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Eagles rushing attack bowls over Bend

HOOD RIVER — Jacobe Krizman left little doubt Friday why he is the state’s top rusher, leading Hood River Valley to a 56-39 win over Bend at Henderson Stadium.

The senior wing back raised his five-game total to 1,250 yards with a 253-yard, four-touchdown performance against a Lava Bears defense that was ranked second in the Intermountain Conference.

Krizman also threw two TD passes to Chris Searles and blocked an extra point, helping the Eagles raise their IMC record to 2-1 (4-1 overall). Bend dropped its first game of the season and now stands at 2-1 (4-1).

“We wanted to come out and show that we’re just as good, if not better, than the No. 10 team in the state,” said Searles, who rushed for 105 yards on 13 carries. “The rankings are definitely a motivator for us, and tonight we proved that we belong.”

But it wasn’t just the offense that carried the Eagles to victory Friday. The defense, ranked sixth in the IMC, also stepped up its game and made two key fourth-down stops in the second half to keep the Eagles’

offense rolling.

“I would have to give this one to our pass defense,” a humble Krizman said after the game. “They played their hearts out and proved that we’re not all about offense.”

While the Eagles secondary did give up 327 yards through the air to Dan Haley and the Lava Bears’ receivers, it responded in the red zone, preventing one touchdown and two two-point tries inside the 20-yard line.

“We still have a few things to work on, but it was a pretty inspired effort,” coach Mitch Sanders said. “There were a couple plays here and there on defense that could have made it an even more decisive win.”

Haley and his primary targets, Travis Vance and Justin Fleming, exploited the small, inexperienced HRV secondary throughout both halves with their spread offensive sets.

Fleming caught seven passes for 136 yards and two TD’s, while Vance snared three passes for 108 yards and a score. Tight end Eric Steimer also caught a TD pass from Haley to cap a five-catch performance.

As was the case the past two games, the long ball killed the HRV defensive backs on numerous occasions — one, a 57-yard touchdown catch by Fleming; the other a 57-yard bomb to Vance at the end of the third quarter to set up a touchdown that put the Bears within eight points at 35-27.

But the Eagles’ secondary stepped up when it needed to, squashing two two-point conversions in the fourth quarter (one by Dominic Buttaccio, one by Ryan Flory). The HRV run defense was also on its game throughout the night, holding the Bears to just 81 yards.

Featured tailback Matt Sieverson had an off night, rushing for just 15 yards (unofficial) against a stingy HRV run defense that had allowed the second fewest yards in the IMC before Friday’s contest (535). Haley led the Lava Bears’ rushing attack with 41 yards and two touchdowns.

The senior QB’s six-yard scamper in the first quarter capped a strong opening drive for the Lava Bears, while his 19-yard sweep left side put them up 14-7 early in the second quarter. HRV tied the game at 6:09 on a 12-yard TD pass from Jarrod Fogle to Dominic Buttaccio before Fleming caught a 57-yarder to put Bend back on top 21-14.

But Krizman reeled off a 65-yard run just before halftime to tie the game. HRV then went on a 14-0 tear to start the second half, with Nigel Bond scoring from four yards out, and Krizman from three yards.

Steimer caught a two-yard TD pass before the end of the third to narrow the deficit to eight, but Krizman took over in the fourth with TD runs of 10 and 35 yards before throwing the game-clinching 13-yard pass to Searles with 3:05 left.

HRV travels to Redmond on Friday, while Bend hosts first-place Hermiston.

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