By Christopher Halsey

Herald Sports Editor

STANFIELD — With only 11-players dressed for the first game of the season, the Echo Cougar football team got off to a 1-0 start to the season by battling fatigue and Days Creek for a 28-8 win.

The Cougars scored twice in the first quarter and repeated the fete after a bit of a struggle beginning in the second third of the game, according to head coach Mike Wisdom.

“We hit the wall about the five minute mark of the second quarter,” he said.

The team took the field Saturday having not yet had a workout on a 100-yard field due to re-planting of the Echo field.

“The kids really worked hard in the end,” Wisdom said.

“They knew it was a winnable game from the get-go. I just couldn’t be more pleased with the way they came through in the end.”

The contest was one of five held Friday and Saturday in Stanfield as a part of the inaugural Oregon 8-Man Football Classic.

Quarterback Kyle Snow led Echo into the end zone in the first quarter with a 15-yard run and Gerry Escalante followed with a PAT run to stake the Cougars to an 8-0 lead. Homero Urenda, who tallied a game high 137 yards rushing, scored on a first quarter run of 45-yards and the teams entered halftime 14-0.

A penalty negated a touchdown run on the opening kick-off of the second half, or the Cougars would have held a decided advantage for the second half.

Wisdom said that the team, who hopes to see more players turn out, may have to play the season with just a dozen players and must limit mistakes.

The Cougar defense allowed only one score, a 5-yard run by David Cook that was followed by a PAT run by Doug Halstead. Snow scored again in the fourth quarter on a 12-yard scamper and Escalante capped the scoring with a 16-yard run that was followed by a PAT pass from Snow to Jacob Madison.

Coach Wisdom praised the effort of Tyler Cisneros, who played well at his nose tackle position, collecting an interception and recovering a fumble.

“It’s going to be fun to give him that interception decal Tuesday,” Wisdom said of the Cougar performance decal program.

The team’s only freshman, Cody Snow also impressed in his first game.

“He got thrown out there with everyone else,” Wisdom said. “He’s got to start contributing every week for us.”

The team has accepted the phrase, “Where we go one, we go all” as its huddle yell.

Wisdom said that Kyle Snow will be expected to go to the air more this Friday than the four times he threw against Days Creek. The Cougars will play St. Paul in Dufur.

“We have to get better in our pass blocking,” Wisdom said, adding that St. Paul can expect to have to defend the pass for at least 12 plays Friday.

The coaching staff and several of the Cougar players were able to scout the St. Paul-Cove game Saturday and St. Paul, he said has a number of large players.

“I made the comment that it looked like maybe the kids that didn’t make the Linfield (University) cut, just went down the road to St. Paul..”

(For the complete story and stats, see the Sept. 4 edition of The Hermiston Herald)

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