The Hermiston Bulldogs handily defeated the Hood River Eagles, 40-14, Friday night at Kennison Field.
The game started under cotton candy skies as the sun set, and it seemed as soon as it got dark the Dawgs were unleashed.
“As the game progressed and our guys got comfortable we started picking up some things and started playing,” head coach David Faaeteete said.
Hermiston scored 34 of its 40 points in the second quarter, and pounded the ground for 220 total rushing yards. Senior running back Jonathan Hinkle led the charge with 61 yards on eight carries and added a touchdown to increase the Bulldogs’ lead late in the first half.
However, it was junior quarterback Andrew James who was the first to find the end zone. After a lackluster first quarter where both teams went three-and-out on their first drives, Hermiston worked its way into Hood River territory to start the second quarter on the Eagles’ 11-yard line with a fresh set of downs. James on the quarterback keep ran the ball in for 11-yards and got the first seven points on the board.
In a unique turn of events that the Bulldogs (3-2 overall, 2-1 Special District 1) can thank Mother Nature for, they recovered an accidental on-side kick — which was caused by heavy winds — and James took the field again, and again found the end zone.
He first connected with senior wide receiver Dayshawn Neal for 21 yards, and then carried for a lone yard and his second and final rushing touchdown of the night.
A little more than five minutes later, still in the second quarter, Hinkle rushed 19 yards to push the score to 20-0 in favor of the Bulldogs.
The Eagles (2-2, 1-2) struggled in the first half and desperately needed something to click. But nothing did. Hood River answered the Bulldogs’ third touchdown by giving Hermiston the ball right back after an unsuccessful try on fourth down.
Although the run game was the focus of the night, James did make some exceptionally good passes. The 66-yarder to senior wide receiver Tyler Rohrman for a touchdown highlighted his performance. James finished 10-of-11 passing on the night, racking up 200 yards and two touchdowns.
The second came minutes after his connection to Rohrman.
With less than 30 seconds until halftime, James found Neal for 42 yards to push Hermiston’s lead to 34-0 at the break.
Once both teams returned, the Bulldogs were giving up too many yards on penalties — part of the reason why the Eagles eventual scoring drive was continued.
“We didn’t come out and start very well in the third quarter,” Faaeteete said. “Some penalties extended their drive and some penalties killed our drive when we got something going.”
By the end of the night Hermiston had given up 79 total yards on nine penalties, and as a result allowed Hood River to get points of its own on the board.
Back-to-back pass interference calls on the defense moved the Eagles all the way to the Bulldogs’ 5-yard line. Their first touchdown came with nine seconds left in the third quarter, and they would score again in the final 10 minutes of the game. But Hermiston’s first half efforts and an insurance touchdown from Neal to open the fourth quarter put Hood River in too big of a hole to crawl out of and that’s just fine with the Dawgs.
“It’s huge,” James said of the victory. “It shows us we have the ability to win but we still can’t have a bad week. ... We’ve just got to keep the same momentum, the same attitude.”
Hermiston will travel to Ridgeview in Redmond next week, and won’t return home until Oct. 13 to face Bend.
Hermiston Bulldogs (2-2, 1-1) vs. Hood River Valley Eagles (2-1, 1-1)
Friday, Sept. 29, 2017
Hermiston 0 34 0 — 6
Hood River Valley 0 0 7 — 7
11:54 – HHS Andrew James 11 yd TD rush (Dayshwan Neal PAT) 7-0
11:31 – HHS Andrew James 1 yd TD rush (2pt pass fail) 13-0
5:45 – HHS Jonathan Hinkle 19 yd TD rush (Neal PAT) 20-0
2:08 – HHS Tyler Rohrman 66 yard reception from James (Neal PAT) 27-0
0:27 – HHS Dayshawn Neal 42 yard reception from James (Neal PAT) 34-0
0:09 – HRV Michael Jones 5 yd TD rush (Riggs Bardin PAT) 34-7
10:52 – HHS Neal 19 yd TD rush (PAT blocked) 40-7
7:21 – HRV Jones 36 yd reception from Caden Leiblein (Bardin PAT) 40-14
1st Downs 18 14
Penalties 9, 79 4, 20
Turnovers 1 fumble 1 fumble, kept
Rushing 39, 220 46, 186
Passing 200 46
Total 420 232
HHS Andrew James 10-11- 0-200- 2
HRV Vaden Leiblein 3-19- 0-46- 1
HHS Andrew James 8, 45, 2TD
HHS Jonathan Hinkle 8, 61, TD
HHS Peter Earl 3, 7
HHS Dayshawn Neal 5, 33, TD
HHS Joey Guttierez 2, -1
HHS Keaton Mikami 1, 34
HHS Garron Anderson 2, 7
HHS Unamed JV players 4, 8
HRV Caden Leiblein 12, 38
HRV Michael Jones 23, 83, TD
HRV Bailey Holste 7, 48
HRV Matthew Tichenor 2, 12
HRV Tanner Wells 1, 5
HHS Dayshawn Neal 3, 71, TD
HHS Tyler Rohrman 1, 66, TD
HHS Joey Gutierrez 4, 37
HHS Luke Walchli 1, 8
HHS Keaton Mikami 1, 18
HRV Michael Jones 1, 36, TD
HRV Trenton Hough 1, 5
HRV Matthew Tichenor 1, 5