Ashland's offense gained just one first down on 15 plays in the second half. For Marshfield, that was one play too many.

Senior wide receiver Josh Hogeland scored on a 75-yard catch and run in the third quarter and Ashland's defense held on from there as the Grizzlies improved to 5-0 for the first time since their 1998 state championship season with a 13-12 win over the Pirates, Friday night at Walter A. Phillips Field.

Hogeland ended up with two catches, both touchdowns, for 79 yards and Ashland quarterback Matt Dierks completed 8 of 13 passes for 184 yards, but it was Ashland's clutch defense and special teams that proved to be the difference.

After Dierks' bomb to Hogeland gave No. 5-ranked Ashland the lead with 4:21 to go in the third the Grizzlies fought off the Pirates on their last three possessions. The first of those turned out to be the visitor's best chance &

they marched all the way to the Ashland 10-yard line before settling for a 34-yard field goal attempt that was blocked. Also, Ashland's Sam Gaviglio averaged 45 yards on three key punts.

"You have to give those guys so much credit," Ashland head coach Charlie Hall said of the Grizzlies' defense. "They played with great heart against a good team. There was no quit in them. It was a great team effort and we're looking forward to getting into conference now."

Ashland kicks off its Southern Sky Conference schedule next Friday against Crater.

Marshfield (2-3) was led by running back Cameron Winfrey and quarterback Brogan Oswald. Winfrey gained 97 yards on 16 carries and Oswald threw two touchdown passes and rushed for 65 yards on nine scrambles.

The Pirates capped a massive 14-play, 65-yard drive when Oswald hit a leaping Jordan Sheppard in the end zone on fourth-and-7 with 4:45 to go in the third. The two-point try failed, but the Pirates still led 12-7.

Three plays later, Hogeland caught Dierks' perfectly thrown pass down the left sideline and sidestepped Alex Ellestson's attempted tackle 40 yards later to reclaim the lead for the Grizzlies. The play was a role reversal for the two skill players &

Elleston burned Hogeland on a nearly identical 75-yard play that gave the Pirates a 6-0 lead only two minutes into the game.

Ashland escaped with the win despite being out-rushed 199 yards to 66. Turnovers were a major plus again for Ashland, which recovered two Marshfield fumbles and picked off Oswald's desperation pass with 1:54 to go in the game. Ashland entered the game with a plus-12 turnover ratio.

"You just gut it up," Ashland lineman Issa Shahin said of Ashland's defense, which somehow managed to hold the Pirates to six points on 37 plays in the second half. "If you don't keep it up, you're going to die man. You just keep on going."

And going, and going &

8364;&

166; for nearly the entire second half. Marshfield wound up winning the time of possession battle 28 minutes and 50 seconds to 19:10.

"There's nothing better than having a defense like this," said Ashland running back Lewis Sebrell, who had 46 rushing yards on 16 carries. "They gave us the biggest break, and they deserve (the win). They're out there working hard every day."

Ashland's first touchdown also came immediately after a Marshfield score. Dierks completed a 61-yard pass to Gaviglio and one play later hit Hogeland on a four-yard slant to tie the game. Charlie Sebrell's point-after attempt split the uprights to put Ashland up 7-6 with 8:21 to go in the first quarter.

With two touchdowns scored in the game's first four minutes a shoot-out seemed probable, but the rest of the first half belonged to the defenses. Ashland came closest to scoring; its two most promising drives both ended inside Marshfield's 35 &

first on a turnover-on-downs and later on an interception, the first time a Dierks pass has been picked off this season.

Max Gordon led Ashland's defense with 11 1/2 tackles.

After the win, Hall took the emphasis off of Ashland's perfect start and placed it squarely on Crater, which edged the Grizzlies last season.

"We can't get caught up with that whole thing because really the season starts now," he said. "Five-and-oh's great, but if we have a couple of slip-ups here we could be sitting at home in November. Really, we have to direct our focus into the next four games and Crater's the first one on the list right now."

Marshfield6060&

12

Ashland7060&

13

First Quarter

M &

Elletson 75 pass from Oswald (pass failed), 9:50.

A &

Hogeland 4 pass from Dierks (C. Sebrell kick), 8:21.

Third Quarter

M &

Sheppard 13 pass from Oswald (kick failed), 4:45.

A &

Hogeland 75 pass from Dierks (kick failed), 4:21.

MA

First downs166

Total Net Yards304250

Rushes-yards36-19925-66

Passing105184

Punt Returns1-(minus 4)1-14

Kickoff Returns1-202-37

Interception Ret.1-01-0

Comp-Att-Int7-19-18-13-1

Sacked-Yards Lost1-11-4

Punts3-38.74-43.8

Fumbles-lost5-23-0

Penalties-Yards4-565-75