Portland The Hood River Valley football team got off to another slow start and this time it couldn't recover.
The Wilson Trojans scored twice in the opening six minutes of the game and sprinted out to a 34-0 lead before beating the Eagles 41-16 at Wilson Friday.
"We were just not mentally ready to play," said HRV coach Caleb Sperry.
The game had been heralded as a showdown between two of the top running backs at the 5A level, Cory Hincks of Wilson and Forrest Broddie of HRV. Neither wound up having much of an impact.
Hincks had one carry for one yard after suffering an ankle injury during the Trojan's previous game and the Wilson defense kept Broddie bottled up for most of the night.
Like they did against St. Helens the previous week, the Eagles (OSAA No. 18, 402) did not get off to a good start, but unlike the Lions the Trojans (OSAA No. 12, 5-1) never allowed them a chance to get back in the game.
Wilson took the opening kickoff and marched right down the field using the No. 2 and 3 running backs on the depth chart. Tyler Lunceford saw the bulk of the carries in Hincks absence and picked up 244 yards on 25 touches. Jeff Katter took over inside the ten yard line and managed three touchdowns on just ten yards. Xavier Peirce did damage with 87 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, the Wilson defends gave the Eagles fits, holding the Eagles to 270 total yards of offense and generating three turnovers.
Regardless of who the Trojans had carrying the ball, the Eagles had trouble stopping them.
"Hincks is really good but I knew we had two other good backs and a great line," said Wilson coach Ken Duilio.
Katter scored three touchdowns in the first quarter, all three of which were set up by big gains from his teammates.
On the first Wilson possession of the game Lunceford wen 60 yards to the ten yard line before Katter finished the drive with a one-yard dive.
After Josh Hagge returned a punt to the HRV five, Katter had his longest run of the day, five yards, for another touchdown.
The Eagles then fumbled on their next possession, and Lunceford used a 35 yard run to get to the seven and Katter got into the endzone from a yard out two plays later for a 20-0 lead.
Wilson blocked an HRV punt midway through the second quarter which was recovered by linebacker David Biddle in the end zone for a touchdown on Wilson's next offensive possession Peirce went 63 yards untouched for a touchdown and 34-0 lead 1:51 left in the first half to essentially put the game out of reach.
The Eagles did get on the board with a minute to go in the half when Jeremy Fischer ran 11 yards for a touchdown, but nearly gave up another score just before halftime when a Luke Kopecky pass was intercepted and returned to the five yard line as time expires.
The Spartans added a Michael Reid touchdown pass in the fourth quarter while the Eagles got a safety and a Kopecky touchdown pass to Kyle Beam in the final minutes to complete the scoring.
For Wilson the win allowed them to answer whether or not the could win with out Hincks, while the loss sent the Eagles into their three game league schedule with more questions than answers.
"This is a great wake up call," Sperry said. "We've been getting through games doing the same things and good teams can't do that."
The Eagles have a short week before traveling to Pendleton to face the (OSAA No.28, 1-5) Buckaroos.
With a new playoff system in place, with only the top 24 teams in the 5A rankings and league champions getting a playoff spot, the Eagles, currently ranked No. 18, may have to win out and take the Columbia River Conference league title to ensure themselves a playoff spot.
The Eagles next home game will be Oct. 19 against No. 5 ranked and Hermiston and could very well determine the league title.
"We need to have more of a purpose in practice and be more prepared," said Sperry. "We were not prepared this week and I take responsibility for that."