The fact that the momentum of Friday's football game shifted so dramatically in favor of Grants Pass early in the second half was remarkable not only because it shaped the outcome of the game - a game the Cavemen would go on to win 45-20 over previously undefeated Forest Grove - but also because the Grants Pass players rallied in the face of so much uncertainty.
At halftime, Grants Pass quarterback and team captain Buddy Saxon was airlifted via Life Flight to Legacy Emmanuel Hospital in Portland, where he was treated for what school officials described at the time as a 'severe concussion.'
The start of the second half was delayed for almost half an hour while a Life Flight helicopter landed on the practice field adjacent to Dick Hendricks Stadium. Paramedics treated Saxon on the Grants Pass sideline, then carried him to the chopper while fans of both teams gave a rousing ovation.
Forest Grove athletic director Doug Thompson said he was in contact with Grants Pass football coach Tom Blanchard on Monday morning, and he was told that Saxon is doing well, although there is no timetable on his return to the football field.
'He's OK. It looks like there won't be any serious implications from the injury,' said Thompson.
Saxon was injured late in the first quarter when he was hit hard by a swarm of Forest Grove defenders while scrambling for a first down. The senior quarterback fumbled on the play and appeared shaken up afterward, but he walked off the field under his own power. Minutes later, EMT personnel could be seen treating Saxon on the sideline.
When Saxon's condition worsened, a joint decision was made by EMT personnel and Forest Grove team physician Dr. T.J. Gray to airlift Saxon to the hospital.
Saxon's backup, junior Zach Morgan, entered the game in the second quarter and played well, executing a two-minute drill that led to a field goal with 15 seconds left in the first half. Morgan completed 4 of 6 passes for 45 yards.