The Gladiators drop a 28-27 heartbreaker to fourth-ranked Philomath

It was sweet revenge for the fourth-ranked Philomath Warriors Friday, as they held off the Gladstone Gladiators for a 28-27 win in a key Class 4A preseason football game played Friday in Philomath.

The win avenged a 42-22 loss to Gladstone in a preseason game played at Gladstone a year ago.

The Gladiators were their own worst enemies, committing five turnovers in the game — including four in the second half.

Still, the Gladiators battled. And the outcome was uncertain until the final horn.

Gladstone pulled to within 28-27 when Handsome Smith hauled in a pass from Austin Galvin for a 20-yard touchdown pass play with just eight seconds to play.

Galvin attempted to pass for the two-point conversion and the win. But the aerial soared just out of reach of his intended receiver, and the victory belonged to Philomath.

Gladstone went up 21-14 early in the third quarter, when Eric Prom took a pitch from Galvin and rambled 49 yards for a touchdown.

Neither team scored again in the third period. But Smith fumbled the ball after a 45-yard punt return to the Philomath 39. And 14 plays later Philomath 190-pound senior running back Austin Brown scored on a short dive to knot the score at 21-21 with 10:56 left to play.

Three plays later, the Warriors got the ball back on a Gladiator fumble near the midfield stripe. And seven plays after that, 6-1, 185-pound senior running back Joe Noble scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 24-yard run. Ben DeSaulnier split the uprights, and the Warriors’ lead was 28-21.

Gladstone followed with a drive to the Warrior 20 that ended in an intercepted pass.

Gladstone got the ball back at its own 9 on a 69-yard punt by DeSaulnier.

The Gladiators then marched all the way to the Philomath 20 in six plays, where Galvin’s pass to Smith put Gladstone in position to tie or win the game. But the football gods smiled on the Warriors, as the two-point conversion proved unsuccessful.

Even with the five turnovers, the Gladiators earned a 363- to 360-yard edge in total offense.

Galvin completed 5-of-14 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns, and the Gladiator senior helmsman rushed six times for 92 yards and a touchdown to lead all Gladstone rushers.

Brown rushed 24 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns to lead the attack for the Warriors.

Galvin answered a Philomath first-quarter touchdown with a 25-yard sprint to paydirt to trim a Warrior lead to 7-6.

Zach Smith teamed up with Galvin for a 75-yard touchdown pass play in the second period to cut a Philomath lead to 14-12. Handsome Smith then ran the ball in for the two-point conversion, and the first half ended in a 14-14 standoff.

Gladstone coach Jon Wolf commented: “I was disappointed with the turnovers, but not the kids. The turnovers weren’t for lack of effort. Our kids were running hard and they got hit. Austin [Galvin] was scrambling around on fourth down when he got picked. On the fumbles, the kids were just playing hard and the ball popped loose.... Philomath is a very good football team.”

The win put Philomath at 4-0 on the season, while Gladstone slipped to 2-2 with the loss. It was the first close game the Warriors had had this season. In earlier games they upended Yamhill-Carlton 45-12, Elmira 42-14 and La Salle 43-7.

Gladstone will attempt to rebound this Friday, when the Gladiators travel to La Salle (1-3) for a showdown with their cross-town rivals.

Another tough

night for La Salle

La Salle had another tough time Friday night when little went right and the Falcons lost 40-9 to eighth-ranked Banks.

Two intercepted passes and an untimely fumble proved costly, along with an inadvertent whistle.

The Falcons didn’t score until the fourth quarter, but they had a third-quarter touchdown called back by an inadvertent whistle. And they settled for a safety in the fourth period, after fumbling a chance at a touchdown away at the Brave one-yard line.

La Salle trailed 40-0 when Aaron Johnson put La Salle’s first points on the scoreboard by tackling a Banks back in the end zone for a safety.

The Falcons’ only touchdown was scored on a five-yard pass from La Salle junior quarterback Alex Sherrill to sophomore wide receiver Charlie Sliney.

La Salle trailed by just a touchdown in the second quarter when a Falcon turnover led to a second Banks touchdown.

La Salle trailed by just three touchdowns at halftime, at 20-0. But Banks then put the game away in the third period, scoring on a sustained drive and on a 74-yard fumble recovery return. The fumble recovery return for a score came shortly after the lost Falcon score on the inadvertent whistle.

Despite the lopsided score, Banks claimed only a 263- to 234-yard advantage in total offense.

Banks quarterback Garrett Markham was the Falcons’ nemesis. The 6-2, 190-pound senior completed 14-of-17 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed 10 times for 41 yards and a touchdown, and he returned the Falcon fumble for the touchdown.

Sherrill struggled to get much of a passing game going, completing only 7-of-20 passes for 70 yards.

La Salle punter George Lilly had a good night, averaging 50 yards on four punts.

Nash Lisac came close to his second 100-yard rushing game of the season, picking up 95 yards in 20 trips with the pigskin.

With the win, Banks improved to 4-0 on the season. In earlier games the Braves defeated Cascade 31-26, Sweet Home 34-13 and Benson 49-0.

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