The Grizzlies have been waiting all season for a complete four-quarter effort.
That arrived Friday night.
Led by a huge third-quarter effort and four touchdown passes from junior quarterback Rieger Sayre, the Ashland High football team ended its three-game losing skid with a 42-21 win over North Eugene in its final regular-season home game at Walter A. Phillips Field.
Ashland (3-4 overall, 1-3 Midwestern League) has now claimed all three of its wins in 2018 at home. DaMario Watson has hit 100 yards on the ground in all three of those wins, with the junior running back carrying the ball 22 times for 128 yards against North Eugene (1-6, 0-4).
The Grizzlies will again face opposition from Eugene next week, traveling to South Eugene, which almost upset Churchill on Friday night.
The Grizzlies never trailed in the game, with Sayre throwing his first two touchdown passes in the first half — one each to Nagali Jackson and Nathan Carter. Sayre’s TD strike to Carter came with all of six seconds to go before halftime to the Grizzlies a 14-7 lead.
Ashland carried that momentum right into the third quarter.
The Sayre-Carter connection hooked up again on a 21-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter. Just over a minute later, Isaac Evans picked off a pass from North Eugene quarterback Drew Williams and returned it 20 yards for the pick-6.
Another Highlander turnover, this time a fumble recovered by Jackson, gave the Grizzlies prime field position. Ashland turned it into another touchdown the very next play, with Nolan Rinefort running it in from 30 yards out on a wide receiver reverse to make it 35-7.
Rinefort was also on the end of Sayre’s final touchdown pass of the night, a 27-yard strike with four minutes to go.
Sayre went 16-for-31 for 164 yards in the win, while Carter finished with three catches for 72 yards.
Defensively, Ashland linebacker Myles Montgomery again hit double digits in tackles, recording a game-high 12 tackles — 10 of which were unassisted — on the night. On top of scoring on his interception return, Evans also recorded eight tackles.
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NORTH EUGENE 3, ASHLAND 0: At Ashland, North Eugene scored two goals in the opening 17 minutes and make Ashland pay for a tough start in Midwestern League action.
The Grizzlies (2-7-1, 1-3-1) had chances to get on the scoreboard, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Ashland goalkeeper Nina Munson made several saves during North Eugene’s strong start to the game.
North Eugene recorded its final goal in the closing seconds as it had Ashland on the counter with the Grizzlies throwing numbers forward.
Ashland returns to the field when it hosts Crater on Tuesday night.
ASHLAND TO HOLD BREAST CANCER AWARENESS NIGHT: The Ashland High volleyball team will hold its annual ‘Dig Pink’ breast cancer awareness night on Monday when the Grizzlies host South Medford at Mountain Avenue Gym.
All proceeds from the game will go to Asante Community Hospital for mammograms and screenings.
Items for sale will include baked goods, items from local companies as well as gift baskets.
South Medford’s trip to Ashland is the Grizzlies’ second-to-last home game of the 2018 season.
RCC TO HOLD SOCCER EXPO: The Rogue Community College men’s and women’s soccer teams will host a free RCC Ospreys Soccer Expo from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today at U.S. Cellular Community Park in Medford.
Today’s events include a doubleheader for the men’s and women’s teams against Clark Community College (Wash.). There will be an on-site food truck, games, prizes and RCC apparel and college information available.
For more information about RCC athletics, visit athletics.roguecc.edu or call 541-245-7710.
Contact Danny Penza at 541-776-4483 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @penzatopaper.