The Hood River Valley defense combined with monsoon like conditions to keep the vaunted Hermiston Bulldog offense grounded Friday night.
The Eagles got a burst of scoring in the first half, and that proved to be more than enough to sink the Bulldogs and hop into the drivers seat for a Columbia river Conference title with a 28-14 win in Hood River.
Forrest Broddie had touchdown runs of 72, 1 and 58 yards to power the Eagle offense in the first half, and 20-yard touchdown pass from Luke Kopecky to Kyle Beam early in the third quarter gave the Eagles what turned out to be a decisive two touchdown margin.
After marching straight down the field and scoring on the first possession of the game, the Bulldogs had trouble moving the football for the rest of the night.
Their only other touchdown, which cut HRV's lead to 21-14 came on a ten yard touchdown run by Trenten Anteau, started from the HRV 24 after a long punt return.
But the Eagles were able to answer early in the third quarter when they recovered a Hermiston fumble at the Bulldog 20 yard line and scored one play later on Kopecky's pass to Beam.
The Eagles made quick strikes on offense their staple to get their 28 points.
HRV's first touchdown came on a 72 yard touchdown by Broddie on the first play of a possession with 4:53 to play in the first quarter.
The Eagle defense helped pave the way for the second touchdown when the they forced Hermiston to turn the ball over on downs on the HRV nine yard line with two minutes left in the opening quarter.
The Eagle offense needed just three minutes to go 91-yards for a second touchdown.
The drive was sparked by a 41-yard pass from Kopecky to Beam to get the ball to the Hermiston 36. Broddie took over from their and eventually danced into the endzone from a yard out to give the Eagles their first lead.
The Eagles needed only seconds on their next possession to score their third touchdown.
The started on their own 42 following a Hermiston punt and on the first play Broddie broke past the Hermiston defense for a 58-yard score.
The HRV running back finished with 229 yards on 32 carries. Most of those yards came in the first half as he had to fight through a shoulder injury in the second half. However, the Eagles did not need much from their offense in the second half as their defense stepped up to keep the Bulldogs from gaining any traction.
As the Eagles extended their lead to three touchdowns early in the second half, Hermiston was forced to play catch-up, and the effort did not go well for the Bulldogs.
Hermiston had focused on attempting to establish its running game, but after the the Bulldogs first drive, the Eagle defense made it difficult to do so.
Following the Beam touchdown to put the Eagles up 28-14, Hermiston turned the ball over on downs at midfield following a fourth down fumble.
On their next possession the punted after a holding penalty and a sack by Connor Norman.
The Bulldog's final possession of the third quarter ended in comical fashion as the rain intensified.
Following an 18-yard run by Alejandro Ortiz to the HRV 33, the Bulldogs attempted to a run a direct snap play for Ortiz. The first try wound up with a five yard illegal procedure penalty. On the next snap Ortiz fumbled and was sacked for a ten yard loss. The next two snaps were negated by two more false start penalties, before Ortiz fumbled again and lost five more yards leading to an eventual punt with the Bulldogs facing fourth and 40 on their own 27 yard line.
Things didn't get any better for the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter. They turned the ball over on downs when they could not convert on a fourth and inches with 4:11 to play and then Normand slammed the door on any comeback with a fourth down sack of Hermiston quarterback Chase Knutz with 1:47 to go.
The HRV defensive front seven had a huge game. Normand led the way with three sacks. Nick Morgan, Brandon Dominguez, Ramon Ramirez, Nick Weekly, Dylan Jones and Eli Fults clogged the middle and kept the Hermiston running game in check after the first quarter.
Anteau led the Bulldogs with 120 yards rushing, but most of those came in the opening quarter, and Knutz had 116 yards passing, but most of those came in the fourth as Hermiston desperately tried to catch up.
For HRV, Kopecky attempted only 14 passes in the driving rain and completed seven of them for 89 yards. Those he completed he made count. Beam had two catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.