PILOT ROCK – Playing two of the best teams in the state to open the season paid off for Pilot Rock.
The Rockets used their lessons learned to clinch a 30-24 Special District 2 victory Thursday, March 18, over Imbler.
“Playing such tough teams puts a strain on your heart, especially the freshmen,” said Pilot Rock coach Mike Baleztena. “They were thrown to the wolves playing Adrian and Dufur. It was a good learning experience for them.
The win was the first of the season for the Rockets (1-2), who saw quarterback Tanner Corwin pitch for 168 yards and two touchdowns, and run for another.
“It was awesome,” Baleztena said. “It was a grueling game – we had five turnovers – but we managed to get the upper hand.”
Freshman Jace Otteson ran for 85 yards and a touchdown, and had an interception on defense.
Freshman Austin Ford received 160 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 11 tackles in defense.
Wyatt Stillman led the Rockets with 13 tackles, while Paxton Ellis had nine.
HEPPNER 35, GRANT UNION 16 – Jayden Wilson ran for two touchdowns and threw another as the host Mustangs took their record to 3-0 with a Blue Mountain Conference victory over the Prospectors.
Heppner took a 22-0 lead in the first quarter as Wilson ran for 13- and 9-yard touchdowns, and Jace Coe returned a 33-yard interception for a touchdown.
In the third quarter, Hisler threw the ball into the end zone from 42 yards, and Wilson hit Jackson Lehman with a pass from 30 yards.
Wilson threw for 165 yards and ran for 24, while Hisler had four carries for 64 yards. Coe caught five passes for 89 yards, while Lehman had three catches for 72 yards.
Grant Union scored twice at the end of the fourth quarter.
Defensively, Lehman and Hisler each had eight tackles, while Mikel Jaca had seven tackles and a quarterback and Conor Brosnan six tackles.
STANFIELD 20, UMATILLA 0 – In a game where both teams were shorthanded, the host Tigers were able to hold out for a win at the Blue Mountain Conference.
“I had 12 players,” Stanfield coach Davie Salas said. “It was hard. I told them it’s one of those games that we can’t care about who isn’t there. The kids resisted and we managed to win tonight. We played a great defense and were able to stop their passing game.
Umatilla was in the same boat, but had 14 players dressed.
“I respect the job he (Dan Durfey) does there,” Salas said of the Vikings. “Both teams played hard. They made us win everything we have there. It was a good game to watch and a good game to train.
Enrique Arellano ran for 149 yards and had 6 and 41 yard touchdowns for the Tigers.
Arellano also blocked a punt that Bodie Braithwaite picked up and ran for 20 yards for a touchdown.
“He was a workaholic tonight,” Salas said of Arellano.
For the Vikings, Ryan Lorence ran for 36 yards and pitched for 78 yards. Oscar Campos caught four passes for 47 yards, while Romiro Alvarez had two catches for 24 yards.