Spartans struggle in first half of qualifier game
Gresham races to a 34-0 halftime lead to down Hillsboro in the play-in round.
GRESHAM Hillsboros football team couldnt keep pace with Greshams ground game Friday night in a 48-15 loss in a play-in qualifier game.
Each team had six possessions in the first half.
The Spartans had three punts, were stopped on fourth down twice and had another drive end with an interception.
The Gophers found the end zone six times, although one of those scores was cancelled out on a holding penalty.
Gresham went into the locker room with the game in hand leading 34-0.
Desperate for points, Hillsboro recovered an onsides kick to start the second half. But the surprise play failed to produce any points when a 4th-and-12 pass hit the turf.
The teams next possession would finally crack the end zone when QB Paul Garrett found Dylan Frederick for an 11-yard connection on 4th-and-4. Marshall Taunton added the two-point conversion to bring the Spartans within 34-8 midway through the third quarter.
Gresham answered with back-to-back scoring drives, putting the game away when QB Devon Shields hit tight end Ben Bachman for a 25-yard scoring strike to make it 48-8 at the end of the third quarter.
Hillsboro put up its final points of the night early in the fourth when Frederick made a diving catch on the edge of the end zone.
The Spartans kept the drive alive when Taunton made a diving one-handed grab along the sideline to convert a 3rd-and-8. Teammate Hunter Morse moved the chains again with a catch at the marker on 4th-and-10.
The Gophers (4-6) advance to face No. 2 Tigard in Fridays opening round of the playoffs.
View a photo gallery from the game at