-0 14.
South Albany — Gibson 2-20, Schamp 1-16.
Ashland — Lime 5-66, Heater 3-42, Humphrey 2-84, Dodds 2-17, Walters 1-39, Jo. Volz 1-22.