ESTACADA – It was not a pretty game. Many jerseys will need some extra care in the locker rooms.
However, the fourth-ranked Gladstone Gladiators proved they weren’t scared of getting dirty and pulled off a 23-20 win over No. 7 Estacada in a key 4A Tri-Valley Conference football game at Buzz Randall Field on Friday night.
After opening the season with a non-conference loss to reigning 4A champion Banks, the Gladiators (3-1, 1-0) beat Marshfield on the road and shut out Seaside at home. On Friday, senior running back Mason Scheehean led the attack for the visiting Gladiators on the ground, with a 65-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 64-yard scoring run to seal the deal late in the fourth.
"Patience," Gladstone head coach JJ Jedrykowski said about how his team won. "We knew it was going to be a tough football game. They're a good football team, coming in 3-0."
The Rangers (3-1, 0-1) were a step behind all night.
“We came out slower this week then we did last week," Estacada senior running back Kaden Settle said. “We have to be better if we want to get to the playoffs.”
Reigning Tri-Valley champion Gladstone has been a nemesis for Estacada (3-1, 0-1) for years. Since 2004, the Rangers have only been able to prevail against Gladstone four times in 15 meetings, the last time in 2016, a 28-21 win at Dick Baker Stadium.
The Rangers have been committed to using a power option for most of the offense this year, lining up three running backs near the quarterback, Isiah Shaffer. Any one of the four players can run, usually providing some options for the Rangers.
"Their offense is set up for those type of conditions," Jedrykowski said. "They run it well and they are well coached. We just had to sit there and grind it out."
Led by junior linebacker Sebastian Peiffer, Gladstone was able to read through the power plays and shut down Estacada, only allowing 162 yards on the ground. Against Valley Catholic in Week 1, the Rangers had more than 300 yards.
Gladstone led 14-6 at half and held that advantage through the third quarter.
Both teams were ready for a trench war in the fourth quarter. Estacada was able to stop Gladstone in the red zone, but a 17-yard field goal was good by junior Mateo Burgos made it 17-6. Yet the game was not over, as a 15-yard catch by Estacada’s Settle and a 1-yard touchdown run by Shaffer put the Rangers within reach at 17-12.
Gladstone found the end zone once again a couple minutes later with Scheehean’s 65-yard touchdown run to make it 23-12. Estacada scored late and converted the two-point conversion but was unable to get Gladstone to turn it over for the final two minutes.
“We felt we could get the running plays going in the second half," Estacada’s coach Andy Mott said. “We moved the ball well outside of the three turnovers, and our line protected (Shafffer) well when he threw. We just didn’t pick up their guys when they scored on us."
It was costly win for Gladstone, which paid a physical price.
"We may have beat Estacada, but they beat us up pretty well," Jedrykowski said. "We have four or five kids who may not play against The Dalles next week. A couple of them might not play the rest of the year.
"Practice might be a lot of watching instead of participation for those kids."