Greyhounds give up a long touchdown run in the fourth quarter to lose to Central Linn

Gaston football coach Reeve Woodward had an uplifting message for his team following last Friday’s 21-16 nonleague loss against Central Linn.

“I told them that we’re basically two plays away from being 4-0,” Woodward said. “We’ve just had some bad luck the last two weeks.”

Gaston could indeed be 4-0 at this point, but instead the Greyhounds sit at 2-2 after a second consecutive frustrating defeat.

Two weeks ago, Amity beat Gaston 6-0 on a fumble recovery that was returned for a touchdown when the Hounds were trying to run out the clock at the end of the first half, and last week it was a similar story, with Central Linn busting an 80-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to surge past the beleagured Greyhounds.

“I think it was a good wake-up call for us. Sometimes you make dumb plays, but we’re improving,” Woodward said. “If we had played the way we played against Central Linn, we would have beaten Amity by four touchdowns.

“We definitely played better this week, but the quality of our opponent was also better. They’re a really good team.”

Gaston dug itself a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter on Friday, but fought back with touchdown runs from Ian Mann and Dylan Clark to take a 16-14 lead at halftime.

On the first possession of the second half, Gaston drove deep into Central Linn territory and appeared to score on a fourth-and-goal play, but Clark was marked down one inch short of the end zone, giving the ball back to the Cobras.

After a defensive stand, Gaston got the ball back midway through the fourth quarter and ran into trouble again. Austin Morey broke loose for a 70-yard run that would have put Gaston in the red zone, but the Hounds were flagged for an illegal block in the back, which negated the run.

Gaston eventually marched to the Central Linn 20-yard line before the drive stalled out, giving possession back to the Cobras with less than three minutes remaining. Two plays later, Josue Avilez ran through a sea of missed tackles and raced 80 yards down the sideline to score the game-winning touchdown.

Gaston will have a week to get healthy and work on its issues before opening Northwest League play on Oct. 4 against reigning league champ Portland Christian.

“We did a lot of things wrong and you can’t do that against Portland Christian,” Woodward said. “They’re a really good team and they’ll take advantage of those mistakes.

“Right now we’re in the same place we were last year at this time, but we’ve played twice the competition. I feel good about where we’re at.”

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