Grizz mount late defensive stand, survive Lancers

A final Churchill High drive died on the Ashland 10-yard-line Friday night as the Lancers dropped a 26-20 Midwestern League football game to the visiting Grizzlies.

Churchill, which had struggled all night with its sputtering run game, drove 76 yards in the final 2:18 for the potential game-winning score. But the rally ended with three consecutive incompletions, leaving the Lancers with a 1-2 record.

The win represented a major bounce back for Ashland, which suffered a 49-0 thrashing to Marist last week.

"We got back to some basics and our kids responded very well," Ashland head coach Charlie Hall said. "To win in a game like this shows a lot of character."

Sophomore quarterback Danial White collected 246 yards for Ashland — he was 14-of-18 for 133 yards passing and had 18 carries for 113 rushing yards. Junior running back Jon Volz added 64 yards on 16 carries.

Ashland looked as if it would run away with the game in the first half, behind the arm and legs White. White scored all three of the Grizzlies' first-half touchdowns, capping Ashland's opening drive with a 42-yard touchdown sprint up the middle. He finished off the Grizzlies' second drive with a 2-yard scoring run, and gave his team a 20-6 lead with a 3-yard TD run just before halftime. He added a 26-yard touchdown run, again up the middle, in the third quarter.

Churchill marched 95 yards on 14 plays, capped by Mitch Reese's 5-yard touchdown scamper, to cut Ashland's lead to 26-18 with 4:01 to go. Reese's two-point conversion pass to Andrew Bennion made it a six-point game.

After Ashland's next drive stalled, the Lancers put together another long drive that was kept alive by a fourth-down facemask penalty. But Ashland held, thanks in part to a key defensive play by cornerback Sam Geisslinger. The senior leaped high to knock away a potential touchdown pass in the end zone on second down.

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