Bulldogs take down Bengals on gridiron, play The Dalles-Wahtonka Friday

<p>Hermiston High School senior Chase Knutz escapes being sacked by Lewison High School senior Brandon Berlik Friday during their game at Kennison Field.</p>

After scraping out a 52-45 win against the Lewiston Bengals Friday at home, the Hermiston High School football team will hit the road this Friday for the Bulldogs’ first league game against The Dalles-Wahtonka.

Last week, Hermiston senior wide receiver Ramon Contreras snagged eight passes tossed by quarterback Chase Knutz for 207 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ narrow win over the Bengals. Knutz completed 16 of 32 passes for 272 yards on the game, and the Bulldogs picked up 167 yards on the ground, for a total of 439.

It took Hermiston awhile to kickstart their offense, however. The Bulldogs were down 21-0 at the end of the first quarter but narrowed the gap to 24-10 going into the half.

A little more than half way through the fourth quarter, Cory Adams scored on a 4-yard run, which was followed by a successful kick, to tie things up at 38, and the Bulldogs took the lead a couple minutes later after Knutz and Contreras connected for a touchdown pass that was again followed by a successful PAT to make the score 45-38.

The Bengals, however, were not ready to give up and managed to score again with less than a minute left in the game to knot things up at 45, sending the game into overtime. Adams secured the win for the Bulldogs, however, after making his second touchdown run of the game. Hermiston improved its record to 3-1 for the season with the win.

Hermiston coach Mark Hodges said he thinks his team was still suffering the ill-effects of the Bulldogs’ 63-9 thrashing at the hands of the Sherwood Bowmen, Sept. 13, and came out lagging against Lewiston. It took the Bulldogs the first half to shake off their malaise, generate some stops on defense and take advantage of a couple of breaks and get back in the game, Hodges said.

He said the more disciplined team won the game. He said 236 plays were run in that game.”

“I?think it was a matter of discipline and just attrition,”?Hodges said of the win. “I think we just finally wore them down.”

He said the Bulldogs’ passing game started clicking more consistently in the second half, as did the running game, and Hermiston’s offensive line eventually took over.

“I?think we just wanted it a little bit more than they did at the end,”?Hodges said.

He said the win was a good morale boost for the Bulldogs, who will face a tough Dalles team this week.

“They’re much improved over a year ago,”?Hodges said of the 3-1 Eagle Indians. “They’ve improved in every aspect of their game, so we’re going to have to be ready.”

He said the Bulldogs must make sure they don’t allow the Eagle Indians to make any big plays, and their open-field tackling has to improve a lot this week in practice.

While Hodges said they are tweaking a few things defensively, the Bulldogs will not be changing their game plan on the other side of the ball.

“Offensively, I?think we’re just going to do what we do,”?he said, adding the Bulldogs have picked up a lot of yardage in three out of their four games, racking up more than 1,600 overall this season.

That could prove to be a challenge, however, as key Hermiston players have been injured recently, including halfback Anthony Green, who is out this week because of a concussion. He was injured in the second half of the game against Lewiston, Hodges said. Tight end Michael Gossler stepped in for Green last week and will do the same in the Bulldogs’ game against The Dalles-Wahtonka, which begins at 7 p.m.

In other Friday football games: the Umatilla Vikings, 1-3, will play at 7 p.m. at Corbett High School hoping to recover after their 56-0 drubbing at the hands of Valley Christian last week.

Stanfield, 3-0, will take on Union at home in a league game beginning at 7 p.m. The Tigers enter this week’s action following a 63-24 league victory over Pilot Rock/Nixyaawii last week. The Echo Cougars will also play at home in a league game against Dufur, beginning at 7 p.m. Last week, Echo, 1-3 overall, lost to Sherman, 62-52.

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