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Wheatland Sun

Bulldogs send seniors out with big win over Las Plumas

Oct 29, 2022 12:00AM ● By Story and photos by Steven Bryla

The Gridley varsity football team poses for a photo after a 30-21 win against Las Plumas on Senior Night, Friday, October 28 in Gridley.

Bulldogs send seniors out with big win over Las Plumas [5 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

GRIDLEY, CA (MPG) - The Gridley High School varsity football team sent the senior Class of 2023 out with a gritty win in their last game at the “Bone Yard” Friday night, with a 30-21 Butte View League victory over the Las Plumas Thunderbirds.

With the win, Gridley took a step closer toward the playoff race in the Division III CIF Northern Section Playoffs, where they were ranked fifth in the October 24 rankings.

According to the CIF NS website, it was an eight-team bracket for the 2021 Division III section title.

Bulldogs coach Matt Kemmis told The Herald that it was a big deal to have these seniors win their last game in the “Bone Yard” because it’s where they have played all their home games since youth ball while playing for the Gridley Titans. 

“It was a point of emphasis all week, we told the younger players how important it was,” Kemmis said.

Gridley (4-5, 2-2 BVL) has 13 seniors on their 23-player roster. Bulldogs senior running back/linebacker Aiden Gomez told The Herald that the entire team played their hearts out for the Class of 2023.

“We came out stronger, faster and made no mistakes,” Gomez said.

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It was a back-and-forth game all night long, with neither team having a double-digit lead throughout. Las Plumas (2-7, 1-3 BVL) got on the scoreboard first in the final minute of the first quarter when they scored on a 31-yard touchdown pass, one of two that the Thunderbirds got on fourth down in the first half.

Gridley sophomore quarterback Gus Stogsdill put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard to tie the game at seven when he scored on a three-yard rushing touchdown. Stogsdill carried the heavy workload for the offense as he has all year.

Stogsdill carried the ball 33 times for 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He added eight completions for 94 yards and a passing touchdown. Stogsdil had a long 51-yard touchdown in the second quarter where he had to get low and blast through a Thunderbirds defender along the way.

The young quarterback joked with The Herald and said he had some adrenaline pumping and is aware he isn’t the fastest person in the world, but he was able to get lower and push the defender back.

Las Plumas took the lead at the end of the first half when they scored on their second fourth down conversion against the Bulldogs with a 26-yard touchdown pass to take a 21-14 lead at the half.

Gridley tied the game halfway through the third period when Stogsdill found senior wide receiver Angel Castaneda for a 12-yard touchdown pass.

Castaneda, who is also the placekicker for the Bulldogs, hobbled off the field slowly following the touchdown catch and the officials had to take a timeout before the following extra point opportunity to let Castaneda clear the field. 

With Castaneda having to miss the following play due to an injury, Kemmis and his staff elected to go for the two-point conversion. They were successful and took a 22-21 lead after Stogsdill found freshman tight end Jason Davis Jr. on an out-route.

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On the following Thunderbirds possession, sophomore defensive lineman Oscar Guerrero batted down the Las Plumas fourth down pass attempt deep in Gridley territory to give the Bulldogs the ball back with 1:24 left in the third quarter.

Gridley had a successful drive where they grinded nearly nine minutes off the clock. Although they turned the ball over on downs, the Bulldogs left the Thunderbirds with terrible field position to start their next drive on their own two-yard line.

The Gridley defense quickly got another turnover on downs and gave Stogsdill a short field to score and punch the ball into the end zone on the ground for the third time in the game and secured the victory for Gridley.

The Bulldogs end the season on the road this Friday against Orland, who hasn’t lost a game all season. Kemmis said although many people will count them out, his team is going to give Orland a fight and end the regular season strong.