After their original season opener was canceled last week, the Riverside Pirates hosted the Union Bobcats for their season opener on Friday and came out on top.
Riverside used a stout defensive effort and just enough offense to tally the victory in their opener, beating Union 8-6.
It was a much different game than the 2016 meeting between the two teams, which ended in a 30-27 shootout, but the Pirates are still ecstatic with the win.
“It’s a great feeling,” Riverside assistant coach Loren Dieter said. “We have a young team this year and have Ione kids with us this year. They’ve blended in and played pretty well ... our seniors played really well and a lot of underclassmen are making progress.”
Riverside (1-0) held Union (0-2) to just 161 total yards and one touchdown, which came on a big play in the second half. On the other side of the ball, Riverside’s offense struggled to move the ball consistently into scoring range, but the Pirates did run for 183 yards with senior Aramis Corpus accumulating 133 of those. Riverside’s only score came on its opening possession when senior quarterback Mason Hegar connected with senior Felix Aparicio on a 17-yard touchdown pass.
Riverside will go for two straight wins next Friday when it hosts Imbler for a 7 p.m. kick off.
ECHO 52, PILOT ROCK 6 — At Echo, the Cougars overcame a slow start with a big second half to knock off the Rockets, 52-6, on Friday night.
Echo (2-0) led just 16-0 at halftime as the offense had some new players in new positions, but a solid defensive effort kept the Rockets (0-2) at bay. The Cougars defense overall allowed just 72 total yards for Pilot Rock.
“The defense was the game-maker,” Echo coach Rick Thew said. “They didn’t allow anything and allowed our offense to figure things out and then we started to click.”
Devan Craig had a big game for Echo with 102 passing yards and two touchdowns to go with 263 rushing yards on 17 carries with four touchdowns. Zack Gehrke also had a good game on the ground with 119 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown.
Echo will next play Crane at North Powder on Friday at 1 p.m.
GRANT UNION 44, HEPPNER 6 — At John Day, the Heppner Mustangs turned the ball over six times as they were rocked for the second straight week in a 44-6 loss to Grant Union on Friday.
The Mustangs (0-2) first five offensive drives played out like this: safety, fumble, fumble, punt, fumble.
Overall, Heppner lost five fumbles and had one interception, which is very uncharacteristic for Heppner teams under Greg Grant.
Heppner was out-gained in total yardage by the Prospectors (2-0) by a stunning 349 to 98 margin, with the Grant Union throwing for 168 yards and rushing against the usually-stout Mustang defense for 181 yards.
Gavin Hanna-Robinson was the Mustangs’ leading rusher with 44 yards on 19 attempts, while Coby Dougherty had 31 yards on eight attempts. Jayden Wilson threw for 80 yards and one touchdown, but completed just 5 of 20 passes in doing so. Wilson’s touchdown was a 31-yard pass to Peyton Lehman in the second quarter, which made it a 38-6 game at halftime.
Heppner will look to right the ship next week when it hosts Cascade Leavenworth (WA) at 7 p.m.
RAINIER 46, UMATILLA 14 — At Rainier, the Vikings did not play one of their better games as Rainier sent them back home with a 46-14 defeat on Friday night.
Pedro Alvarez was the only consistent offensive weapon for Umatilla(1-1), rushing for 122 yards on 24 carries. Quarterback Kaden Webb threw for 66 yards on 8 of 15 completions with a touchdown and also ran for 13 yards with a touchdown. Arrik Russell was the leading receiver with four catches for 20 yards and a TD.
“We just didn’t really show up tonight,” Umatilla coach Dan Durfey said. “We didn’t play our game at all ... we had missed tackles, no blocking.”
Umatilla will try to turn things back around next week when it hosts Enterprise for a 7 p.m. start.