With the Mid-Columbia Conference football season winding down, the Hermiston Bulldogs still have a little work to do, starting Friday night with the visiting Hanford Falcons.
Hanford (4-3 overall, 3-3 MCC), which has won two games in a row, is coming off a 54-18 victory over Pasco.
“I think they are super athletic and they’re explosive on the offensive side of the ball,” Hermiston coach David Faaeteete said of the Falcons. “They are better than their record shows, and they are well coached.”
The Falcons average 402 yards of offense per game, but their defense ranks last in the conference at 418 yards an outing.
Easton Wise-Hyde has thrown for 1,860 yards and 18 touchdowns against five interceptions this season.
He has a trio of receivers with more than 400 yards each — Caleb Harvey (492, 7 TDs), Gabe Martinez (472, 3 TDs) and Jaxon Farrah (439, 6 TDs).
Hanford is equally as good on the ground, with Kamari Dumas rushing for 528 yards and eight touchdowns.
“We have our work cut out this week,” Faaeteete said. “He (Dumas) runs hard. We have to be able to stop their run game.”
The Bulldogs (1-6, 1-5), who have had flashes of brilliance this season, struggled with their passing game early on, but Sam Schwirse has come alive as of late, throwing for 136 yards last week against Eisenhower, and 317 the week before against a very good Chiawana team.
Hermiston also has benefitted from having running back Guiomar Garay back in the lineup. Garay, who was injured in the season opener at Pasco, has 156 yards rushing on 41 carries. He had 109 yards on 21 carries against Eisenhower.
“He had a good game last week,” Faaeteete said. “We ran the ball better than we have in the past. Our offense has to step up. We have to bounce back and go after it.”
Hermiston’s defense has been its saving grace at times. Led by Garrett Walchli, Trevor Wagner, Ryan Arnold, and a stout defensive line, they give the Bulldogs a chance to win every night.