When the physicality between Hermiston and Pendleton hit its apex Tuesday night, a pair of yellow cards were handed out to members of both clubs.

And the extracurricular activity wasn’t just limited to the players in a rivalrous Columbia River Conference bout at Blue Mountain Community College. 

A short-lived shoving match on the pitch was joined by jawing between fans, to which one purple-clad supporter replied “Scoreboard.”

But there wasn’t a scoreboard. The way the Bulldogs peppered the Buckaroos in the second half of their 7-2 win, though, was enough to convey who was well ahead.

Slow-starting Hermiston got all it could handle from the Pendleton in the first  60 minutes, but five unanswered goals propelled the Bulldogs.

“We had to come out (in the second half) and establish ourselves,” Hermiston coach Rich Harshberger said. “We got after it.”

The Buckaroos, who trailed 2-1 at halftime, were able to knot things up at the start of the second half when senior James Williams went airborne for a header that got past Hermiston goalie Alexis Garcilazo.

After that, though, Pendleton (0-3, 1-10) found itself on the wrong side of a scoring deluge.

Freddy Rodriguez answered by scoring his second goal of the evening. A pair own-goals followed, and the Buckaroos found themselves in a 5-3 hole.

“For about 60 minutes, we played really well,” Pendleton coach Rod Hillmick said. “Then we lost focus. We’re still pretty banged up with injuries, so when the lead got to five we started putting our subs in.”

Hermiston senior midfielder Enrique Leal then added insult to injury in the game’s final minutes

Leal was able to sneak a penalty kick by Pendleton goalie Grant Bannister  before scorching the net with a laser from 30 yards out.

“We went out there and played our game,” Leal said. “We maintained the ball kept our shape. It was kind of a bumpy start, but we got better as the game went on.”

Hermiston (6-4, 2-1) outshot the Buckaroos, 16-11. Most of the Bulldogs’ shots came in the latter minutes. 

Pendleton senior Rodrigo Bracamantes, who scored on a corner kick in the first half, liked his team’s start. Just not the final 15 minutes.

“We wanted to work the outside and get the crosses,” Bracamontes said. “We did that. Then we got unorganized in the second half.”

Pendleton standouts Victor Garcia (knee) and Evan Brandhagen (heel) played injured, and Hillmick said he liked the fact nobody else could have been injured when things got rough. 

“I love the fact the (refs) called it like a soccer game and didn’t let it turn into a wrestling match,” Hillmick said.  “That’s a good crew.”

One red card was doled out to Hermiston in the second half. 

“This is a pretty big rivalry for these two towns, so it’s not uncommon for the game to get a little bit chippy,” Harshberger said.

John Mejia scored the first goal for Hermiston, which travels to The Dalles on Thursday.

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