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Grizzlies win, make playoffs

Ashland quarterback Rieger Sayre played a near-flawless game and the sixth-ranked Grizzlies earned an automatic berth to the Class 5A state playoffs with a 42-21 Midwestern League victory over South Eugene Friday.

It was the final regular season game for Ashland (8-1, 4-1 MWL), which placed second in the MWL South Division. The Grizzlies open the playoffs next Friday against a team to be determined.

Sayre continued his outstanding senior season, completing 82 percent of his passes while throwing for three touchdowns.

He was 23 of 28 for 366 yards without an interception. On the ground, aided by a 59-yard touchdown run to begin the scoring, he gained 59 yards on four carries.

Sayre’s scoring passes were 23 yards to Nolan Rinefort, 37 yards to Nathan Carter and 12 yards to Gabe Ekwall.

The Grizzlies were comfortably ahead, 35-7, before the Axe (5-4, 2-3) scored back-to-back touchdowns spanning the third and fourth quarters to pull within 35-21 with less than five minutes remaining.

Ekwall’s touchdown completed the scoring with 1:11 to play.

DaMario Watson didn’t have a big rushing day for Ashland, but he scored twice. He gained 30 yards and tallied on runs of 10 and 3 yards.

Ekwall hauled in eight passes for 111 yards, and Rinefort had 77 yards as one of four players with three catches.

South Eugene7680—21

Ashland211470—42

A — Sayre 59 run (Rinefort kick)

SE — Boettcher 2 run (Thompson kick)

A — Rinefort 23 pass from Sayre (Rinefort kick)

A — Carter 37 pass from Sayre (Rinefort kick)

A — Watson 10 run (Rinefort kick)

A — Watson 3 run (Rinefort kick)

SE — Nelson 6 pass from Boettcher (kick failed)

SE — Boettcher 5 run (Garcia pass from Boettcher)

A — Ekwall 12 pass from Sayre (Rinefort kick)

Ashland High senior Reiger Sayre races past South Eugene defenders en route to a First Quarter Touchdown at Walter A. Phillips Field on Friday. (PHOTO BY: Larry Stauth Jr)
Ashland High senior Logan Sanford with the straight arm on South Eugene defender Austin Mills at Walter A. Phillips Field on Friday. (PHOTO BY: Larry Stauth Jr)