Next up, No. 1 Philomath in the quarterfinals

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Gladstone coach Jon Wolf commends his players for a job well done following last Fridays drubbing of sixth-ranked Siuslaw in a first-round game of the Class 4A state playoffs.The Gladstone Gladiators were all business on Friday night, as they were dominant in a 29-9 win over sixth-ranked Siuslaw in a first-round game of the Class 4A high school football playoffs.

The Gladiators led 17-0 at halftime and they were in command from the opening kickoff, as they held the Vikings to their lowest-scoring game of the season. Siuslaw, which entered the game averaging 41 points an outing, ended the season with an 8-2 record, its only other loss to Far West Conference champion and seventh-ranked North Bend in league play.

The Tri-Valley Conference champion Gladiators on Friday night rallied around Handsome Smith to out-gain the visiting Vikings 393- to 163 yards in total offense.

Smith rushed for 117 yards on 17 carries and he scored three of the Gladiators’ four touchdowns. The 5-8, 165-pound junior running back stretched the Gladiators’ lead to 17-0 when he hauled in a 17-yard pass from senior quarterback Austin Galvin in the second quarter. His 44-yard sprint to paydirt in the third quarter made it 23-6 Gladstone. And when Smith scored on a 33-yard run in the fourth quarter, the Gladiator lead was 29-9, and the game was in the bag.

The Gladiators scored twice in the first quarter, on a 24-yard field goal by Alex Ameripour and on a 27-yard pass from Galvin to Eric Prom.

Galvin had a good night at the helm, rushing 12 times for 80 yards, and completing 6-of-13 passes for 106 yards.

The Gladiator defense was effective against the pass as well as the rush.

The Vikings picked up just 138 yards on 35 rushing plays. Siuslaw quarterback Preston Mitchell hooked up with receivers on only 5-of-13 passes, for a net of 25 yards.

“We played pretty well defensively and we were efficient on offense — no turnovers,” said Gladstone coach Jon Wolf. “We did a good job stopping them and making them punt, and we took away their long pass.”

Wolf singled out cornerbacks Eric Prom, E.J. Penn and Mac McCaslin for standout play in the defensive secondary. It was Prom’s first game back since injuring his ankle in an Oct. 4 game with Estacada.

Wolf said that Kyle Wou played “his best game of the year” at linebacker, “making great reads and tackles.” And he singled out Trask Telesmanich for standout play at defensive end.

The win advanced the Gladiators (8-2) to a Saturday state quarterfinal showdown with Philomath, the top-ranked Class 4A high school football team in the state.

The Warriors this season have gone 10-0, outscoring their ten opponents by an average tally of 42-15. Philomath last Saturday defeated 20th-ranked Ontario 49-27.

Saturday’s game won’t be the first game between Gladstone and Philomath this season. The two teams met in Philomath on Sept. 20, with the Warriors winning a 28-27 nailbiter. Gladstone had five turnovers in that game, a contest that saw each team generate around 360 yards in offense.

Austin Brown, a 5-11, 190-pound senior, leads the Warrior ground attack. He rushed 24 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the Sept. 20 game.

Trey Ecker, a 6-4, 165-pound senior, leads the Warrior aerial assault; Ben DeSaulnier, a 6-2, 205-pound senior, is a dual threat, as a receiver and running back.

“We played them early in the season, went for two on our last extra point, and lost 28-27,” said Wolf. “They were good then and they are very good now. They are ranked No. 1 for a reason....

“We’re going to have to work hard all week in practice and get off the bus prepared to play our best game.”

Philomath and Gladstone both lost in the quarterfinals last year, the Gladiators dropping a 10-7 heartbreaker to state finalist North Bend, and the Warriors dropping a 35-28 heartbreaker to Cascade.

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