Confidence is high on the HRV sidelines heading into Friday’s home grudge match with Pendleton.
After dismantling state-ranked Bend on Oct. 4 and outmuscling Redmond last week to go to 5-1 on the season, the Eagles are poised to seize sole possession of second place in the Intermountain Conference.
But they’ll be put to the test by a proud and equally talented Buckaroos team, which will ride one of the league’s top passers, Brian Nooy, into Henderson Stadium in hopes of stealing away the IMC’s second playoff seed.
“It’s going to be a close game no matter what,” HRV coach Mitch Sanders said. “If we play average like we did against Redmond, we won’t win the game.”
The Buckaroos also stand at 3-1 in the conference, but their only three victories have come against the league’s lower half. Their lone setback came to Bend and they have yet to face league No. 1 Hermiston — a team the Eagles took to overtime on Sept. 27.
“They’ve got a really great quarterback who’s been running the option since he was in middle school,” Sanders said. “He’s just as good as the Hermiston guy, and we have to be prepared.”
Pendleton will also rely on the running strength of Chase Berry, the IMC’s second-leading rusher at 776 yards (through five games), and all-state lineman/Division I prospect Roy Schuening (6’4”, 285).
“This is the biggest team we will have seen,” Sanders said. “They’re big and athletic, and we’re going to be tested.”