EUGENE — The Grizzlies’ chance to make it back-to-back wins came up just short.
A valiant Ashland effort that saw the Grizzlies leading in the third quarter turned out to be their closest loss of the 2018 season, as South Eugene rallied behind a four-touchdown night from quarterback Bryce Boettcher to claim a 27-17 win on Friday.
Ashland fell to 3-5 overall and 1-4 in the Midwestern League’s South Division. The Grizzlies’ next opponent will be finalized this morning, with next week serving as crossover play between the MWL’s two divisions based on where each team finished in their respective division.
Rieger Sayre’s 43-yard touchdown pass to wideout Nathan Carter put the Grizzlies ahead 17-14 midway through the third quarter.
The Axe (5-3 overall, 3-2 MWL South) re-took the lead with a minute to go in the third on a 28-yard run by Boettcher, his third TD on the ground in the game.
Boettcher — who had 75 yards rushing on the night — pushed it to a 10-point lead with 4:52 to go on a five-yard touchdown run.
Sayre had one of his best games of the season Friday night, going 20-for-29 for 230 yards and the touchdown to Carter. He was also Ashland’s leading rusher, recording 43 yards on four carries.
Ashland tied the game less than a minute into the second quarter on a punt return by Isaac Evans.
On top of having a team-high 74 yards receiving, Nolan Rinefort pulled Ashland within 14-10 with four minutes to go before halftime thanks to a 28-yard field goal.
The Axe picked up all but 69 of their 352 yards of total offense on the ground, rushing the ball 47 times for 283 yards.
South Eugene 27, Ashland 17
At South Eugene
SE — Boettcher 2 run (McFarlane kick)
A — Evans 22 punt return (Rinefort kick)
SE — Boettcher 1 run (McFarlane kick)
A — Rinefort 28 field goal
A — Carter 43 pass from Sayre (Rinefort kick)
SE — Boettcher 28 run (kick no good)
SE — Boettcher 5 run (McFarlane kick)
Ashland — Watson 14-39; Sayre 4-43.
South Eugene — Reyna 23-118; Garcia 9-84; Boettcher 12-75; Richardson 1-(-2); Brown 2-8.
Ashland — Sayre 20-29-0 230.
South Eugene — Boettcher 6-12-1 69.
Ashland — Rinefort 5-74; Rodriguez 1-1; Jackson 1-3; Watson 3-8; Ekwall 5-84; Carter 2-60.
South Eugene — Reyna 1-7; Garcia 2-40; Yates 2-22; Edwards 1-0.
Contact Danny Penza at 541-776-4483 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @penzatopaper.