Hermiston won the game’s opening coin toss and elected to defer its choice to the second half. It wasn’t the first time something bounced the Bulldog’s way and it was the last time it deferred anything all night.
Hermiston used seven first-half Chase Knutz touchdown passes to rout The Dalles 75-6 Friday night in Kennison Stadium. It was the most points ever scored by a Hermiston football team.
“We wanted to work on certain things tonight,” head coach Mark Hodges said after the game. “We got away from our smash-mouth game and ran a lot of toss, trap, worked on the timing of our passing game...I think it was good, really good. It could be better”
It’s hard to improve on Knutz’s numbers, though.
The senior completed 13 of 16 passes for 298 yards and the seven scores to just one pick. He completed a couple downfield passes but most were screens or slants that had a bunch of yards after catch.
Case in point: with Hermiston up 21-0 Knutz shoveled one to Tony Green — who had come from the slot down the line of scrimmage — and Green weaved his way through defenders for a 28-yard touchdown. There were Riverhawks in position to make the play, but Hermiston runners broke tackle after tackle on their way to the end zone.
The running game was noticably missing from Hermiston’s attack, too.
Samuel Colbray didn’t play and was in street clothes. Cory Adams carried the ball only four times, two going for touchdowns. No Hermiston back had more than six carries, and eight backs in all had at least one.
It was apparent in the first half how uneven the game would be.
Hermiston forced The Dalles into a three-and-out and scored on the first play after a short punt, a 28-yard toss to Adams. Another punt by The Dalles led to a 47-yard touchdown pass from Knutz to Ethan Snow and Jesse Rodelo picked off a screen pass three plays later and it was 21-0 before the game was five mintues old.
Adams scored on another toss following a Riverhawks fumble, and by that point the game was over.
There isn’t much to say about this game. Just by looking at the rosters, it’s obvious The Dalles was in over its head. But, to their credit, they never quit, they never turned their backs on each other. They competed until the final whistle and ended the game on a touchdown. It was a positive end to an overwhelmingly negative night.
But for Hermiston, the win means a great deal.
Pendleton’s win over Hood River Valley sets up a potentially massive Halloween showdown in Kennison Stadium between the Buckarros and the Bulldogs. If both teams win next week, then the War on 84 will decide the Columbia River Conference championship. It’ll add another layer to an already bitter rivalry.
Don’t count on Hodges letting Hermiston look ahead, though, because they didn’t look past The Dalles.
HERMISTON 75, THE DALLES 6
The Dalles (0-7, 0-1) 0 0 0 6 — 6
Hermiston (6-1, 1-0) 40 28 7 0 — 75
RUSHING — THE DALLES (28-34): Dominique Sefalemua 8-40, Payton Eaton 18-73, Jordan Fa’amusili 1-1, Devin Wilson 1-0. HERMISTON (19-127, 3 TD): Cory Adams 4-38, 2 TD, Austin White 2-62, 1 TD, MItchell Brown 6-10, Tony Green 1-12, Luis Media 1-7, Kevin Mendez 1-2, Nathan Hunsaker 3-1, Chase Knutz 1-(-)5.
PASSING — THE DALLES (14-37-1, 169 yards, 1 TD): Dominique Seufalemua 14-37-1, 169 yards, 1 TD. HERMISTON (13-16-1, 298 yards, 7 TD): Chase Knutz 13-16-1, 298 yards, 7 TD.
RECEIVING — THE DALLES: Glenn Breckterfield 7-61, 1 TD, Jordan Lutu 4-79, Devin Wilson 4-30, Payton Eaton 2-3, Kristian Lucas 1-4. HERMISTON : Ethan Snow 4-140. 3 TD, Carson Morter 4-95, 2 TD, Cole Smith, 3-35, 1 TD, Tony Green, 2-25, 1 TD.