In the season opener, but a non-league game, the Hood River Valley Eagles played host to their historic rival, The Dalles Riverhawks. While the Eagles got off to a slow start, going scoreless in the first quarter, they would end up trouncing the Riverhawks 36-22.
It was a fight between two different offensive styles — the passing-dominant Riverhawks and the rushing-dominant Eagles. Statistically, it looked like The Dalles were the more productive team; they had more first downs (21 to 19), more total yards (383 to 317), less fumbles lost (1 to 2) and less punts (3 to 4). The Eagles had a great ground game, running the ball for 273 yards compared to TD’s 169 and played a tighter game, keeping their penalty yards down to 76 compared to the Riverhawks who mounted 145 yards from penalties; that staggering difference brings HRV’s total yards even with The Dalles.
The Eagles were led offensively by junior running back Tanner Fletcher who lit up the field for 271 of the total 273 rushing yards. He averaged eight yards per carry and scored two touchdowns in a commanding display of offensive prowess. Senior Ryan Gray was in at quarterback for HRV and had a challenging game against The Dalles’ pass defense. He threw 5-15 for 44 yards including one touchdown, but also had an interception. He also served as the Eagles’ punter and saw a bit more action there, letting four punts fly for 125 yards. Sophomore Trent Hughes caught the majority of Gray’s passes, racking up 35 yards and a touchdown in the receiver position. He also added a kickoff return to his offensive production, running a 61 yarder for a touchdown in the second quarter.
With the win, Hood River starts the season off with a 1-0 record heading into their home game this week against Pendleton. The upcoming match also signals the start of a league stretch, wherein they’ll play four league games, three of which are at home. The Pendleton game kicks off at 7 p.m.