After coming up short on its comeback bid against Kennewick, Hermiston will try to take out its frustration on Benson Polytechnic — a northeast Portland high school — at 7 p.m. this Friday at Kennsion Field.

The Techmen, who moved into Class 5A at the beginning of the year, have shown some potential on the offensive side of the ball in two games this season, but have given up over 100 points combined on defense.

After a season-opening loss to Gresham’s Centennial, 55-14, the Techmen fell to the Class 6A Grant Generals, 66-27, in last Friday’s matchup. Centennial is also 6A.

Benson’s defense has given up the most points in Class 5A this season, letting teams score 121 points over the the first two weeks, undoubtedly leaving the potent Hermiston attack licking its chops to light up the scoreboard.

Benson head coach Anthony Davis said at the beginning of the season while his team is adjusting to the new classification, he has some explosive players that are capable of making big plays, including 6-foot-4 tight end Vaughn Thirdgill, who hauled in an 18-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter of the Grant game. 

Thirdgill is one of the state’s biggest tight ends, tipping the scales at 235 pounds, and was a first-team all-Portland Interscholastic League selection last season when the school was in Class 6A, but still in the PIL.

Tailback Khari Hanna is also one of the guys Davis is looking to have a break-out season. Hanna rushed for 130 yards on 16 carries against Centennial. Davis called the 190-pound Hanna “the hardest working guy you’ll see around the state of Oregon.”

Perhaps the biggest threat to the Hermiston defense will be wide receiver Wesley Gray. The 6-2, 180-pound wideout caught three touchdown passes against Grant — of 58, 13 and 51 yards — and has become a focal point of Benson’s fast-paced, spread-pistol offense.

Injuries have put a kink in Tech’s plans this season, losing starting center and offensive line captain Nick Preciso to an ACL tear. They also lost starting defensive lineman Nick Blank for the year.

At quarterback, Dylan Haupt left the Centennial game with a strained back, but rebounded nicely and performed well in the Grant matchup, tossing four touchdown passes in the lopsided defeat to the Generals.

Kennewick 27, Dawgs 20

A fumbled snap on a fourth-quarter drive kept Hermiston from potentially sending the game into overtime, losing to the Kennewick Lions, 27-20, Friday night at Lampson Stadium in Kennewick.
The botched exchange was the third fumble of a game for Hermiston, who trailed 27-6 at halftime.
Trailing by a touchdown, Tim Rude launched a pass that found Rique Cardenas for a 39-yard gain to give the Dawgs the shot at putting one in the end zone with a little more than a minute remaining.
Rude finished the night going 17 of 29 for 224 yards and a score, hitting Joey Burns in the third quarter on a 31-yard pass that Burns elevated above the Kennewick defenders to snatch.
Tailback Jacob Almaguer packed the ball 22 times for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Burns hauled in five passes for 76 yards.
Kennewick quarterback Drew Loftus threw for 158 yards on 10 of 18 passing. Zack Albertin rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries.

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