Gladstone gridders ride Aldredge's legs and their defense to a 41-28 victory
TURNER - The Gladstone Gladiators had a lot to celebrate Friday night, as they rode Jordan Aldredge's legs to a 41-28 win at Cascade.
The win was the third in a row for the Gladiators (3-3, 3-0) and it left them all alone atop the Capital Conference standings heading into this Thursday's home game with cross-town rival La Salle (3-3, 2-1).
Aldredge had a phenomenal night, racking up 347 yards in all-purpose offense, and scoring four of the Gladiators' six touchdowns.
The 6-1, 215-pound senior returned a kickoff 91 yards for Gladstone's first score, and also scored on runs of 70, 41 and 44 yards. Aldredge picked up 228 yards rushing on just 14 carries.
Still, the host Cougars battled valiantly, and it wasn't until the second half that the Gladiators toughened up on defense and pulled away. The two teams battled to a 28-28 standoff in the first half.
Aldredge put the Gladiators up for good when he sped 44 yards to the end zone for a 35-28 Gladiator lead less than three minutes into the third period.
The Gladiators forced a fumble late in the third period, but a 47-yard field goal attempt by Joe Kociemba came up just short and just wide of the mark.
More pivotal defensive plays followed. Gladstone defensive back Ryan Tracy slowed the Cougars with a quarterback sack, and linebacker Drew McNall followed with an interception near the midfield stripe. It was only the second interception thrown by Cascade quarterback Tommy
Coleman out of 140 passes the senior helmsman has attempted this fall.
The interception gained the Glads field position. And, after an exchange of fumbles, Darrell Fields took the ball in from the 3 to widen Gladstone's lead to 41-28 with nine minutes left to play.
The Gladiators stopped a Cougar drive at the 34 with five minutes remaining, and they maintained possession through the final horn.
Game statistics reflect Gladstone's improved second half defense.
Coleman completed 17-of-37 passes for 210 yards, but he had only 36 yards passing after the halftime break. And Cougar running back R.J. Williams rushed for 104 yards, but he rushed for a negative two yards in the second half.
Gladstone finished with a 417- to 340-yard edge in total offense on the night.
Gladstone quarterback Mitch Foteff completed 5-of-10 passes for 49 yards, and rushed 14 times for 87 yards.
It was the third straight loss for Cascade, which had yielded to La Salle 36-22 in a game at Cascade a week earlier.