Ugly might be too good of a word for what was seen at Kennison Field on Friday night.
Hermiston hurt itself offensively and defensively with penalties (10 for 100 yards), and the offense sputtered on more than one occasion as the Bulldogs dropped a 14-3 Mid-Columbia Conference game to Walla Walla.
“It’s disappointing and frustrating,” said Hermiston coach David Faaeteete, whose team dropped to 0-4. “We seem to be making the same mistakes. They played well enough to beat us. Give them credit — they played with more heart than we did.”
The Blue Devils, under first-year coach Greg Lupfer, improved to 2-2 in MCC play.
“Number one, we played really well defensively,” Lupfer said. “We were faster on the D-line and that made a difference. Offensively, we have to make more plays and quit jumping offsides.”
Tied at 0-0 at the half, the Bulldogs came out, moved the ball down the field, bolstered by a 19-yard run by Daniel Faaeteete, and a 13-yard pass play from Sam Schwirse to Trent Pitney. Once inside Wa-Hi territory, Hermiston could not get the ball over the goal line.
The Bulldogs settled for a 22-yard field goal from Trevor Wagner to get on the board with a 3-0 lead.
Walla Walla took the lead on its ensuing possession, driving 62 yards on six plays, capped by a 1-yard TD run by quarterback Ryan Martuscelli as the Blue Devils went out front 7-3.
Jakob Humphrey, who ran for 99 yards on the night, had 52 yards on three carries in the drive.
Hermiston punted on its next possession, and Wa-Hi took over at its own 26.
Martuscelli connected with Humphrey for 38 yards to put the ball at the Hermiston 19. Five plays later, Humphrey took off for a 6-yard touchdown run and a 14-3 lead with 9:05 left in the game.
The Bulldogs had the last drive of the game, and got down inside the Blue Devils 30-yard line, but simply ran out of time.
“We just couldn’t finish,” coach Faaeteete said. “We played well defensively, but they were too much for us at the end.”
The Bulldogs managed 244 yards of offense on the night. Daniel Faaeteete ran for 66 yards, while Schwirse threw for 183. Wagner had six receptions for 77 yards, while Garrett Walchli had four for 42 yards.
There were big plays in the first half, but there were no points to be had for either side.
Midway through the second quarter, Schwirse hit Wagner with a 33-yard pass to get Hermiston into Wa-Hi territory.
Seven plays later, the Bulldogs were on the Blue Devils’ 19, but were out of downs. Wagner attempted a 36-yard field goal, but the wind carried the ball past the right upright.
Walla Walla’s Seamus Hall missed two field goals in the first half of 28 and 39 yards.
“Our guys played hard for four quarters,” Lupfer said. “Can’t ask for more than that.”