Gophers pull away from Centennial, earn playoff spot
Gresham goes on the road and grabs 27-7 win to clinch the Mt. Hood Conference's fourth guaranteed playoff bid
Mount Hood Conference
Nobody saw the Gophers coming.
With just two games remaining in the regular season, the Gresham football team sat in the Mt. Hood Conference cellar, winless in league play. While the four teams above Gresham in the standings were jockeying for the fourth guaranteed playoff spot, the Gophers quietly sneaked up on them all.
After earning its first league win a week earlier, Gresham catapulted itself into a five-way tie for fourth with a convincing 27-7 win at Centennial in the regular-season finale on a brisk Halloween night. As the only contender for fourth place to win on Friday night, the Gophers rose above the others to No. 27 in the OSAA rankings to earn the tiebreaker and an automatic berth into the 6A bracket.
We knew going in that this was a playoff game, Gresham coach Todd Nagel said. We thought the winner would probably be in and the loser would probably be out, so Im proud of the way our guys came out. After starting 0-5 in league, it would have been easy for us to just pack it in, but they didnt do that.
The Gophers clinched their slot and disposed of Centennial by wearing it down with the run game. They pounded the ball consistently with running back Sirgeo Hoffman who didnt seem to be bothered by the slick, muddy grass. Gresham leaned on him from start to finish and he never faltered. By the second quarter, the Eagles knew Hoffman was getting the ball on most downs and they couldnt do anything about it.
Hoffman ran the ball 36 times for an astounding 243 yards and was responsible for all four Gresham touchdowns.
Gresham plays at Jesuit in the first round Friday, while Centennial misses the playoffs, coming in one spot behind MHC foe David Douglas for the last wildcard spot.
Look for expanded game coverage in the Tuesday, Nov. 4, print edition.JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT