Gladstone knocks off defending 4A champion Cottage Grove, 37-25
Gladstone's offensive line won the battle up front as sophomore running back Sabastian Peiffer rushed for a game-high 134 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Gladiators to a 37-25 home win over Cottage Grove in Friday's opening round of the OSAA Class 4A football playoffs at Dick Baker Stadium.
Junior tailback Mason Scheehean added 113 yards rushing and senior running back Spencer Boyd helped seal the victory with a 37-yard touchdown run with 1:37 to play, sending the Gladiators (7-2) into Friday's quarterfinals against No. 7 La Grande (7-2).
Gladstone never trailed against Cottage Grove, but couldn't shake loose from the defending 4A state champions, who cut the Gladiators' lead to 27-25 when Jacob Dunn scored on a 35-yard pass from Dylan Graves with 10:13 to play in the third quarter.
Gladstone kicker Mateo Burgos' 34-yard field extended the lead to 30-25 with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter. Then after Boyd scored to cap a 66-yard touchdown drive, Graves had a pass intercepted by Gladstone's Ben Hill that helped put the game away.
The win sends the Gladiators into the quarterfinals for the second year in a row and the sixth time in nine seasons.
"We dominated up front on both sides of the ball," Gladstone coach Wayne Harris said. "I think that was the difference in the game, right there. Cottage Grove was really good, but we controlled the line of scrimmage.
"Every game we play, I'm always nervous, because there's really not a safe lead in high school football, but we shut them down after the first few minutes of the third quarter."
Gladstone Jake Gehrke opened the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run, but Graves answered with a 65-yard touchdown pass to Matt Zumwalt that made it 7-7 with 6:37 to play in the first quarter.
Peiffer, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound sophomore, then scored on a 25-yard run and the Gladiators led 13-7 after missing the extra point with 3:11 left in the first quarter.
After Cottage Grove's Erick Giffen hit a 32-yard field goal, Gladstone's Hill scooped up a Lions' fumble and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown that made it 20-10 with 2:56 left in the half.
Graves then threw a backward pass to Giffen, who then a 62-yard touchdown pass to Zumwalt, keeping the Lions close at 20-16.
Peiffer's second touchdown on a 3-yard run made it 27-16, and Giffen answered with a 23-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to make it 27-19.