Marcus Larson/News-Register##
McMinnville QB Sam DuPuis runs for McMinnville s third touchdown, closing the score to 33-21 in the Grizzlies  game against South Salem. McMinnville lost the game 39-37.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## McMinnville QB Sam DuPuis runs for McMinnville's third touchdown, closing the score to 33-21 in the Grizzlies' game against South Salem. McMinnville lost the game 39-37.
By Rusty Rae • Of the News-Register • 

Grizzlies fall to South Salem, 37-39

Time ran out for the McMinnville Grizzlies (3-2, 2-2 GVC) Friday night in a homecoming tilt with South Salem (1-4, 1-3 GVC), as the Grizzlies fell 39-37.

Though much of McMinnville's grief was self-inflicted, it would have been easy for the the Grizzlies to simply give up when the Saxons took a  33-15 lead with 1:57 left in the third quarter. McMinnville never led in the contest, though they had several chances to take the lead throughout the contest.

South Salem brought a punishing offense to Wortman Stadium and opened the game on a 43-yard kick-off return and a 57-yard, five play drive in which Collin Vogt juked his way into the endzone from from 17-yards out for a 7-0 lead at the 9:21 mark of the first quarter.

The Grizzlies were their own worst enemy at times, and particularly on their first series, when they gave the ball back to the Saxons on Mac 28-yard line when they fumbled on their first offensive play of the game. The Saxons wasted little time capitalizing on the McMinnville mistake, taking a 13-0 lead as Vogt, who would be a nemesis to McMinnville all night, scored a second TD for the Saxons in just two carries at the 8:30 mark of the first period.

The Saxons threatened to put McMinnville down by three scores before Kevin Sullivan striped the ball from the Salem ball carrier and raced 61 yards for the Grizzlies first score of the night at the 5:05 mark of the first period. 

After the Grizzlies recovered a fumble on a punt, DuPuis hit Oden Thorson on a screen and the senior went 61 yards as he out ran the Saxon secondary. The PAT was good, tying the contest at 13 at the 2:27 mark of the first period.

Just as the Grizzlies seemed to regain their footing, Andres Delgado ripped off a 43-yard run in which he was untouched, giving the Saxons 20-13 lead at the 11:45 mark of the second period. It was a lead they would never lose, though McMinnville made the game interested.

The Grizzlies drove to the Saxon as DuPuis hit Colton Smith on a pass good for 25 yards. With a second and 10 from the 15-yard line, DuPuis flicked a pass to Thorson, but he fumbled the ball and South recovered, snuffing the McMinnville drive. But the Saxon drive stalled and on a fourth and 15 punt from their eight-yard line the snap sailed over the head of the punter for a safety, tightening the score to 20-15 at the 5:04 mark of the second quarter.

On the ensuing kick to the Grizzlies were not able to make any headway against the massive Saxon line and the half ended without a further score.

McMinnville received the opening kickoff of the second half but could make no headway and was forced to punt. The Saxons ground out two scores as the third period wound down, and it appeared to put the game out of reach with a 33-15 lead at the 1:57 mark of the third period.

A bit more than a minute into the fourth stanza DuPuis scored on a QB sweep and the two point conversion, a pass play to Thorson was good. The Grizzlies followed that play, pulling a little magic out of the bottle when DuPuiis pitched to Thorson who threw to Smith for a 50-yard score. The PAT was good and McMinnville was back in the game, trailing 33-30 at the 8:38 mark of the fourth period.

The Saxons answered with another demoralizing drive for McMinnville, as Vogt, who ran for 207 yards and a three scores, pushed the Saxon lead to 39-30 with 1:53 left in the contest.

McMinnville did not give up. On a second and 10 from the 43, DuPuis saw a muffed snap come back to him, he managed to scoop the ball, and under heavy duress from the South Salem rush got the pass off to Smith, who was able to reel it in for the score. The PAT made it 39-37 with 1:15 left in the contest.

But time ran out before the Grizzlies could get the ball back and that is the way the game ended.





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