By Ben Reynolds
Herald sports editor
HERMISTON The frustration has started to boil over for David Lewis and the Hermiston High School football team.
In a season that has been filled with disappointments, it was the Bulldogs' own mistakes that cost them yet another chance to record a victory.
Hermiston was flagged 12 times for 130 yards and had two touchdowns called back in a last-second 38-35 loss to Summit on homecoming night Friday at Hermiston High School.
"I am tired of it, the kids are pissed," Lewis said after the game. "We just made stupid mistakes."
The Bulldogs (1-7, 1-5 IMC) have lost their last three games by a total of five points.
Two weeks ago, Bend stopped the Bulldogs on a 2-point conversion in the final seconds to hold on for a 36-35 win. Last week, Crook County converted on a 2-point conversion in overtime to escape with a 29-28 victory. And on Friday night, Mark Zlatek kicked a 25-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining in the game to lead the Storm to victory and its first playoff berth.
"We keep making those mistakes and they got us again," junior running back Justin Ramirez said.
With the win, the third-year Storm (5-3, 4-2) clinched its first-ever playoff spot and can finish no worse than third-place in the Intermountain Conference.
"We feel real fortunate to be there," Summit coach Jerry Hackenbruck said. "We are not winning pretty, but we are finding a way to win. The kids just came through."
While Summit ran off the field in jubilation, the Bulldogs slowly walked to mid-field and huddle with their heads down.
Friday night was just another opportunity that Hermiston let slip away. In a first half that featured 17 penalties for 190 yards, the Bulldogs came out as the aggressors. Hermiston raced out to the early lead and after a 69-yard touchdown run by Joe Mendenhall, the Bulldogs held a 21-7 advantage with 7:02 left in the first half.
"We came out and kept our high tempo going," senior Andy Hall said.
Summit responded on its next drive, and got to within 21-14 after a 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback Justin Valley.
Hermiston gave the ball right back the Storm on its second play when Eric Lindley fumbled and Mike Dolen recovered at the Bulldog 17-yard line. Valley scored less than a minute later with his second 5-yard touchdown run around the right side and tied the game 21-21.
Hermiston appeared to have regained the lead in the closing second of the first half when Jake Burns find a wide open Lindley for a 16-yard touchdown pass, but a holding penalty called the play back.
And after racking up 365 yards of total offense in the first half, the best Hermiston could do was a 21-21 tie.
"It's tough to come back from something like that," Ramirez said of Lindley's touchdown that was called back. "That was a big downfall right there."
Summit took its first lead on its first drive of the second half when John Torsey rumbled 12 yards up the middle that gave the Storm a 28-21 lead.
Ramirez, scored the first of his two touchdowns, and tied the game for Hermiston its next drive with a 6-yard run.
Ramirez was back in the endzone three minutes later, this time on a 10-yard run that was set up by a Summit fumble as Hermiston regained the lead at 35-28.
But the Bulldogs could not sustain it. On their next possession, Mendenhall had a 52-yard touchdown called back to end the third quarter.
On Hermiston's next play, Burns was intercepted by Chris Ward.
"We made some big mistakes," Ramirez said. "We had a fumble, an interception and the penalties. We made mistakes."
Summit tied the game with 3:09 left in the fourth quarter on a 6-yard touchdown reception by Ward from Valley.
After Hermiston stalled on its next drive, Summit got the ball back with 49 seconds left. A couple of plays later, Valley hit Erik Elshire for a 33-yard completion to set up Zlatek's field goal with 9.9 seconds left in the game.
"It's ridiculous," Lewis said. "We have two touchdowns called back. If that doesn't happen this isn't a game. They are not that good."
Hermiston closes out the regular season on Thursday night at Pendleton at 7 p.m.