It's Grizzlies, by a leg

He couldn't even watch it.

Mason Costantino had an extra point blocked with a chance to tie five minutes earlier, missed a field goal attempt in the first half, and now Ashland coach Charlie Hall had him kicking for the game — for the season — with 23 seconds left.

So can you blame him if his eyes were hidden, the Grizzlies trailing Wilsonville 14-13, before the 27-yard attempt even left the ground?

Obviously, there was never any doubt.

"I've never been that nervous in my life," Costantino said after sending the kick straight through the uprights, Hall suddenly a little smarter, the Grizzlies 16-14 winners and earning the right to play back-to-back defending 5A champion West Albany next week.

"You always see those kickers on TV in that situation, and feel bad for them after they miss a big one," Costantino continued. "I never thought I would be the one in that situation, but I definitely didn't want to be the guy everyone felt sorry for."

Quarterback Jake Scarminach rushed for two scores on 125 rushing yards and Costantino, one of the top receivers in the Southern Sky Conference this season, led Ashland with 43 receiving yard on five catches. But they were hardly the only heroes.

Down 14-7 and looking for their fourth comeback win of the season, Lee Dodds gave the Grizzlies new life with six minutes remaining when he recovered a fumble at Wilsonville's 20-yard line.

Hall put the ball in Scarminach's hands, calling two straight quarterback-keepers, the second an 11-yard run with 5:27 on the clock. The Bulldogs blocked the PAT attempt to stay one point ahead.

Wilsonville's ensuing drive was predictable. They ran it at Ashland all game, totaling only seven completed passes while putting it on the ground 49 times, and with the chance to continue the trend with the game on the line did what was expected.

They had good field position to start the drive after a failed Ashland onside-kick attempt, and five plays into the drive had a first down at the Grizzly 21 with 2:13 left.

But two stops and a Bulldog penalty later, the stage was set for junior Ashland lineman Christian Ostmo to save the season for a second straight week. Last week, it was Ostmo blocking an extra point that would have eliminated the Grizzlies from the playoff picture.

This time, Wilsonville quarterback Brennen Wolvert released an errant toss, and when two Bulldogs slipped in the mud attempting to change directions and dive on the ball, Ostmo did it again.

He dove on the ball at Ashland's 42, giving the Grizzlies life one last time with 1:56 remaining.

"I was in the right place at the right time," Ostmo said. "This team never gives up, we always keep fighting, and we were fighting our butts off to give the offense a chance that whole possession."

Scarminach then completed four passes to three different receivers, the final connection to Costantino at the 10-yard line over the middle, but the Grizzlies faced fourth down after he was stuffed at the line on two straight keepers, setting up the field goal.

"We took our chances in the end zone and had some troubles, but obviously we didn't want to get shut out right there," Hall said. "I couldn't watch it, but I saw the crowd go nuts and that's when I knew it was the right move."

Scarminach finished 12-for-21 with 96 yards passing, but the defense kept Ashland in it. Clint Murphy led the Grizzlies with nine tackles, and as the punter also recovered two bouncing snaps in the fourth quarter that were potentially disastrous, but got them away.

Wilsonville receiver Michael Mackelvie got the Bulldogs on the board with a 30-yard catch to tie the game at the end of the first half. Their second score came on a goal-line run from Julian Escobedo, who ran a game-high 22 times for 49 yards.

Ashland (5-6) gained 232 total yards to Wilsonville's 226, but on 21 less plays.

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