Lebanon had trouble with tire chains as the team bus crossed the mountain pass, then there was trouble getting the right directions to Mountain View High School.
About the only thing the Warriors had no trouble with Saturday was the Cougars.
"We didn't play well on either side, offense or defense," said a somber John Nehl, the Mountain View coach, in the Cougars' teary locker room after his team had fallen 38-6 to Lebanon in a Class 5A state quarterfinal football game at Jack Harris Stadium.
The loss brought to an end a seven-game winning streak for Mountain View (8-3), which entered Saturday's contest ranked No. 8 in the state and coming off a 47-20 drubbing of Cleveland in the second round of the playoffs.
"Just one of those days," said Nehl. "Like it wasn't meant to be."
The Warriors probably were thinking the same things earlier in the day as their bus trip from the Willamette Valley was delayed first by a snowy highway and then by a couple of wrong turns once they arrived in Bend.
"We don't come over here very often," offered Rob Allen, the Lebanon coach, by way of explanation.
The scheduled 1 p.m. kickoff was delayed by more than 30 minutes as the Warriors hustled through what Allen said was an abbreviated pregame warm-up.
"I was concerned about our legs," Allen said, "and our focus."
Perhaps it was Mountain View, though, that was affected more by the wait.
"Ahh," said Nehl. "This team's never gonna make excuses. Like I said, we just didn't play well. They played an outstanding game, and we didn't."
Lebanon, the No. 3 team from the Mid-Willamette Conference, was sharp from the start. On the Warriors' first possession, senior quarterback Seth Probert guided them on a 10-play, 60-yard drive that he capped with a quick pass over the middle to Robbie Roosa for a 20-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
"I thought we might come out slow," said Probert, referring to the unexpectedly long bus ride. "But we came out on fire."
The scoreboard clock was not operating for Saturday's game. But the scoreboard itself worked just fine, and the Warriors lit it up twice more in the first half.
Early in the second quarter, Roosa picked off a pass by Mountain View quarterback Seth Davies intended for Josh Young. That set up a six-play, 45-yard drive that resulted in a 16-yard touchdown run on a well-executed option pitch from Probert to Trevor Kilgore to make it 14-0.
With about four minutes left in the half, Davies intercepted a Probert pass near midfield and returned it to the Lebanon 28-yard line. But on third down and 11 from the 29, Davies' long pass for Young was intercepted by Derek VanAntwerp at the 2, thwarting what would be the best scoring opportunity of the afternoon for the Cougar offense.
"We saw they had three touchdown passes last week (against Cleveland)," said Allen. "We knew they liked to throw the ball, so we were looking for that."
After the VanAntwerp interception, Lebanon proceeded to march the length of the field. A 37-yard gain on an option keeper by Probert got the Warriors to midfield. Then, on a fourth-and-one play from the Mountain View 43 with just seconds remaining before halftime, Probert rolled to his left and passed to Roosa, who scooted up the left sideline to the end zone for a 21-0 Lebanon lead.
That long scoring play might have broken the Cougars' backs had Pat Cashman not returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the half.
Mountain View botched the extra-point kick, but Cashman's bolt to paydirt breathed some life into a Cougar team that had amassed only 40 yards of offense through the first two periods.
"It was a huge lift for us," said Nehl. "But then they came out in the second half and scored the first two times they had the ball."
After taking the kickoff to start the second half, the Warriors got a 21-yard field goal from Thomas Evans at the end of a drive of nearly six minutes. Then, following a three-and-out by Mountain View, Lebanon put together another scoring march - and this time, it was the clincher: five plays, 80 yards, and a 15-yard touchdown run by Roosa on yet another option play.
One of the few breaks the Cougars got all day came on the second play of the fourth quarter, when senior linebacker Ben Atchison recovered a Lebanon fumble inside the Mountain View 1-yard line. But typical of the way things went for the Cougs in this game, the hosts gave it back two plays later when senior tailback Sean Koepf took a big hit on a carry up the middle. He fumbled, and Michael Lofton recovered the free ball in the end zone for the Warriors' final touchdown.
Mountain View endured its least productive offensive performance of the season, managing a total of just 115 yards. Davies, the senior quarterback who passed for more than 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in the first 10 games this season, on Saturday completed only eight of 20 passes for 59 yards with three interceptions.
Koepf, averaging 135 yards per game, gained only 52 yards on 13 carries against Lebanon.
The Warriors, who advance to a semifinal game next week against league-rival Corvallis, amassed a total of 513 yards, including 320 rushing yards. Probert gained 142 yards on 19 carries; he also completed seven of his 11 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.
Afterward, Nehl reflected on a Mountain View team that lost two of its first three games and then didn't lose again for more than two months - until Saturday against Lebanon.
"I'm proud of this group of kids," said the veteran Cougar coach. "They were behind the eight ball before, but they never quit on us all year.
"We played so well to this point," he added. "It was a heck of a ride."