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Fischer boots Eagles past Cleveland

Overtime field goal gives HRV win in sloppy game

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Justin White

PORTLAND - A week after playing in one of its highest scoring games in recent years, the Hood River Valley football team was involved in a thriller of a different variety Friday against Cleveland — a much different variety.The Eagles (2-0) beat Cleveland 9-6 in overtime on Rodney Fischer’s 21-yard field goal. Fischer redeemed himself after he missed a point-after kick in the first quarter that would have given Hood River a 7-6 lead.“My nerves were going the whole fourth quarter,” Fischer said. “I was hoping they would score, but I just kept boosting my confidence.”Two games into his high school football career, the senior already has made himself a memory — even if the game leading up to his winning kick was not exactly a thing of beauty. It was the kind of contest where one needed to fast forward through the middle 35 minutes to get to the exciting part.Both teams scored in the first six minutes and it appeared Hood River Valley would be involved in another shootout after winning its opener against Sandy 46-40. But after the early sparks, the game fizzled into a comedy of errors.Cleveland broke into its bag of tricks on the second play from scrimmage for a 65-yard touchdown on a halfback pass from Tyler Campbell to John Brant. The Eagles answered back with an 11-play drive capped by a 2-yard touchdown pass from Cody Walker to Ryan Bales.Then things bogged down. The teams combined for 10 punts, five turnovers and not much offense during most of the remainder of regulation play.“Our mentality leaving the school wasn’t what it needed to be,” HRV Coach Caleb Sperry said. “I’m glad to get the win, but this was a game we should have won 46-6.”The week prior, Cleveland lost its opener to Milwaukie 35-6.The Eagles did move the ball early on, largely due to a running game that gained 195 yards, including 85 from Kelby Broddie. “The (offensive) line got it done tonight,” Broddie said. “And we pushed through to the end with the run.”However, while they were constantly in Cleveland territory, the Eagles could not find a way to get points on the board.With 1:09 to play in regulation, both teams stopped fumbling, punting and turning the ball over on downs long enough to both take a crack at the end zone. But once again, neither offense could get out of its own way.Cleveland quarterback Eric Minturn completed a short pass to Henry Crommett, who sprinted up the left sideline. He got inside the HRV 20-yard line, where he was gang tackled by several HRV defenders and stripped of the ball. The Eagles recovered the fumble with 58 seconds left, and Walker then found Bales on a screen pass. The speedy HRV receiver got inside the Cleveland 10-yard line, seemingly setting up the Eagles to win the game. But the play was called back because of an ineligible receiver penalty, and one short punt later, Cleveland again had the ball deep in HRV territory.On third down and five at the HRV 25, Minturn was sacked for a loss, but a face mask penalty on HRV gave Cleveland the ball at the 10-yard line with four seconds remaining.Alistair McLaine, playing in his second high school football game, was called out for the field goal try, but his 27-yard attempt was wide left.Cleveland had the ball first in overtime, but its attempt to score ended when Dalton Frazier picked off Minturn in the end zone.The Eagles rode three carries by Broddie to the 5-yard line before Fischer came on and split the uprights with his winning field goal.Up next: The Eagles host the 6A Redmond Panthers on Friday in a game where the HRV offense likely will have to score more than nine points. The Panthers lost, 32-30, to Century in their season opener and then beat Grants Pass, 28-21, in their second game. Around the CRC: After getting blanked by Wilsonville in its opener, The Dalles-Wahtonka found its winning ways again, beating Madison 36-20 at Madison. Pendleton also rebounded from an opening loss, defeating Crook County, 21-14. Hermiston was the only Columbia River Conference team to lose Friday, and it was the Bulldogs’ second consecutive loss to a team from north of the state border. Hermiston lost 27-20 to the Lions of Kennewick, Wash.

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