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Ashland visits Summit in title rematch

The rubber match between the Ashland and Summit football teams won’t have as much at stake when they meet tonight at 7 in Bend, their third matchup in less than a year.

After Ashland handed the Storm its lone loss last season in a nonleague game Sept. 18, Summit answered in the Class 5A state championship game, scoring the final 21 points in a 45-28 victory.

There are new expectations for 2016, and they remain lofty. Summit, despite losing its opener, 42-14 at Clackamas — a 6A quarterfinalist last year — is ranked No. 1 in the state media poll. Ashland is second.

In the title game a year ago, Ashland took a 28-24 lead on the strength of a touchdown drive to close the first half and two more to open the third.

But Storm quarterback John Bledsoe, the son of former NFL QB Drew Bledsoe, engineered a 99-yard drive to kick-start Summit’s late surge. Bledsoe, the 5A offensive player of the year, is now a senior, and his father is an assistant coach.

Bledsoe passed for 265 yards in the title game, completing 20 of 31 passes. He threw for two TDs and ran for two. It capped a season in which he passed for 2,551 yards and 31 TDs with only three interceptions.

Also back is running back Dawson Ruhl, who ran for a team-high 1,099 yards and 17 scores.

Summit lost five all-state players off last year’s team, including four on defense.

In the loss to Clackamas, Bledsoe passed for 236 yards and a TD.

Ashland routed Klamath Union 36-0 in its opener, scoring all its points in the first half.

Quarterback Tucker Atteberry passed for 158 yards, and Andrew Stark rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns.

Atteberry completed 14 of 22 passes, with a touchdown and no interceptions. Oliver Warren caught four passes for 70 yards and a score, and Nicky Weinberg scored on an 8-yard run and an interception return.

The Grizzlies, like the Storm, have undergone a major makeover. They have only five returning starters on offense and three on defense.

— Tim Trower