HOOD RIVER — If you subtracted the first quarter of last Friday’s 59-42 win over Pendleton, the HRV football team may have played its most dominant
offensive game of the season.
But fortunately for the playoff-bound Eagles, no one on the team could forget the nightmarish early-game sequence that saw HRV fumble the ball twice and give up three quick touchdowns to go down 18-0.
“I was so mad after that first touchdown and then they scored again,” said senior wing back
Jacobe Krizman, who rumbled for 313 yards on 40 carries to go with five touchdowns. “We knew we had to turn it around right then, so we all huddled together and said ‘let’s get it done.’”
Krizman got HRV on the board just 10 seconds into the second quarter with a 44-yard scamper, and then helped stop the Buckaroos on the next series, forcing them to punt.
That defensive hold set up a 72-yard drive that was capped by a Nigel Bond 11-yard TD run and a Krizman two-point conversion. Pendleton scored minutes later, but HRV marched right back down the field in 39 seconds to cut the lead to 24-21 on Chris Searles’ 37-yard scamper.
To be down just three points at halftime after an abysmal start like that would make most teams happy. But Pendleton added to HRV’s glee by giving away a safety in the final 15 seconds of the half, which cut the lead to 24-23.
That, as they say, was all the Eagles would need.
The defense held on the first series of the second half and set up the go-ahead drive that was punctuated by another Krizman TD and a Searles two-point conversion.
“We knew they would crack eventually,” said sophomore tight end/safety Dominic Buttaccio. “It was kind of chilling to go down by so much, but we kept our heads in it. In the end, we just wanted it more.”
Pendleton wasn’t going down without a fight, though. Quarterback Brian Nooy and running back Chase Berry promptly drove the Bucks down the field in four plays to put them within one point of tying the game.
But the HRV extra-point mystique continued, as the Eagles foiled their 10th consecutive point-after conversion, dating back to last week’s win over Redmond. That could have meant the difference in the ballgame, but instead, it was Krizman.
The state’s leading rusher and his offensive line kept pounding away at the Pendleton front seven, and the Eagles eventually built their lead to 15 points with 9 minutes remaining.
Bond scored at 9:30 to put HRV up 38-30, and just when it looked like the Bucks were going to make it a ballgame, Nooy fumbled on his own 33-yardline, setting up Krizman’s third score of the night — a 43-yard burst that put HRV up 45-30.
Nooy and the Bucks came right back 43 seconds later to cut the lead to nine, but the Krizman machine kept rolling along to put HRV in front 52-36 with 4:30 remaining.
“We knew we were a better team than what we showed early, and we really had to dig in second half,” Krizman said. “It was good to follow up our worst half of football with one of our best.”
As if he hadn’t done enough, Krizman put the exclamation point on the Eagles’ sixth win with one of his more spectacular TD runs of the season — a 49-yard cross-field, zig-zag run that defined “taking it to the house.”
“The play call was a sweep right, but when I saw Tommy (Owyen) and everyone go to the sideline, I just broke left, and it was there,” he said.
Krizman’s fifth touchdown run of the night gave him 25 rushing TD’s in seven games to go with four more receiving and two passing. His 313 yards were merely his third highest total in Intermountain Conference play, and gave him 1,796 yards on the season.
He has two games remaining to cross the 2,000-yard mark, and could become the first 4A rusher in Oregon ever to accomplish the feat.
HRV is now assured of the IMC’s No. 2 playoff seed, and needs to win just one of its final two games to guarantee itself a home game on Nov. 8 against the Three RIvers Conference No. 3 seed (currently Lakeridge).