Greyhounds end long state playoff drought

Gaston finishes second in the Northwest League and earns its first playoff bid in 18 years

There was a lot at stake when Gaston hosted Neah-Kah-Nie in football last October.

It was homecoming weekend, so pride was on the line, but more important than pride was the fact that, with a win, the Greyhounds could erase nearly two decades of postseason futility.

That was the important part.

So it was no surprise that the Hounds' celebration lasted a little longer after a 34-14 victory that improved Gaston's record to 5-1 and clinched a state playoff appearance for a program that hadn't played a postseason game since 1992.

'It's pretty cool,' Gaston quarterback David Carr said after the win. 'A lot of things are coming together for us and it's exciting - especially since the last time we were in a playoff (game) was before I was born.'

Gaston finished up the regular season with wins over Portland Christian and Chemawa, clinching a second-place finish in the Northwest League and earning the Hounds a spot in the state playoffs.

It was a nice boost for a football program that hadn't been involved in a playoff game in 17 years.

'The town's been great,' said first-year Gaston coach Reeve Woodward. 'They're pretty excited. I mean, this is great for the whole community.'

Gaston traveled south in the opening round of the playoffs to face second-seeded Monroe, the regular-season Mountain View Conference champions. Monroe used a power rushing attack to pound Gaston into submission, and the Hounds' cinderella season ended with a 22-6 loss.

'I told them that it was just another game,' Woodward said. 'The only difference is if we lose this one, we go home.

'We played like we had never been to the dance before. We were pretty nervous. That kind of cost us.'

Despite the loss, Woodward was pleased with how his first season as head coach went.

'The statement we really wanted to make was to knock on the door this year,' he said. 'And next year, we're going to kick it in.'