HERMISTON — A handful of mistakes were costly for the Hermiston Bulldogs on Friday night, and Chiawana took advantage of most of them.
The Riverhawks, who were shut out in the first quarter, scored twice in a span of 8 seconds to open the second half, en route to a 34-14 Mid-Columbia Conference victory at Kennison Field.
“I’m proud of the kids with how hard they played and competed against one of the best 4A teams in the state,” Hermiston coach David Faaeteete said. “The game plan was good, but our own mistakes hurt us in the first half.”
The Riverhawks, who improved to 5-0 in league play, got three touchdowns from Marvell Cooks on runs of 6, 66 and 3 yards.
“I told them before the game if they didn’t take their heart early, it would be a long day,” Chiawana coach Steve Graff said. “They have some good athletes and they are well-coached. We got schlooped a couple of times on the back end.”
The game opened with a scoreless first quarter, with the teams trading interceptions.
Dion Lee had the pick for Chiawana, while Hermiston’s Broc Remmer repaid the favor on the next play.
The Riverhawks, which got good field position when the Bulldogs had a botched punt late in the first quarter, scored on a 6-yard run by Kobe Young 13 seconds into the second quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Chiawana stripped the ball from Remmer, and Jalen Webber picked up the ball and sprinted 24 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 Riverhawks lead.
With time winding down in the first half, the Bulldogs (1-5 MCC) had the ball and got into Chiawana territory with a 30-yard pass from Sam Schwirse to Trevor Wagner.
From there, the Riverhawks were all over the Schwirse, who got hit for a loss of 12 yards to bring up fourth-and-24.
Wagner punted, but the Riverhawks were called for roughing the punter, putting the ball on the Chiawana 14.
Two penalties, and two sacks put the ball on the 50-yard line as the half came to and end.
“That was the best first half of football we have played all season,” Wagner said.
Wagner got the Bulldogs on the board less than 5 minutes into the third quarter, hauling in a 56-yard touchdown pass from Schwirse for a 14-7 game. Schwirse finished the game with 317 yards.
Cooks, who ran for 208 yards, took off for a 32-yard run late in the third to put the ball inside the Bulldogs’s 15. Two plays later, quarterback JP Zamora scampered for a 14-yard touchdown.
Cooks scored once again, on a 66-yard run, for a 28-7 game, and his final touchdown gave Chiawana a 34-7 lead.
Hermiston put one last score on the board with 4:24 to play as Wagner ran the ball up the middle for 20 yards.
The Bulldogs managed 279 yards of offense, but had minus 39 yards rushing as the Riverhawks made themselves at home in the Hermiston backfield.
“A lot of great opportunities that we missed,” Faaeteete said. “We need to execute in the red zone and get better.”