Football Takes on Bend in Round of 16


Photo Courtesy of Spencer Hills

After stumbling mid season, the Ashland High School football team is back on track. Losing to Crater and Springfield the Grizzlies dropped  to 5-2, and were in danger of missing the playoffs. The Grizzlies responded stronger than ever. Back-to-back blowout wins over Marist and Eagle Point secured not only a spot in the 16 team OSAA playoff bracket, but the fifth seed and a home game in the first round. This Friday, the Grizzlies will take on the Bend Lava Bears (6-3) with a trip to the quarterfinals, and fourth seeded Springfield, on the line.

Late in the season, the injury bug has continually plagued Ashland. The heart of the defense lies in senior linebackers Karter Cox and Justin Robinson. Both missed the Marist game, but coach Charlie Hall was optimistic both would be back come playoff time. Robinson will be back against Bend but he will be missing his partner-in-crime. Cox returned for the Eagle Point game, and subsequently reinjured his shoulder early in the game. Freshman Myles Montgomery, brother of former standouts Max and Mason, has seen increased action with the injuries and started strong with five tackles in his debut against Marist.

At quarterback, junior Tucker Atteberry and senior Kyle Weinberg have gone alternated all year. Weinberg began the year as starter by default. He was the quarterback all of last year when the Grizzlies made it to the quarterfinals before falling to the Silverton. Despite coach Hall’s preseason proclamation that he wanted a single starter by conference play this hasn’t been the case. The pair traded off before in the first two games before Weinberg started a crucial game against Summit. After Weinberg was injured and Atteberry led the Grizzlies on a game winning touchdown drive, it seemed as though the quarterback question had been answered before Atteberry was injured and the cycle started all over. If the regular season finale serves as an indicator, Weinberg should get the start against Bend. Atteberry didn’t take a snap until the second half when the game was far out of Eagle Point’s reach.

By most metrics the Grizz would be considered the favorite. Ashland and Bend share four opponents. Both teams beat Klamath Union, Ridgeview and Eagle Point, with the Grizzlies winning each game by a larger margin. While Ashland won by a single point over Summit, the Lava Bears were blown out by a score of 49-7 when they played their cross town rivals. In the most recent Oregonian media poll, Ashland sat at sixth with Bend being the first team out of the top 10. Ashland will try to live up to their favorite status 7:00 PM this Friday at Raider Stadium.