The top two offenses in the Mid-Columbia Conference will take the field Friday night at Fran Rish Stadium in Richland.
The Hermiston Bulldogs (5-2 overall, 4-2 MCC) will take on the Hanford Falcons (6-1, 5-1) in a game that features two of the top running backs in the league.
The Bulldogs have gotten 1,227 yards and 17 touchdowns from Wyatt Noland, who leads the MCC in rushing. He broke free for 303 yards and four touchdowns last week against Eisenhower.
“He has his bumps and bruises, but it is his warrior spirit that drives him,” Hermiston coach David Faaeteete said. “He and Andrew James, they want to put it on the line for their teammates. Same for Jacob Liebe. They love their brothers so much, they are willing to compete. That makes you want to coach football.”
The Falcons feature running Jared Devine, who has run for 537 yards and nine touchdowns. But where Hanford moves the ball is through the air. Quarterback Garrett Horner has thrown for 1,701 yards and 18 touchdowns to a variety of receivers, with Blake VanderTop being his favorite with 20 catches for 309 yards and five touchdowns.
“Hanford is playing well, they are on fire,” Faaeteete said. “They are well coached and they do things at a high level. We match up well in some areas. It will be a battle of wills - about ball control and explosive plays. We’ll see if we can get our defense reaffirmed for the week.”
The Bulldogs gave up a season-high 559 yards to Eisenhower last week, with 336 coming in the air.
“We didn’t do anything well,” Faaeteete said of his team’s defense. “We were soft up front and we didn’t tackle well. We just did not put it together against Eisenhower.”