Regis def. Grant Union 33-10
JOHN DAY - A number of factors contributed to the end of the 2003 football season for the Grant Union Prospectors. The end came at Three Flags Field on Saturday, Nov. 8, in the first round of the OSAA/US Bank/Les Schwab Tires Class 2A football playoffs against Regis.
Those factors were:
A 27-yard touchdown run by Daniel Weis with 1:24 remaining in the second quarter erased a 10-7 Grant Union lead;
An injury to leading rusher Cody Frazier limited the senior running back to just three offensive carries for five yards;
Bo Thunell broke a finger on his left hand in the first half;
A 70-yard return of an intercepted pass for a touchdown in the fourth quarter sealed the Prospectors' fate;
And, the fair weather.
In the end, the Rams defeated Grant Union 33-10, ending the Wapiti League champion Prospectors' hopes of a state title.
"I thought we had our opportunities today, I really did," Grant Union coach Monty Nash said. "We just had some breaks that didn't go the way we hoped they'd go."
Grant Union (7-3) took a 3-0 lead with one second left in the first quarter when Toby Thomas connected on a 32-yard field goal. The Prospectors made the lead hold up until Daniel Weis ripped off a 67-yard scoring dash for Regis at the 8:11 mark of the second quarter to put the Rams ahead 7-3.
The Prospectors came right back with a 12-play drive, helped along by a 15-yard face-mask penalty and a 16-yard scoring pass from Thunell to Joel Silva, that put Grant Union back on top 10-7 with 3:17 remaining in the second quarter.
Regis answered with another Weis touchdown late in the quarter on a 24-yard scamper to give the Rams a 13-10 halftime lead.
"The weather today wasn't what I'd hoped it to be," Nash commented on the 58-degree temperature and sunny conditions at the start of the game. "At the same time, you have to give them credit for being a pretty good ball club. They did the things they had to do and made some big plays at times when they needed to."
Thunell, the Prospector's quarterback, broke a finger on his left hand late in the second quarter and returned after the halftime break with his hand heavily taped. This hampered his handling of the ball, causing a fumble on Grant Union's first play from scrimmage.
The junior signal-caller played through the injury and completed six of his passes in the second half
A 37-yard throw-back pass from Tyler Lulay to quarterback Nathan Keudell with 5:21 remaining in the third quarter upped Regis' lead to 20-10, and the Rams went into the final 12 minutes of the game holding on to a 10-point advantage.
"I still think we had some opportunities that we let get away. In a game like this you can't to do that," Nash said. "As a coach I'll always look back and second guess. I'll take my kids over anyone, and I'm very proud of what they've done this year and what they've accomplished. This game doesn't take anything away from that."
In the final quarter, Regis mounted a 10-play drive which began at the end of the third period, but the Prospectors had the Rams pinned at their own 33-yard line thanks to a pair of penalties. However, Bryan Koehnke managed to get behind defenders in the Grant Union secondary, and Keudell hit the senior wide receiver with a 67-yard scoring pass. This all but broke the Prospectors' backs, making the score 26-10.
Lulay scored the final touchdown of the game for the Rams, returning an intercepted pass 70 yards to score with 2:33 remaining in the contest.
"We came a long way this year with a young ball club," Nash said. "A couple breaks today and we'd have been right in it. I think this Regis team is going to go quite a ways (in the state playoffs). We felt this was one of the toughest in the draw, and if we could have gotten by this game, we could have gone a long way ourselves. You have to do that on the field, and we weren't able to today."
Weis led all rushers gaining 165 yards on 18 carries for the Rams. Keudell was 8-for-14 in passing for 146 yards and a touchdown.
Thomas led Grant Union with 32 yards on nine carries. Thunell was 12-for-22 in passing for 132 yards. Orrin Ledgerwood had five catches for 51 yards and Silva caught four balls for 40 yards.