COOS BAY - A dominating performance on both sides of the ball by the Myrtle Point offensive and defensive lines, combined with typical south-coast weather for this time of year brought an end to the 2002 football season for Grant Union on Saturday, Nov. 16.
The Bobcats held the Prospectors to just 106 yards in total offense in the quarterfinal game of the OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires Class 2A football playoffs at Marshfield High School, and defeated Grant Union 33-0.
In their first season of returning to the 2A ranks, the Prospectors finished the year at 9-2 overall.
Shutouts were nothing new to the fifth-ranked Bobcats, No. 2 team from the Big Fir League.
During the year, Myrtle Point (10-1) recorded a string of five straight shutouts and the only loss of the season came at the hands of Big Fir champion, Reedsport.
"They physically man-handled us up front," Grant Union coach Monty Nash said.
The first quarter of the contest was evenly played and neither team was able to gain an advantage, and the first 12 minutes of action ended in a scoreless tie.
What had started out as a misting rain at the beginning of the game turned into a steady downpour by the time the second quarter began.
Accustomed to playing in inclement weather conditions, the Bobcats put together a 12-play drive beginning at their own 28 yard line to open the second period of play.
With 8:54 showing on the clock, junior running back Zac Young took the ball in from 4 yards out to give Myrtle Point a 6-0 lead.
The point-after attempt by Salvador Acuna was blocked.
Brandon Hueckman gave Grant Union good field position at its own 41-yard line on the ensuing kickoff, and a 15-yard face mask penalty moved the ball down to the Myrtle Point 41.
The Prospectors appeared to be headed for a score after a 25-yard reception by Cody Frazier put the ball at the Bobcat 13-yard line, and the large turnout of Grant Union fans finally had something the cheer about.
However, the drive came to an abrupt halt.
An incomplete pass and a 5 yard motion penalty moved the ball back to the 18, and Myrtle Point's Justin Shaffer was able to pick off a Trevor Simmons pass and return the ball to the Bobcat 49.
On the first play from scrimmage, Thomas swept left end on a 51-yard touchdown romp and followed with a 2-point conversion run good for a 14-0 lead.
The Prospectors battled back in the waning moments of the first half until Jimmy Framer intercepted yet another Simmons pass giving the Bobcats possession at the Grant Union 39-yard line.
The Grant Union defense made a stand dropping quarterback Matt Buche for a 3-yard loss, before Thomas was able to power his way for an 8-yard gain.
As time expired in the first half, Buche hit split end Ryan McAlpin on a 36-yard fade pass up the right side and Acuna booted the extra point for a 21-0 halftime lead.
"What hurt us the most was that touchdown just before the half," Nash said. "The kids thought they had a chance before that happened. It they hadn't scored, things might have been different."
By the start of the second half, the rain was coming down in sheets and even the artificial turf on the Marshfield playing field became sloppy with standing pools of water down the sidelines.
Myrtle Point continued its punishing, ball-control game in the second half, chewing up yards on the ground and running time off the clock.
After a short punt gave the Bobcats possession at the Grant Union 45-yard line, Nick Gould capped off a six-play drive with a 1-yard run good for a 27-0 lead with 6:49 remaining in the third quarter.
Thomas put his third touchdown on the board accounted for the final score of the game on a 5-yard run with 10:07 remaining in the contest.
Grant Union was unable to get anything going in the final two quarters of action, and failed to record a first down in the second half of play.
"I was real proud of our kids all year long and we have nothing to hang our heads about," Nash said. "We had a great season."
Simmons led the Prospector rushing attack with 25 yards on six carries. Frazier netted 21 yards on five attempts.
Young was the work horse for Myrtle Point rushing for 138 yards on 23 carries. Buche and Gould each gained 71 yards on the ground.