By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
October 25, 2006
The Central Catholic football team is ranked No. 10 in the most recent state 6A poll. Coming into Friday night’s game against Hood River Valley they had outscored their conference opponents 147-28.
The Eagles were short several starters on the offensive line, starting running back Ian Bohince and two way starter Michael DeHart who had been anchor on the offensive and defensive lines.
The Rams had blown past every conference opponent they faced this season and did not allow the Eagles to be an exception to the rule as they used a 23-point second quarter to vault them to a 44-8 win on Friday.
The Eagles hung with the Rams early, allowing only one first quarter rushing touchdown to Luke Onderko, but were unable to get anything going on the ground. Playing against a faster, more athletic offense, the Hood River defense largely kept the Rams in check until a disastrous series of events midway through the second quarter that allowed the Rams to put the game away.
Despite the loss, the Eagles came away with some silver lining in the loss. Other than the mistakes during the last part of the first half the Eagles hung with the best team in the conference, avoided anymore serious injuries, and came away from the game still alive in the hunt for a playoff spot.
In the opening minutes of the second quarter Hood River’s Travis Carratt snuffed out a Central Catholic drive when he intercepted quarterback Jacob Haas in the back of the end zone. However, Carratt brought the ball and was tackled inside the Hood River one-yard line. If the ball had been downed in the end zone, the Eagles would have had the ball on their own 20.
Hood River coach Tracy Jackson called the decision to try and return the interception a “mistake by a very good football player” and said that he had gone over the play at halftime to make sure that Hood River defenders knew to take a knee in the end zone on future interceptions.
The Eagles were not able to get rolling on offense and had to punt the ball away.
Hood River’s defense managed to keep the Rams out of the end zone on their subsequent drive and Central Catholic had to settle for a 38-yard field goal to extend their lead to 10-0.
On the first play after getting the ball back, Hood River fumbled, and Central Catholic was quick to capitalize when Hass lobbed a two-yard pass for the score and a 17-0 lead.
The Rams then pinned the Eagles on their own one on the kickoff and Ryan Nelson was stripped of the ball on the next play. Central Catholic picked up the fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.
After another Hood River punt, Haas showed off his arm when he completed two long passes for a total of 66 yards, the second being a 25-yard touchdown pass to give the Rams a 30-0 lead at halftime.
On their first drive of the second half Central Catholic put seven more points on the board on another Haas touchdown pass for a 37-0 lead.
They would tack one more score on a 32-yard touchdown run with just over six minutes to go.
The Eagles managed to avoid being shut out and allowing the Rams their first shutout of the season when Erick Lujano scored on a three-yard run with two and a half minutes to go for Hood River’s first and only score of the night.
Lujano also led the Eagles’ offense with 88 rushing yards.
After the game Central Catholic Coach Steve Pyne credited the Eagles for keeping the Rams off-balance early.
“Hood River came out strong and had a couple of good runs on us,” Pyne said. “They had us on our heels early. We had a couple of penalties and some dumb mental mistakes, but then we had that blitz of about 20 points in three minutes and that was the difference.”
For the Eagles, Jackson was glad to see his banged-up, and now youth-heavy team put up a good fight.
“With what has happened to us in the last few weeks we are thin and we are outmanned,” Jackson said. “We just asked these guys to battle and to not quit fighting. I’m satisfied that we did that.”
Jackson said that the talent discrepancy between the two teams was “out of anyone’s control” but felt that the things his team could control, such as continuing to play hard and execute their plays, the team did well.
“I’m as proud as I can be of the way we competed,” Jackson said.
Hood River is currently in sixth place in the conference, with the top five teams advancing to the playoffs, and has two games remaining. Two wins and a Reynolds loss, or one win and two Reynolds losses would get them in, unless Gresham or Sandy win both their final games. The Eagles hold a tie-breaker over Reynolds because they beat the Raiders on Oct. 6.
“We keep telling out guys to keep their heads up because they are still in it,” Jackson said.
The Eagles go on the road to play David Douglas this week, Friday at 7 p.m.