“We were nervous about the run game and stopping their zone option,” Sperry said.
Hood River athletes returned to school this week and had an opportunity to find a rhythm. It seemed their week of practice paid off. In the first series with the Eagles on defense, players looked focused and ready for anything thrown their way — literally. Hood River defensive backs had their hands in passing lanes and forced Scappoose to punt the ball after four downs.
Feeding off the defensive energy, the Eagles marched down the field and Joey Frazier ran a wide-open slant route down the middle. Quarterback Trenton Hughes recognized the Scappoose coverage and found Frazier for an easy score.
The Indians lacked what the Eagles had in the first half: energy. A sluggish offense was stagnant against an aggressive Hood River defensive line. Another Scappoose punt opened the door for a score lead for the Eagles. Scrambles by Hughes and senior Ryles Buckley saw the Eagles get inside the Indians 20-yard line. But a late throw by Hughes into double coverage was intercepted by Scappoose and returned into Hood River territory. McNabb ran the ball up the middle and across the goal line and even the score at 7-7. Both teams scored once more in the first half and headed to the locker room deadlocked at 14-14
Hood River came out firing in the third quarter, scoring twice to take a 27-14 lead. Scappoose quarterback McNabb responded by engineering a 12-play drive to pull his team within 27-21 with 3:38 left in the third quarter. HRV sealed the win with two fourth-quarter touchdowns, a 20-yard fly sweep by Shaw Burns and 30-yard run by Hughes. The senior quarterback accounted for 343 yards of total offense.
“He shows up every day and puts in the work,” Sperry said of his starting quarterback. “He definitely carried us tonight.”
The Eagles defensive line led by Alex Whitaker and Malcolm I’aulualo, forced McNabb and the Indians to make poor decisions on offense. Whitaker recorded tackles that resulted in lost yards and one sack for Hood River. Their pressure on McNabb forced his to miss 22 throws and an interception by Joey Frazier late in the fourth quarter. The win moved Hood River into the No. 6 ranking. The Eagles’ next match up is No. 2 Ridgeview (2-0) next week on Friday.