For the third year in a row, Hood River sent two teams to the Gorge Youth Football League championship. Hood River was represented at the 3rd/4th and the 5th/6th grade levels in this year’s finals, which took place last weekend in Stevenson.
The league includes teams from Hood River, Stevenson, White Salmon, The Dalles, Lyle, and Goldendale; teams play a six-game regular season, with the top two in each age group battling for the league championship in the final game. This year’s championship games were played under the lights at Stevenson High School.
The 3-4 championship game featured an exciting matchup between Hood River vs. The Dalles. Hood River finished with an 8-0 win, despite having four touchdowns called back due to holding and false start penalties. The shutout means the team finished with an undefeated 7-0 record on the season.
The 5-6 championship game was a battle between two undefeated teams, Hood River and Dallesport/Lyle. The team from the east overcame a first-half deficit to win the game 48-24 over a hard-fighting Hood River squad.
Hood River started the game on fire, winning the coin toss and opening with a 60-yard scoring drive capped by a reverse play that fooled everyone. The PAT was good and Hood River led 8-0. On the next series the Hood River defense stripped the ball carrier and scored several plays later on a quarterback keep up the middle, increasing the lead to 16-0 after another clean PAT.
The Dallesport/Lyle team then went on a scoring drive of its own, but didn’t convert the point after kick, coming away with only six points. Hood River then drove down the field for another score on an outside toss and, after the third straight clean kick, led 24-6 and seemed to be in clear control of the game.
Dallesport/Lyle’s running attack was relentless, though, and the team pulled out two touchdowns in the second quarter to narrow Hood River’s lead to only four points by halftime.
In the third and fourth quarters, it was all Dallesport/Lyle as Hood River fumbled the ball away twice and threw an interception. Dallesport/Lyle scored 28 unanswered points in the half and held Hood River scoreless to seal the victory.
Hood River’s coach Larry Wyatt commented, “We still had a great season and I’m extremely proud of the way our team played all year long.”