By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
September 20, 2006
There were fireworks both in the air and on the ground Friday night for the annual meeting between Hood River Valley and The Dalles-Wahtonka. A week after being shut down by Forest Grove, the Hood River coaching staff went back to the drawing board and lit up the Indian Eagles with 376 rushing yards. Leading the way was Eric Lujano who ran for 112 yards, and had the pyrotechnicians setting off fireworks after every Eagle touchdown working overtime as he made three trips to the end zone in the 35-6 victory.
Following the loss to Forest Grove last week, Coach Tracy Jackson decided to switch back to the Double Wing offense that averaged over 30 points a game last year.
“The fact is, the single wing wasn’t taking,” Jackson said. “We’ve got too much potential as a group to be trying to learn something new right now.”
The switch worked out well for the Eagles as the offense ran up the rushing yards, and the defense again played a big game, including a goal line stand on the opening series that kept the Indian Eagles from scoring. Points went on the board early, when Lujano sprinted 55 yards to put the Eagles up 7-0 with just over a minute gone in the game.
On their first possession the Indian Eagles pushed inside the Hood River five yard line but were stopped four straight times and turned the ball over on downs.
The Indian Eagles had another opportunity to score a few minutes later when they had the ball inside the Eagles 20-yard line, but instead of kicking a field goal, they elected to go for it on fourth and eight and Ian Bohince swatted down Kyle VanCleave’s pass to give the ball back to Hood River. The Eagles took over and marched down the field, capping the drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Lujano in the opening seconds of the second quarter.
The Eagles added another touchdown before the break, a 24-yard run by Ryan Nelson with 3:11 to go in the half, to take a 21-0 lead to the locker room. In the third quarter the Indian Eagles started a pair of drives inside the Eagles’ 20-yard line after two fumbled punt returns by Hood River. The first drive got them on the scoreboard with a 5-yard sweep by running back Damian Telles, but Hood River blocked the extra point.
On the next Hood River possession, the Eagles responded with another Lujano touchdown, this one from 5 yards out to push the lead to 28-6. Ian Bohince would ad d a touchdown in the fourth quarter to go along with his 83 yards on the ground, to finish off the scoring for the Eagles.
A defense that has made significant strides from last season was all over the Indian Eagles for much of the game. The Eagles stopped the Dalles-Wahtonka inside the 20 three times, contained the running game, and intercepted VanCleave late in the fourth quarter.
“I really thought we did a good job scrapping tonight,” Jackson said.
Following the results of the switch back to the Double Wing offense, Jackson said that the single wing experiment has been placed on the back burner.
“I thought I had a better idea for awhile but I’m not too stupid to know that maybe it wasn’t the best idea,” he said.
Jackson singled out the play of the running backs and the offensive line, which opened plenty of holes for the running backs to get through, as keys in the victory.
The Eagles open Mt. Hood Conference play on the road at Gresham this Friday. The Gophers are 1-1 this season, and lost to Aloha 20-0 on Friday.