Season-ending defeat

<p>Hermiston’s Trenton Anteau stiff-arms a defender during the playoff game against Dallas Friday at Kennison Field. The Bulldogs lost to the Dragons in overtime, 41-35.</p>

In a barn-burning playoff match-up at home, the seventh-ranked Hermiston High School Bulldogs were unable to hold off the 10th-ranked Dallas High School Dragons long enough to break into positive territory. Dallas defeated Hermiston 41-35 during the Bulldogs’ first and only playoff game of the season, ending their season.

Hermiston was off to a slow start, giving the first couple of touchdowns to the Dragons. The Bulldogs were finally able to put some points on the board at 3:41 left to go in the first period with senior Ramon Contreras running it in for a touchdown.

Dallas followed suit, putting another seven points on the board, however Hermiston regained its momentum with sophomore Sam Colbray breaking through the pack for another touchdown with 1:04 left to go in the first period. The Bulldogs ended the first quarter, 14-21.

Both teams struggled to gain any ground throughout the second and third quarters, which finished with Dallas ahead 35-29. The entirety of the game seemed to come down to the last 44 seconds of the fourth quarter. Hermiston sophomore Ethan Snow ran the ball in for a touchdown to tie up the game and send it into overtime.

Hermiston won the toss, accepting defense as its first option. Dallas was able to pull off a touchdown but was not able to recover the extra point, giving Hermiston a chance at winning the game.

After missing the first couple of chances at scoring, Hermiston quarterback Chase Knutz threw a Hail Mary on a last attempt, but Dallas senior Caleb Naughton caught the pass and sealed the win.

Hermiston coach Mark Hodges said, as the game went on, Hermiston played better and better defense against the Dragons.

“In the second half, we played good enough defense to win the game,” he said. “There is no doubt about it. We just didn’t take advantages of the opportunities we had.”

Hodges said the loss was especially hard for the team, which had overcome so much for a relatively successful season.

“We lost our top defensive players,” he said. “It is hard to overcome, especially when they are seniors ... It’s no doubt that it was a disappointment. I still feel like if we had a couple more bounces come our way and took care of the ball a bit better, then we would have had some opportunities to move on. I mean, we got enough in the tank, but it just wasn’t mean to be.”

Senior Damian Martinez said the game came down to who really wanted it more.

“It came down to manhood, and they had more of it in the end,” he said. “We came back and fought back. We just didn’t have enough to finish.”

Martinez said they did better in the second half and were really able to buckle down, but just weren’t able to take the win. Regardless of the heartbreaking loss to the end of his high school football career, he said the season was one to remember.

“This season was one of my favorites, ever,” he said.

The Hermiston Bulldogs ended the season with a record of 6-4.

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