By Sam Barbee

Hermiston herald

The Hermiston football team removed any doubts about its ability Friday after the Bulldogs won an emphatic 56-17 win over Sandy.

Going in, the OSAA fifth-ranked Bulldogs were coming off their first loss of the season, a 31-27 loss at the hands of defending 5A Idaho state champion Coeur d’Alene, and some people were questioning whether the Bulldogs were serious contenders against Oregon teams.

“There was some scuttlebutt about us not playing any Oregon teams, like we were ducking tough teams,” head coach Mark Hodges said Monday. “We had to go over to Portland and make a statement.”

Their statement came in the form of a 56-17 blowout over Sandy.

So now Hermiston is 5-1 and start its Columbia River Conference schedule Friday against The Dalles, 0-6. Hodges doesn’t care about the Eagles’ record, though.

“We have to get better against The Dalles,” Hodges said. “We have to. Other teams are trying to get better and win a state championship, and we can’t let them get better when we don’t.”

He said the Bulldogs can’t afford to overlook any teams, especially with Hood River Valley looming on the schedule. If Hood River beats Pendleton this week and Hermiston takes care of business against The Dalles, that showdown Oct. 24 is for the CRC title.

Hermiston kicks off its homecoming game against The Dalles at 7 p.m. Friday in Kennison Stadium.

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