November 9, 2005
After the first few plays of Friday night’s varsity football game in The Dalles, the Eagles were coated and dripping with mud. By halftime, their white away jerseys were stained beyond recognition, the field looked like an oil spill and even the longest cleats were no match for the viscous black grass.
Hood River went on to win their last game of the season 48-20 against the Eagle-Indians, who finished with a tough 0-8 league record. The win brought the Eagles to 2-6 in league games, leaving them at seventh place in the Intermountain Conference (IMC) ahead of Crook County and The Dalles-Wahtonka.
In his first start of the season at quarterback, sophomore Travis Carratt took over for an injured Tony Guisto. The two worked together in practice during the week, with Guisto helping coach Carratt for the game.
“In his first start at quarterback, I felt he did a fine job,” Coach Tracy Jackson said. “He tried to force a couple of throws but he also threw a great wheel route to Tim Chance for a 52-yard touchdown.”
Chance, one of 15 seniors on the Eagles’ roster, played a solid game. In his last high school football game, he ran for 68 yards and two touchdowns and had a 52-yard touchdown reception run. Another senior to have a breakout game was Matt McDougal, who managed two touchdowns from only five carries.
The Eagles broke out in the first quarter, building a 20-0 lead before the Eagle-Indians could get their footing. After the first quarter the game turned pretty sloppy, due to the weather and field conditions. The game would end with 14 fumbles — seven from each team — nine of which were fumbles from the snap.
“The game worried me,” Jackson commented. “The mud had an effect on the game and our performance. But our guys up front really helped move their guys off the ball and keep our drives alive.”
Josh Castenada had two runs that gave the Eagles 73 yards and a touchdown, which was a nice surprise for a fullback. Also scoring a touchdown was runningback and linebacker Erick Lujano, who lead the Eagles in rushing with 90 yards, three first down runs and one touchdown. As a sophomore, Lujano looks to be a major asset for the Eagles in the next couple years.
Save for a little mud in the eyes, some awkward running and a chilly night on the sidelines, the team seemed to enjoy their most filthy game of the year.
“It’s a blast playing out there,” senior defensive back Obed Bello said from the sidelines. “It’s an absolute mess, but that’s what makes it so fun.”
Part of the fun was due to the Eagles commanding field presence. After half time, Hood River scored 28 more points — 14 in each quarter — compared to The Dalles-Wahtonka’s 12 points in the final two quarters.
To their credit, The Eagle-Indians threw for 173 yards off 14 passes, compared to Hood River’s 52 yards from only one pass. Those numbers are a trend that carried through the season for the Eagles, who relied almost entirely on their running game for major yardage.
“The win was a nice way to finish out what has definitely been a year of transition,” said Jackson. “Now we need to hit the lifting and get ready for the Mount Hood Conference. With that work and commitment, we will compete well. Although I’m looking forward to the challenge, there are a few teams I would like to play again from this season. We lost some really close games.”