The downpour of rain in Hood River last Friday would try to spoil a special night at Hood River Valley High School, but the combination of the grand opening of Henderson Stadium, the kick-off to Hall of Fame weekend and a Hood River Valley football victory made for a memorable evening.
In what was the first-ever competition on the new turf field at Henderson Stadium, HRV football beat Rex Putnam by a final score of 43-12.
The victory moves HRV to 4-2 on the season and 3-2 in league play, while the loss for Rex Putnam continues a winless season for the program at 0-6.
HRV ranks behind Pendleton, La Salle Prep and Parkrose at fourth in Intermountain Conference standings.
Current standings in the Intermountain Conference: Pendleton (first place, 5-0); La Salle Prep (second place, 3-1); Parkrose (third place, 3-1), Hood River Valley (fourth place, 3-2); Milwaukie (fifth place, 2-3); Benson (sixth place, 0-4); and Rex Putnam (Seventh place, 0-5).
However, despite Parkrose being ranked higher in the IMC, HRV is currently ranked 14th in 5A OSAA state rankings while Parkrose comes in at 18; the higher state ranking for HRV is because of the Eagles’ 23-16 victory over Parkrose earlier this season.
In the matchup between the Eagles and Kingsmen on Oct. 5, HRV was heading into this game coming off a poor performance against La Salle Prep, losing by a final score of 36-16, while Rex Putnam headed into the matchup coming off a loss to Parkrose by a final score of 17-0.
Against the Falcons, HRV had troubles taking care of the ball as La Salle forced the Eagles to four total turnovers, which tied a season-high in turnovers for HRV.
With wet conditions on Friday, and then a season-high number in turnovers the week prior, a main point of emphasis for HRV heading into the game versus Rex Putnam was controlling the ball and possession.
Against the Kingsmen, HRV cleaned up their play on the offensive side of the football and only had one turnover on a rainy fall night.
HRV opened the game on defense and nearly recovered a fumble on the second play of the opening drive, but would instead force a four-and-out.
Offensively, the Eagles wasted no time putting points up on the board.
A one minute and 12 seconds drive of 39 yards was capped off by starting senior tailback Brandon Rivera, who scored on a four-yard rushing touchdown.
With nine minutes remaining in the first, the rest of this game would be all HRV.
After a scoreless seven minutes of football, Rivera scored his second rushing touchdown of the opening quarter on a six-yard rushing touchdown, ending a 73-yard drive in five plays.
HRV led the Broncos 14-0 heading into the second quarter.
A two-possession game separated these two schools for a majority of the second quarter, but with 2:30 left before halftime, Rivera extended HRV’s lead to three possessions after he took a six-yard run to the endzone for his third rushing touchdown of the first half.
Riggs Bardin, a senior kicker for HRV, put his third extra point attempt of the first half through the up-rights and with halftime looming HRV led 21-0 after capping off a five-minute, 11-play drive.
The score would stay locked at 21-0 heading into halftime.
At halftime, the 2018 HRVHS Hall of Fame inductees were introduced, and on Saturday, the former HRVHS athletes were officially inducted into the HRVHS Hall of Fame.
After halftime and with the ball back into the hands of Rivera and an offense that had built up a comfortably first half lead, HRV opened the third quarter with an impressive drive up the field.
Ryan Gray, a junior who starts at quarterback for HRV, gave Rivera a break from all the scoring he had done up to this point in the game.
Gray connected with tailback Beto Rojas for a 39-yard receiving touchdown, capping off a four-minute 78-yard drive of eight plays for HRV.
Bardin continued his perfect night through the up-rights as he knocked in his fourth extra point of the game after the 39-yard touchdown reception by Rojas.
HRV led Rex Putnam 28-0 with eight minutes remaining.
With the HRV defense continuing to pitch a shut-out, HRV’s offense took over for a second time in the quarter with under five minutes remaining before the fourth.
After a three-touchdown performance in the first half, Rivera wasn’t quite done just yet as he took a 17-yard rush into the endzone with 1:32 remaining in the third for his fourth rushing touchdown of the game.
Despite a failed two-point conversion, the Rivera touchdown late in the third officially put this game away; the Eagles led 36-0 heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, HRV was outscored 12-7, but a 36-point deficit was too much for the Kingsmen to overcome and the Eagles won by a final score of 43-12.
It was a dominating performance, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, in HRV’s return to Henderson Stadium.
HRV racked up a total of 345 total yards of offense while holding Rex Putnam to 182 total yards.
The offensive leader for HRV Friday night was Rivera, who finished with four touchdowns and 164 rushing yards on 19 rushes.
Tanner Fletcher, a sophomore running back for HRV, was the Eagles’ second leading rusher against Rex Putnam as he ended with one touchdown and 52 rushing yards on seven attempts.
Gray, at the quarterback position for HRV, managed the game very well as he threw no interceptions and completed 10 of his 15 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown.
The leading receiver for HRV was Rojas, who finished with four catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, six Eagles finished the night with one tackle-for-loss against Rex Putnam: Rojas, Chris McElwee, Cruise Hawk, Jose Rivera, Emilio Castaneda and Juanluis Jimenez.
HRV held Rex Putnam to 146 yards of rushing, only 36 passing yards and forced one interception.
Next up HRV will play its homecoming game on Oct. 12 against a non-league opponent, the Forest Grove Vikings (4-2 overall); kick-off at 7 p.m.
This will be a clash between the 14th ranked Eagles and 17th ranked Vikings.