Ahead of last Friday’s road matchup versus Parkrose, the Hood River Valley football team was coming off a 46-0 road loss to the Pendleton Buckaroos (3-0).
The loss moved HRV to 1-1 on the season before travelling out to Portland on Sept. 14 to face the 1-1 Parkrose Broncos.
Unlike the Eagles, the Broncos went into the Sept. 14 matchup with HRV on the winning side of a blowout, beating Benson by a final score of 82-7.
With momentum on Parkrose’s side, especially after a touchdown on the Broncos opening drive, HRV settled in and outscored Parkrose 23-3 in the final three quarters to secure the 23-16 road victory.
However, this game’s win trajectory wasn’t headed in the right direction after the Eagles’ opening quarter of play.
On the first drive of the game, Parkrose’s running back Taydrian Jackson and quarterback Try Singleton marched down field using the Broncos only form of offense, the running game.
A 47-yard run by Jackson set up a red-zone opportunity for Parkrose and three plays later, Jackson rushed for a four-yard touchdown to put the Broncos up 6-0 after a missed extra point attempt.
With three interceptions in the game prior, HRV’s starting quarterback Ryan Gray didn’t get the offense off to a better start than the 41-total yard performance by HRV versus Pendleton.
On the Eagles’ opening offensive possession, Gray on third-and-four had his pass tipped up in the air at the line of scrimmage by a Broncos lineman. With the ball up for grabs, a Parkrose lineman came in and secured the ball for Gray’s fourth interception in the past two games.
A three-and-out forced by HRV’s defense in the ensuing Parkrose drive quickly put the ball back into the hands of Gray and the HRV offense.
However, HRV’s starting tailback, Brandon Rivera, on the first play of the drive fumbled and Parkrose recovered the fumble at the Eagles’ 22-yard line.
With two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Parkrose scored its second touchdown of the game on a two-yard rushing touchdown by Singleton, putting Parkrose up 13-0.
After gaining its first first-down of the game, HRV’s offense headed into the second quarter with a decision to either punt the ball or go for it on fourth-and-one.
To open the second quarter, HRV chose to go for it.
Rivera took the ball up the middle and crossed the first down marker to keep the Eagles’ drive alive.
After a couple of solid runs and a personal foul penalty on Parkrose, HRV threatened to score as they had the ball on Parkrose’s 20-yard-line.
On the first play at the 20, Rivera took an outside handoff for 19 yards and HRV was now at the Broncos one-yard line.
Offensive linemen Jesse Lachino, Dylan Maden, Ben Routson, Noah Linder and Henry Buckles were awarded with driving this team down field and on first-and-goal, they pushed back the Parkrose defensive line to open a gap for tailback Matthew Tichenor, who crossed the goal line for the Eagles’ first touchdown of the game.
A missed extra point by HRV cut the Parkrose lead to seven, 13-6 Broncos.
On the kickoff following, the Eagles forced a Parkrose fumble and recovered the ball at the Broncos 40-yard-line.
With momentum beginning to shift, head coach Caleb Sperry took advantage of the offensive opportunity and was aggressive with his play-call on first-and-10.
Gray dropped back into the pocket and launched a deep ball down the sideline that wide receiver Jacob Enriquez was unable to haul in as the ball grazed his fingertips.
A holding penalty on HRV and a two-yard rush by Rivera on second-and-20 set up a third-and-18 for the Eagles.
Despite missing Enriquez on the opening play of this drive, Gray went back his way on third-and-18 and connected with his wide receiver for a 24-yard gain to set up first-and-10 at Parkrose’s 20-yard-line.
However, the HRV drive would end at Parkrose’s 20-yard-line as the Broncos defense forced a turnover-on-downs.
With a little under six minutes remaining in the second quarter, Parkrose chewed up four minutes and 41 seconds of the game clock. HRV’s defense nearly forced two fumbles on the ensuing offensive drive for Parkrose, but the Broncos were able to recover both and after a personal foul penalty on HRV, Parkrose moved the ball up to the Eagles 10-yard-line with two minutes left before halftime.
The Eagles defense held up Parkrose at the 10-yard-line and allowed only a field goal, Parkrose 16-6.
With a minute left before halftime and two timeouts remaining, HRV had just enough time to drive down field and score.
After two Parkrose penalties and a 15-yard run by Rivera, HRV had the ball at Parkrose’s 29-yard-line with 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
With enough time for one last shot, Gray threw a pass to the left corner of the end-zone for wide receiver Christian Zack.
Zack, who had a Parkrose cornerback draped all over him, went up above the corner and snagged it out the air for a 29-yard-reciving touchdown.
After the extra point by Riggs Bardin, HRV went into halftime down 16-13 and would get the ball back to open the second half.
On the opening drive of the third quarter, HRV converted two fourth downs, including a fourth-and-10 that was picked up off a halfback screen to Rivera.
To open the third quarter, HRV took off a total of 6:24 on the game clock before tying the game up at 16-16 with a 33-yard field goal by Bardin.
Despite giving up two touchdowns in the first, HRV’s defense was impressive versus Parkrose, especially in the third and fourth quarters.
With two minutes left in the third, HRV stripped the ball from Jackson and recovered the fumble at HRV’s 30-yard-line.
Gray on the first offensive play after the fumble recovery took a shot down field for Zack, who hauled in a 43-yard reception to set HRV up at Parkrose’s 30-yard line.
After the 43-yard reception by Zack, HRV continued to pound the ball with a mixture of four tailbacks: Rivera, Tichenor, Beto Rojas and Tanner Fletcher.
At the end of the third quarter, HRV had the ball in scoring position at the Broncos 10-yard line.
Rojas opened the fourth quarter with a run of eight yards, and on second and goal, Gray connected with Rojas, who took an underneath route out of the backfield for the two-yard receiving touchdown.
Bardin finished off the drive by putting the extra point through the uprights and HRV led Parkrose 23-16 with 11:46 remaining in the fourth quarter.
HRV’s defense forced two Parkrose four-and-outs in the fourth quarter, and HRV’s offense chewed the clock by running the ball behind what was a dominant offensive line all night long.
After a couple of timeouts by Parkrose in the closing minutes of the game, HRV picked up first down after first down and then went on to pick up the road victory over Parkrose by a final score of 23-16.
The victory over Parkrose showed that this team has bought in to one another. After being down 13-0 to open the game, and coming off a 46-0 loss to Pendleton, it would’ve been easy for the boys to look forward to being at home this week against Benson.
However, they continued to play with a sense of purpose throughout all four quarters and that ultimately led to HRV picking up its second win of the season.
Gray, who started off slow with an interception on the Eagles’ opening offensive drive, ended with 155 passing yards on 10-20 attempts, two touchdowns and one interception.
HRV was dominant on the ground, racking up a total of 255-total rushing yards.
Fletcher led the way for HRV with 89 rushing yards, behind him with 71 yards was Rivera.
The other 97 rushing yards were carried by Rojas and Tichenor. Rojas ended with 63 rushing yards, while Tichenor finished with 35 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Just as dominant as the ground game for HRV was the Eagles’ passing game, as six HRV receivers netted in a total of 155 yards through the air and two touchdowns.
Zack was the Eagles’ leading receiver with two catches for 72 yards and a touchdown; Rojas caught the other touchdown.
HRV totaled 410 yards of offense versus Parkrose, compared to just 41 against Pendleton.
The defense held Parkrose to under 200 yards of total offense (194), including just 19 yards passing for the Broncos.
Next up the Eagles will be at home for the first time this season against league opponent Benson at the Wy’east Middle School football field on Friday, Sept. 21 at 4 p.m.
HRV heads into this game as early-favorites, as Benson lost to the Broncos by a score of 82-7 a week before HRV went into Parkrose and won by a final score of 23-16.