By the Hermiston Herald

HERMISTON — David Lewis said Monday afternoon that a good showing on Friday could go a long way to a successful season for his Hermiston High School football team.

The Bulldogs, like just a handful of other teams from throughout the state, open the season in the week that is dubbed as the "Zero Week."

The week provides teams to get an early game, along with opening up a week in the middle of the season for a bye.

Two things that Lewis, who is in his second year, thinks could benefit his team.

Hermiston coming off a 2-7 season that was scattered with minor hindrances that resulted in three 1-point losses is locked in after a successful summer of camps.

Lewis said if his team stays healthy and plays to its capabilities, the sky is the limit, and everything starts Friday at home against West Valley out of Yakima.

West Valley opens the season ranked No. 15 in the Class 3A Washington polls and, according to Lewis has a strong backfield similar to that of Hermiston's three pronged backfield.

Lewis said an opening win would would a start his team needs to make a statement in what appears to be a wide open Intermountain Conference.

The Bulldogs are just one of four teams that open the season this coming weekend.

Umatilla, coming off a one-win season a year ago, opens Friday night at Illwaco, Wash., before jumping into Columbia Basin Conference play Friday, Sept. 24 against Weston-McEwen.

Riverside kicks off its season Saturday at home against Class 2A Yoncalla. It is one of four non-league games for the Pirates who are expecting to battle for their first-ever Greater Oregon League playoff spot.

Riverside has just five league games with the departure of Vale to the Wapiti League.

Echo also opens its season Saturday, taking on Mapleton at the 8-man Classic in Dufur at 4 p.m.

Cougars coach Norm Stewart has just 11 kids out this season.

Stanfield does not open its season until next Friday when it takes on Grant Union in John Day. The Tigers, after an up and down 2003 campaign, are at the Corbett Jamboree Friday night.

The Hermiston Herald will be running complete preview of all five teams along with league previews of the four different leagues in the Sept. 7 edition.

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