After missing out on a shot at the Mid-Columbia Conference playoffs with last week’s Kamiakin loss, Hermiston dropped its season-ending game at home to Central Valley in an MCC-Greater Spokane League crossover. The Dawgs lost 44-14 to the Bears.

A 33-yard field goal at the 7:30 mark from kicker Landon Rehkow put the Bears on the scoreboard first. Wide receiver Connor Caffrey extended the lead with a 33-yard rushing touchdown at the last second of the first quarter, leaving the Dawgs down 10-0.

The relentless Bears kept the scores coming to open the second quarter. Caffrey scored on a 59-yard reception from quarterback Matt Gabbert about 47 seconds into the quarter.

While Central Valley connected on passes with ease, Hermiston struggled. A touchdown pass from Andrew James to wide receiver Youbani Razon in the third quarter was called back because of a holding penalty.

Meanwhile, the Bears continued to rack up points as Gabbert later connected on a 10-yard pass to Caffrey for another touchdown.

The fourth quarter featured a small Hermiston comeback. After the Dawgs pushed the ball up to the 1-yard line, running back Wyatt Noland ran the ball into the end zone on the next play.

The two teams then swapped touchdowns. Bears running back Jaren Thomas rushed 59 yards for a score, and James later responded with a 12-yard carry for another. With 4:24 left in the game, Central Valley running back Ryan Harper capped the scoring with a 7-yard rush to seal the 44-14 win.

The Bulldogs may have closed the season with a loss, but coach David Faaeteete left his team with some uplifting words.

“The only good thing about the end of a book is the start of a new one,” he told them. “You’re starting the next chapter of your lives. Thank you so much for all you’ve given. Rain or shine, it’s Dawgs all the time.”

James completed 10-27 for 118 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 112 yards. Noland rushed for 119 yards in his last game at Kennison Field.

“The scoreboard doesn’t define us,” said an emotional James after the game. “Hermiston football has been the greatest thing I’ve ever been a part of. These past four years have been unbelievable.”

Hermiston finished with a 6-4 overall record for their first year in the MCC.

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