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Gaston gets it done for homecoming


Hounds aren't flashy, but notch key win over visiting Neah-Kah-Nie

by: CHASE ALLGOOD - Gaston running back Austin Morey breaks free of the defense and runs for extra yards in Gaston's 34-8 homecoming win over Neah-Kah-Nie.It was homecoming last weekend in Gaston, and the hometown football team treated its fans to a 34-8 Northwest League victory over Neah-Kah-Nie.

The win was more methodical than exhilarating, with Gaston doing most of its damage on the ground and throwing only a handful of passes, but head coach Reeve Woodward knows that all victories carry equal weight at this point in the season.

“We made some mistakes, but we played OK. It wasn’t a great game, it was just kind of mediocre,” he said. “That’s to be expected sometimes with homecoming, because there are lots of distractions that aren’t related to football.”

While the game may have lacked any real flash, the Greyhounds (4-3, 2-1) still turned in a workmanlike performance in shutting down visiting Neah-Kah-Nie (2-6, 0-3). Gaston led 28-0 at halftime and didn’t allow a touchdown until the waning moments of the game, controlling the contest from start to finish.

“We played really good defense,” Woodward said. “We didn’t force any turnovers, we just shut them down. They got a late touchdown and that was pretty much it. We controlled the game.”

Jordan DeLay sparked the Gaston defense with three sacks from his position on the defensive line.

Austin Morey led the Gaston offense with 168 yards rushing and three touchdowns, including a 45-yard scamper and two short runs that capped lengthy Gaston scoring drives. Sam Wismer added 102 rushing yards and a touchdown, and the senior also threw a 40-yard scoring pass to Dylan Clark on a trick play in the second quarter. Clark finished with 72 yards on the ground and 40 more through the air.

Woodward said the score could have been even more lopsided were it not for a few costly mistakes.

“We got into some situations because of penalties that ended drives,” he said. “It wasn’t the most exciting game. We didn’t really have any huge plays, but we also didn’t make any huge mistakes.”

The lack of costly mistakes was encouraging for Woodward, who was understandably disappointed after his team’s 33-0 loss to Portland Christian two weeks ago.

“I felt like we took a step backwards against Portland Christian, but I think we started moving forward again with this win,” he said. “Now we’ve got to make another leap forward again this week.

“One game at a time — that’s us. We’re just trying to get better every week.”

The Greyhounds have two regular-season games left, starting with a road trip to Nestucca (3-3, 0-3) on Friday. Gaston will finish up at home against Knappa (3-4, 3-0) on Nov. 2.

If the Hounds win this week, they guarantee themselves a playoff spot. If Knappa knocks off Portland Christian this week and Gaston wins both of its final two games, the Hounds still have an outside shot at winning their second consecutive Northwest League title, but even Woodward admits that’s a long shot.

“If we win this one we make the playoffs, and that was one of our biggest goals at the beginning of the season,” he said. “If Knappa beats PC and then we beat Knappa, we could still win the league, but we’ve just got to focus on one game at a time. We can’t get ahead of ourselves.”

The top three teams from the league earn spots in the Class 2A state playoffs, which begin on Nov. 9. Gaston is hoping to make a postseason push this year after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.