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The Gladiators improve to 5-0 for the season after winning on the road at Madras.

COURTESY PHOTO: LON AUSTIN - Gladstone senior Jude Ashpole hauls in one of his three touchdown catches in his team's 32-6 win over Madras at Madras High School on Friday, April 2.There is nothing, it would seem, that can stop the Gladstone football team.

The Gladiators, playing Special District 2 foe Madras on Friday, April 2, proved it big-time against the White Buffalos, using their size to steamroll to a 32-6 victory at Madras High School.

"(The) season has gone pretty good," said Gladstone senior Jude Ashpole, who caught three touchdown passes in the win. "We are 5-0 and that is what we like to hear."

With the victory, the Gladiators won for the fifth straight time and improved to 5-0 in SD2 and 5-0 overall. Madras, meanwhile, lost for the second straight time and fell to 1-3 in SD2 play and 1-4 overall.

"I loved the effort," said Madras head coach Kurt Taylor. "That was the biggest goal ... to see what they could do if they just came out and just applied everything that we've taken in the last few weeks and just laid it all out. We told them 'Just lay everything you have on the field and see what happens,' and by golly, I thought we had a chance. I really did."

Gladstone 32, Madras 6

With the White Buffalos playing stout defense, neither team was able to score in the first quarter, but when Madras punted early in the second quarter, Gladstone's Ryan Lee caught the short punt in full stride and raced all the way to the Madras 12-yard line.

On the next play, Lee took the ball around left end and went all the way to the Madras 1-yard line. Two plays later, on third-and-goal from the 4-yard line, the center snap went over the head of quarterback Brayde Owen. Owen raced back to the 27-yard line, picked the ball up on the run and threw a perfect strike to Ashpole in the back corner of the end zone. The two-point conversion attempt — another pass to Ashpole — failed, but the Gladiators led 6-0.

Following another Madras punt, Gladstone needed just four plays to score again, with Owen hitting Ashpole for a 45-yard touchdown. This time, the two-point conversion was good, with Owen finding Ashpole in the end zone to give the Gladiators a 14-0 lead with 5 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the first half.

The White Buffalos fought back and drove all the way to the Gladstone 21. From there, on third-and-10, sophomore quarterback Dru Boyle dropped back to pass and hit sophomore wide receiver Cael White on a 21-yard touchdown pass. The extra point attempt failed, but the White Buffalos were within striking range at 14-6 with just over a minute left in the first half.

After a quick Gladstone stop at the start of the second half, the Gladiators used three straight runs by senior Sabastian Peiffer to advance 30 yards to midfield. A pass from Owen to sophomore Ethan Finnigan moved the ball to the Madras 20, and two plays later, Peiffer scored from 12 yards out. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but the Gladiators had some breathing room at 20-6.

"I mean, (Peiffer) got us hyped up with one play that we liked and it just turned everything around and that's when we went off," Ashpole said.

Madras struggled to move the ball throughout the second half, while Gladstone scored on its next two possessions to take complete control. First, Owen hit Ashpole for a 37-yard touchdown, then Owen carried the ball across the goal line from two yards out. Both times, the conversion attempts failed, but the damage was done and the Gladiators pulled away for the 32-6 win.

"We did start off really slow," Ashpole said. "We didn't get off the bus, but at halftime, we talked and it got us hyped up."

"We really looked like we were going to get to them," Taylor said. "But there's something to be said about sometimes the Jimmys and Joes are just a little bit better than the Xs and Os and they had some guys and they caught us off guard with. And Ashpole, we really couldn't stop him."

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