Hermiston stopped Richland three times on fourth down Friday — twice in the red zone. There also was a recovered onside kick and a fumble recovery, but it just wasn’t enough.
Richland scored two quick touchdowns in the first quarter and held on for a 28-14 Mid-Columbia Conference win Friday over the Bulldogs at Kennison Field.
“We make mistakes, that’s part of life,” Hermiston coach David Faaeteete said. “I am so proud of you guys for fighting to the end.”
The Bulldogs (0-2 MCC) had the ball the last 3 1/2 minutes of the game.
They drove down into Richland territory, where a pass interference call by the Bombers put the ball on the 3-yard line. Two plays later, Trevor Wagner ran the ball in from 2 yards out with 13.8 seconds remaining to pull Hermiston within 28-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, Wagner chipped the ball, then recovered it himself at the Hermiston 49.
The Bulldogs made it to the Richland 26, but ran out of time.
“They are a good team,” Richland coach Mike Neidhold said of the Bulldogs. “They run a good program — there is no quit in those kids. We needed to play a good team to get back on track, and we did.”
Richland led 21-0 at the half, then came out and scored less than 2 minutes into the third quarter, but that would be it.
Hermiston’s first touchdown came with 3:03 left in the third as Sam Schwirse connected with Wagner for a 7-yard score and a 28-7 game.
“I was happy with how I did on offense, but I need to work on defense,” Wagner said. “We did do some good things. We are a better team than we were last week. Eventually, it will all come together.”
The Bulldogs had a new look Friday with Schwirse under center, and senior guard Dustyn Coughlin moving to center.
“I think coach Faaeteete put me there to take control of the offensive line,” Coughlin said. “The guards know I trust them to do their jobs. I was a little nervous, I’m not going to lie. I’ve only been doing it for three days.”
Coughlin also stepped in on defense.
“He’s a good defensive player and made some good plays,” Faaeteete said.
Ryan Arnold led the Bulldogs defensively with 11 solo tackles and five assisted tackles.
The first half was all Richland.
The Bombers drove 87 yards on their first possession of the game in five plays, finishing with a 66-yard pass play from Harrison Westover to Ben Fewel for a 7-0 lead just 2:04 into the contest. Fewel caught 11 passes for 233 yards on the night.
After the Bulldogs were forced to punt, Richland once again started deep in its own half.
A holding call against the Bombers put them back at their own 21, but Westover launched the ball to Dawson Palm, who reeled it in for a 79 yard touchdown and a 14-0 game that would stand at the end of the first.
Hermiston drove into Bomber territory early in the second, and had first-and-10 at the 48, but a high snap sailed over Schwirse’s head and pinned the Bulldogs back at their own 38.
Hermiston twice stopped Richland on fourth down in the second quarter, but with 1:18 remaining, Westover hit Kayden Roxburgh with a 10-yard TD pass for a 21-0 lead after Joseph Weissenfels kicked the PAT.
An on-side kick by Richland was recovered by the Bombers at the Hermiston 36 with 13 seconds to play. Garrett Walchli picked off Westover and returned the ball 65 yards before he ran out of real estate and time.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit,” Faaeteete said. “I challenged the kids at half to keep fighting, and they did.”