After a bye week, Grant High came out flat against Grants Pass in their Class 6A playoff game at Lincoln High's Mike Walsh Field.
Both teams seemed to sleepwalk through the first three quarters. Then, with Grant leading 26-13, the fourth quarter turned into a shootout. Each team scored every time it touched the ball, before Grant ran out the clock on its last possession for a 40-32 win.
'We've had two weeks without a game,' Grant coach Diallo Lewis said. 'Coming off a bye, it can be a challenge at times, and there were times we were playing really well, and then still there were some things we have to work on.
"The important thing is we got the win. The first playoff game can be sometimes challenging. But we got the win.'
With the first-round victory, seventh-ranked Grant (8-2) will move on to the Oregon School Activities Association round of 16 and will play host No. 10 Canby next Friday at Lincoln.
Grant quarterback Paris Penn's passing stats against 26th-ranked Grants Pass (4-7) were not up to his usual stellar numbers. He was 8 of 18 for 139 yards and one touchdown. But Penn was the victim of several dropped passes, including three in the end zone - on plays that would have gone for 30-plus yards.
Penn did enough to lead the Generals to victory, though. He rushed 11 times for 84 yards and two scores. And the senior got lots of help from senior running back Bryant Peek Jr., who carried 22 times for 157 yards and three TDs.
'We didn't play to our maximum potential,' Penn said. 'We played good enough to win. We definitely have a lot to work on. We need to shape our defense up, and our offense needs to get a little better. But with a week of practice and film tomorrow, we can make this work.'
The Cavemen put the Generals on their heels from the opening kickoff. Cody Coffman fielded the kick and took it 73 yards to the Grant 14-yard line.
Grants Pass took a 6-0 lead when Chad Lowe scored the first of three touchdowns on a 1-yard dive.
The Generals answered back when Peek Jr. scored an 11-yard TD on the next possession.
Penn then put the Generals on top 13-6 in the second quarter, completing a 22-yard TD pass to Jonathan Haley on fourth-and-11.
Penn, flushed from the pocket, stepped up and delivered a strike to Haley. Looking for his first offensive touchdown of the season, Haley made a defender miss and dove into the end zone.
'I wanted it a lot,' Haley said. 'I didn't want to give up the ball (afterward). I was holding it for an extra five seconds, it felt like.'
Penn made the score 20-6 on a 24-yard TD run off tackle.
The Cavemen went into halftime down 20-13 after Lowe scored on a 3-yard counter up the middle.
Penn scored the only touchdown of the third quarter, running 8 yards on the same zone read play that had produced his first touchdown.
'I saw the defensive end come down field, pulled it, saw a hole and took it,' he said.
Lowe opened the fourth-quarter fireworks with a 53-yard run to the Grant 7 and a 4-yard TD one play later. That pulled Grants Pass to within 26-19.
From there, Peek Jr. and Grants Pass running back Logan Dean traded touchdowns.
Grant return man Nathan Halverson returned the ensuing kickoff 56 yards to the Cavemen's 26. Peek Jr. then busted a 21-yard run and followed that with a 5-yard TD run. Cordell Harris ran in a fake PAT kick to put the Generals on top 34-26.
Dean answered with a 4-yard TD run.
Grants Pass failed to gather the onside kick, and Grant got the ball on the Cavemen's 44.
Peek Jr. finished the drive with a 1-yard TD run to put the Generals ahead 40-26.
'Our line, every time I run, it's just good holes opening up,' Peek Jr. said. 'I'm going to take the opportunity every time.'
Dean again brought the Cavemen back into the game, though, as he scored on a 3-yard TD run.
But another onside kick failed to work for Grants Pass, and the Portland Interscholastic League Generals were able to run out the clock.
Canby (6-4) defeated visiting Westview 36-14 Friday night. Grant downed Westview 34-31 in two overtimes at Grant in the season opener on Sept. 2, and Peek Jr. said he is confident that the Generals can compete against any opponent.
'We don't care who it is,' Peek Jr. said. 'We're going to come out and dominate like we need to.'