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Vikings fall to South Salem, Gaston drops third straight

Saxons pull away from Forest Grove in the second half


It might not be obvious from the scores, but Forest Grove football coach Dwight Jensen is confident that this year’s team is a much more complete squad than last year’s team.

The Vikings suffered their second straight loss last Friday night, dropping a 35-6 decision to South Salem in Greater Valley Conference play, but Jensen said there were still plenty of positives to build around.

“We’ve just got to keep cleaning things up,” he said. “This is a much better team than last year. We’re doing so many things better than we did last year. We just need to fix some of these mistakes that are hurting us.”

Case in point: three times in the first half on Friday the Vikings drove into South Salem territory only to turn the ball over, one of which was an interception in the end zone and another was a fumble that the Saxons returned 50 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 halftime lead.

In the second half it was three coverage breakdowns that led to long touchdown passes for South Salem. Quarterback Gabe Matthews connected with Gibson Hohberg for a 30-yard score and Joseph Carey for a 26-yard TD in the third quarter to give the Saxons a 21-0 lead, and Matthews added a 50-yard bomb to Carey in the fourth quarter that made it 28-6.

“In the first half I thought we did a real nice job defensively keeping (South Salem) out of the end zone,” Jensen said. “In the second half the only thing that hurt us was we gave up three long passes. We had the right matchups, we just gave them too much cushion and they ran right past us.”

Forest Grove’s only touchdown came on a 14-yard pass from Taylor Jensen to Ronnie Thompson early in the fourth quarter. Jensen completed 15-of-23 passes for 164 yards and Thompson had six catches for 91 yards and the TD. Marcus Estrada led the Vikings on the ground with 13 carries for 48 yards, but also fumbled twice.

Defensively, Forest Grove limited South Salem to just 89 rushing yards, the first time in several years that Jensen said he could remember the Vikings holding an opponent under 100.

Forest Grove (1-2, 0-2 GVC) will have another tought test on Friday when the Vikings host Sprague (3-0, 3-0).

“Right out of the chute you’re finding out what you’re made of,” Jensen said of playing three of the GVC’s top teams in a row. “We’re running the gauntlet right now.”

Riverside too much for Greyhounds

Gaston’s road trip to Boardman to face Riverside got off to a frustrating start on Friday when bus troubles and traffic jams on I-84 delayed the Greyhounds’ arrival and the start of the contest by more than an hour.

Ultimately, the game didn’t end until after 11 p.m., and the visitors from Gaston had to face a long drive home following a 48-19 nonleague loss.

The Greyhounds hung around early, trailing 14-6 at the end of the first quarter, but Riverside blew the game open with 22 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 36-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Noe Madrigal caught three passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns for Riverside, and Felix Aparicio had a 70-yard TD reception. Quarterback Eon Castillo completed 9-of-16 passes for 188 yards, and Mason Hegar had 85 yards rushing on just four carries. Ricardo Mendoza also contributed 61 rushing yards.

Gaston (0-3) has one final nonleague tune-up on Friday night at home against Jefferson (1-2).