GROVE — Grove sophomore Jacob Gain doesn’t remember much about his pivotal touchdown catch Friday night.
With 2:05 left, Gain made a dazzling grab over two defenders in the back of the end zone on Carson Trimble’s 27-yard pass and then skidded along the ground helmet-first into the goal post.
“I just went up and then I blacked out on the ground,” Gain said. “I looked up and saw all my teammates standing over me, it was crazy. I might have been out cold, I don’t really know.”
Gain’s TD on a third-down post route tied the game and Corey Martin followed with the go-ahead extra point kick that propelled Class 5A No. 9 Grove past 4A No. 4 Wagoner 28-20 at Ridgerunner Stadium.
“What a catch,” Trimble said. “I didn’t know if he came down with it or not. After I saw the (official’s) hands go up it was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ “
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Wagoner coach Dale Condict said. "It was a good throw. He's an accurate passer and did it to us like he did last year"
Trimble passed for 196 yards and two TDs and Jacob’s brother, Jackson, scored the Ridgerunners’ first two touchdowns.
The final few minutes were reminiscent of Wagoner’s 22-20 win in a district showdown late last season at Grove — except there was a different winner this time.
Just as was the case last year, Grove got the ball late in the game down 20-14. And like last year, Trimble threw a tying TD pass. Last year, however, the extra-point kick missed, leading to Grove conceding a final-play safety.
Last year’s disappointment for the Ridgerunners made this year’s comeback win even sweeter.
“A big relief,” Trimble said. “A monkey off our back.”
The Ridgerunners (3-0) defeated Wagoner for the first time since 2008 despite their All-State running back Emmanuel Crawford being held to 48 yards on 14 rushes.
"They have such an explosive offense," Condict said. "I thought we'd win if we held him under 100 yards."
Crawford scored on an 11-yard run with 1:17 left on the play after Wagoner turned the ball over on downs and then added a 17-yard clinching run after Grove’s David Cox recovered the ensuing kickoff. And Grove won with leading receiver Hagen Hacker, who caught last year’s tying TD, being held to one catch.
“They were taking away our main two,” Grove coach Ron Culwell said. “We had to go to some other guys.
“We have a bunch of special kids on our team.”
Grove needed only 90 seconds to open the game with a six-play, 76-yard scoring drive, capped by Jackson Gain’s 20-yard touchdown on a left sweep.
The Ridgerunners didn’t punt in their first two games. Their first two punt snaps Friday were errant, leading to Wagoner’s two touchdowns.
Gabe Rodriguez’s 4-yard TD run late in the first quarter enabled the Bulldogs (1-2) to tie the game at 7. Rodriguez finished with 15 carries for 96 yards and had seven catches for 47 yards.
Wagoner took a 14-7 lead on Kale Charboneau’s 1-yard quarterback sneak for a TD with 7:56 left in the first half.
The Bulldogs, however, missed a chance to expand their lead just before halftime. On fourth-and-1 from the 3 with 17 seconds left, Grove’s Gavin Stone came up with a goal-line interception to thwart the Bulldogs.
In the second half, Wagoner added a pair of Logan Bloxsom field goals sandwiched around Jackson Gain’s 13-yard TD reception. Grove started its go-ahead drive on its 20 with 4:45 left after Rodriguez’s 54-yard punt for a touchback. Trimble’s ability with his feet was key on two long gains that ignited the 80-yard drive after a Wagoner personal foul.
“They got to him a few times, but he scrambled well late in the game for first downs and made some great throws,” Culwell said. “That’s just what he does.”
Trimble added, “They were playing tough, they really ramped it up on defense right there. We were just trying to take what we got, what they gave us.”
Just before the go-ahead TD, Rodriguez dropped a potential interception.
"If he doesn't have a cast on his hand, he's obviously going to catch that ball," Condict said.
And that left the door open for Grove’s late heroics.
“Wagoner is a great team,” Culwell said. “We had a little more magic tonight.
“It was an awesome night.”
GROVE 28, WAGONER 20
GR — Jackson Gain 20 run (Martin kick)
WA — Rodriguez 4 run (Muehlenweg kick)
WA — Charboneau 1 run (Muehlenweg kick)
WA — FG, Bloxsom 40
GR — Jackson Gain 13 pass from Trimble (Martin kick)
WA — FG, Bloxsom 41
GR — Jacob Gain 27 pass from Trimble (Martin kick)
GR — Crawford 11 run (Martin kick)
First Downs — WA 12, GR 17; Rushes-Yards — WA 39-178, GR 32-53; Comp-Att-Int — WA 15-22-1, GR 10-22-1. Passing Yards — WA 111, GR 196. Fumbles-Lost — WA 0-0, GR 3-3. Penalty Yards — WA 13-125, GR 4-40. Total Yards — WA 289, GR 249. Punts-Avg. — WA 4-29.5, GR 1-34.0.