The Ashland – High School team held off the Japan All-Stars 32-30 in an wild finish in Pacific Rim Bowl XIII on Saturday at Kobe’s Oji Stadium.
The Grizzlies now hold a 7-6 lead in the series, which staged its 25th anniversary game. The teams alternate playing between Japan and Ashland, Oregon in the biannual bowl.
Ashland won the last meeting, 26-0, in 2011, when quarterback Danial White set the tone for his team’s efficient offense.
On Saturday, White, now entering his senior season, helped Ashland take a 6-0 lead into the second quarter.
The Japan All-Stars trailed 12-2 at halftime. The score remained the same entering the final stanza.
Then both offenses erupted, combining for 48 points, including the Japan All-Stars’ exciting 28-point outburst.
Big plays — aided by long runs, including QB scrambles, and missed tackles — were the norm during the last 10 minutes, with offenses scoring quickly again and again.
The Japan All-Stars, a collection of players from Kansai-area schools, recovered an onsides kick in the quarter to aid its furious comeback attempt. With 20 seconds left, a flea flicker pulled the Japan All-Stars within 32-30.
Ashland coach Charlie Hall’s squad ended Japan’s comeback attempt by running out the clock after recovering the hosts’ final onsides kick after the late TD.