Irrigon’s final league game was its first league win on Thursday night.
And it might earn the team a spot in the playoffs.
The Knights honored their seniors and defeated Umatilla in a nail-biting 30-28 victory at home to close the Special District 3 schedule.
Payton Smith scored the first touchdown for Irrigon with a 33-yard run with 7:09 on the clock.
Umatilla made sure Irrigon lived up to the “Fightin’ Knights” nickname, going touchdown for touchdown through the game. Quarterback Andrew Earl and running back Trent Durfey proved to be the Vikings’ secret weapon and quickly responded by putting their team ahead 8-6 with a touchdown from Earl and a 2-point conversion from Durfey. But the first quarter was the only one to finish in the Vikings’ favor.
“Umatilla was ready for us,” Irrigon head coach Ken Thompson said. “They came out and ran that power formation, and took it to us the whole night.”
Irrigon opened the second quarter by reclaiming the lead — a pass from Keith Fleming to Lino Covarrubia for 60 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Ruben Moreno scored on the conversion to give the Knights a 14-8 lead.
The Vikings tied it up soon after when Durfey ran it into the end zone for a 14-14 tie.
Smith scored on the Knights’ next possession, and Durfey scored a touchdown and a 2-point conversion for the Vikings to end the half at a 22-22 tie.
Irrigon put its final eight points on the scoreboard in the third quarter with a 17-yard pass from Ryan Hussey to Fleming in the end zone, topped off with a 2-point conversion scored off a pass from Fleming to wide receiver Caleb Adams.
The fourth quarter almost saw a Umatilla comeback after Earl completed an 8-yard pass to Durfey in the end zone for another Vikings touchdown, but Irrigon’s defensive line stopped the 2-point conversion to give the Knights the victory.
“We started out slow, but came together in the second half and just kept rolling,” Fleming said after the win. “We fought hard till the end.”