A new football season starts for Bend High on Friday when the Lava Bears open Intermountain Conference play against Summit at Bend’s Punk Hunnell Stadium.
That’s a good thing, considering Bend has gone 1-4 in nonleague play so far this year while facing a difficult schedule. Summit will be looking for a big win as well, as the Storm opened league play last week with a loss to Redmond.
“Our message to the kids is that (the previous games) were nonconference, now it’s time to play in conference and do the real thing,” says Lava Bear coach Matt Craven. “Our kids understand that four of the five teams we played are likely going to be conference champions. ... At the same time, we still need to improve and continue to get better.”
Bend, which is trying to make the state playoffs for the eighth consecutive year, is coming off a 36-6 defeat at Hermiston last week. The Bears led 6-0 after the first quarter, but the Bulldogs, using a 23-point second period, scored 36 unanswered points. Hermiston quarterback Chase Knutz passed for 182 yards and three touchdowns in the nonleague game. Bend totaled 329 yards of offense against the Bulldogs, but turned the ball over three times.
“We need to throw the ball a little better,” Craven says. “The last couple games we’ve ran the ball well, but we haven’t hit the big throws when we needed to. ... Defensively, we’ve got to make more plays in the secondary.”
Summit (2-3, 0-1 IMC), which is hoping to knock off the Lava Bears for the first time since 2004, looks to rebound from last week’s 50-0 loss to Redmond. The Storm will have to find a way to stop Bend’s ground game — Lava Bear senior tailback Duke DeGaetano is averaging 113.2 yards rushing per game this season — after giving up over 400 yards rushing in the first half against the 5-0 Panthers.
“We learned some lessons from last week and are having a much better week of practice,” Summit coach Joe Padilla says. “We’re hoping to play our best game of the season Friday. Despite their record, Bend’s a very good football team.”
In the Storm’s last victory, a 27-14 win against The Dalles Wahtonka two weeks ago, Padilla’s squad returned two interceptions for touchdowns and quarterback Josh Gallagher completed 15 of 18 passes for 129 yards and two scores. Summit will need a similar effort Friday if it hopes to break its seven-year losing streak against the Bears.
“In the Redmond game in the first half, we moved the ball but shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times,” Padilla says. “We’ve got to make the big plays this week.”
Prep football this weekend, at a glance
A look at other football games Friday night involving Central Oregon teams:
Mountain View (2-3) at Pendleton (1-4): The Cougars face their former Intermountain Conference rivals in their final nonleague game of the regular season. Senior running back Kyler Ayers is averaging 126.8 yards a game rushing for the Cougars, who lost at sixth-ranked Wilsonville 49-33 last week. Pendleton, which is coming off a 48-29 home defeat to Baker, is allowing 34 points per game this season.
Redmond (5-0) at Crook County (4-1): The Cowboys, who are off to their best start since 1992, resume their rivalry with the Panthers after a six-year hiatus. Redmond is No. 3 in the latest OSAA 5A rankings, while Crook County is 12th in 4A. Both teams rushed for more than 400 yards last week in blowout victories.
The Dalles Wahtonka (1-3) at Ridgeview (3-2): Ravens coach Andy Codding guides Ridgeview against his former team, the Eagle Indians. The Ravens are averaging 354.8 yards rushing per game after beating Burns 49-22 last Friday. The Dalles Wahtonka, whose only victory this season is against still-winless Benson, enters Friday on a three-game losing streak.
Madras (2-3) at Molalla (1-4): The White Buffaloes look to improve to 2-0 in Tri-Valley Conference play with a win against the Indians, whose only victory this season is a forfeit win against Astoria. Madras has lit up the scoreboard in its past two games, a 60-52 loss to Crook County two weeks ago and a 46-18 rout over North Marion last Friday. Devin Ceciliani leads the Buff offense with 259 yards rushing, 626 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns this year.
Junction City (3-2) at Sisters (2-3): The Outlaws hope to snap a two-game losing skid and earn their first Sky-Em League victory of the season when they take on the Tigers. Sisters led Sweet Home 20-6 in the second quarter last week before the Huskies scored the game’s final 55 points to win 61-20.
Cottage Grove (4-1) at La Pine (2-3): The Lions roll into La Pine on a four-game winning streak, having scored 42 points or more in their past three games. The Hawks dropped their Sky-Em League opener to Junction City 45-12 last Friday.
Regis (2-2) at Culver (0-3): The Bulldogs open Tri-River Conference play against a Rams team that blew out Gaston 61-20 last week. Culver is still finding its way offensively, having been shut out in two of its three losses this year.
Triad (3-1) at Gilchrist (1-2): The Grizzlies will have their hands full against the Timberwolves, who outlasted Prospect 90-50 last week. Quarterback Gabe Ovgard rushed for 430 yards and passed for 119 yards in Triad’s Class 1A Special District 2 victory.
— Bulletin staff report