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Hounds hold off Knappa in thriller

Gaston's offense is slowed down but the Hounds still get a crucial league victory

Gaston's offense wasn't its usual high-scoring self on Friday, but the defense turned in its best performance of the season in a hard-fought 12-6 win over Knappa that sent the Greyhounds to the top of the Northwest League standings.

Gaston (5-0, 1-0) came into Friday's league opener averaging 52.3 points per game, but Knappa - the three-time defending league champions and 2008 Class 2A state title winners - posed a much stiffer challenge. The Loggers limited Gaston's high-octane offense, but the Hounds were able to punch in a pair of early scores and then lean on their defense for the critical league victory.

'It was a good win for us, for sure,' Gaston coach Reeve Woodward said. 'We made some mistakes that killed drives and we stalled ourselves out a couple times, but our defense just played out of this world.'

The Greyhounds limited Knappa's potent offense to less than 150 total yards on Friday, including a measly 25 yards rushing. David Carr had two interceptions in the game and Devon McCathron had another. Woodward also singled out the play of defensive lineman Dillon McCathron as being crucial to shutting down the Loggers' run game.

'Dillon was a beast. He played the game of his life,' Woodward said.

Offensively, Gaston got an early 2-yard touchdown run from Carr, followed by a 17-yard scoring scamper from Adam Johnson in the second quarter that staked the Hounds to a 12-0 halftime lead.

Knappa didn't score until the fourth quarter, and Gaston was able to run out the clock on an important win.

'We hadn't beaten Knappa since 1981, so we had to get over that mental hurdle first,' Woodward said. 'It feels good to be the hunted. It's nice to not be the underdog all the time.'

Gaston will host Vernonia on Friday for homecoming.

'They're much improved from last year,' Woodward said of the Loggers. 'They will be a challenge for us.'