HOOD RIVER — It was billed as the biggest game in a decade — a renewed rivalry between two long-time Mid Columbia foes.
Hood River Valley versus The Dalles. For many, the next best thing to Ducks-Beavers.
But when the final gun had sounded, the game was billed as more of a blowout, as the HRV Eagles dismantled The Dalles Indians by a score of 69-36.
“Frankly, we would have been disappointed if we hadn’t beaten them handily,” said Eagles head coach Mitch Sanders. “The Dalles actually played better than we thought they would. They’re going to be a good football team, but we simply overpowered them on the lines.”
HRV’s offensive and defensive lines were positively dominant, punishing the smaller, less-experienced Indians front seven throughout the game.
The Eagles totaled 543 yards of offense on the night, scoring on 10 of 12 possessions, and allowed 393 yards — 239 of them through the air by The Dalles senior quarterback Cory Carpenter.
“Every team is going to give up some yards, and I feel like we did a good job of containing them for the most part,” Sanders said. “Carpenter is one of the best QB’s we’re going to see all season, and with a new secondary like we have, there are plenty of positives to take away from this game.”
Sanders said he was most impressed with the overall team effort — especially on the lines — and also pointed to a few stellar individual efforts at the skill positions.
Senior wing back Jacobe Krizman rushed for 136 yards and three scores, and also caught an 81-yard TD pass from Jarrod Fogle in the first quarter. He also shined on defense, snaring an interception, forcing a fumble, and contributing to the team’s seven sacks.
Fogle was also spot-on in his first game as a senior, connecting on all three of his pass attempts for 164 yards and three scores — two to sophomore tight end Dominic Buttaccio, who finished the night with 83 yards.
“I was very happy with Fogle’s accuracy,” Sanders said. “He was on the money every time and executed our plays to perfection. The work he’s put in since last year really shows.”
Another individual star for the Eagles on Friday was sophomore wing back Adam Brown, who scored his first two varsity touchdowns in the second half.
Junior wing backs Rocky Level and Ryan Flory also added rushing touchdowns to complete the rout, while junior fullback Nigel Bond rushed for 71 yards. Not to be forgotten, junior kicker Nolan Johnson was on the mark all night as well, connecting on seven of eight extra points.
Sanders felt that the Eagles could have won by a larger margin, but was mostly concerned with the ‘W’ to start the season.
“I felt that we let down a bit after we got up 21-0,” he said. “We let them hang around a bit in the second quarter, but I think we were able to turn it on when we needed to. That was evidenced when we pulled away before half.”
After allowing The Dalles to narrow the deficit to 27-14 with eight minutes left in the first half, the Eagles went on a tear to go into the locker room up 49-14.
Immediately following an Indians’ TD, Buttaccio caught a 70-yard TD pass from Fogle at the 7:45 mark and rumbled past the entire Indian defense in what many fans saw as the play of the game. Krizman added two more TD’s before the half to eliminate any doubt.
Sanders and the Eagles are preparing this week for another home match-up against PIL powerhouse Benson. The conference season begins on the road Sept. 20 against Summit of Bend.