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Scappoose Indians get set for another battle with potent Pendleton Buckaroos

COURTESY PHOTO: JOHN BREWINGTON - Connor Maclachlan hit the hole quickly and was off to the races, leaving Hillsboro defenders in pursuit on a touchdown run that helped turn the tide Scappoose;s way at home last week.It's only been one year, but Scappoose and Pendleton are like old football rivals already.

The teams met twice last season — Scappoose's first year in Class 5A — and they'll square off again at 7 p.m. Friday in Round-Up Stadium in Pendleton.

"We are extremely excited about Pendleton," Scappoose quarterback Jakobi Kessi said. "We have a little unfinished business with them.

Pendleton has beaten plenty of teams over the years — the Buckaroos have a storied football tradition that goes back decades and decades.

Last year, the Buckaroos rallied at Scappoose for a regular-season win 47-27, and then held off the Indians 21-14 at Round-Up Stadium on a chilly November night in the state quarterfinals.

"They came here and stomped on us. We went there and lost a tough playoff game," Kessi said. "They're a great-coached team with a lot of great athletes. We're looking forward to giving it to them a bit, hopefully. We're excited for a great matchup. Hopefully it will be a good one."

Both teams have looked good so far this season.

Scappoose is 3-0, Pendleton a deceiving 2-1. The Bucks lost 36-14 at La Grande on Sept. 6, then won 49-38 at Hood River Valley and 62-21 last week at home against Putnam, leading 41-7 at the half. They can still play a little.

"They're going to be a tough opponent," Scappoose coach Sean McNabb said. "They graduated some stud-ly kids, five or six who went on to play college football. But it's a big school with a lot of tough kids, and they had a good freshman-sophomore team last year.

"We've got to fix some things and clean some things up. We can't shoot ourselves in the foot."

Scappoose is seventh in this week's 5A coaches poll. Pendleton is 10th.

The Indians found themselves down 14-0 after one quarter last week at home against Hillsboro before coming on strong to win 47-30.

"We've got to play better," McNabb said. "We can't have penalties and turnovers. It's going to hurt us in a good game."

But, the defense "had some great stops when we needed it, was pretty relentless and played physical, and Jakobi showed what a great competitor he is, and we had a lot of guys in the mix making plays — with our No. 2s, we don't fall off at a lot of position."

Pendleton has showed the ability to run for big numbers and make big plays in the air as well. Junior Zaana Bane, 6-1 and 185 pounds, ran for 124 yards against Putnam, ripping off carries of 46 and 47 yards. The Buckaroos piled up 310 yards on the ground and held the Kingsmen to 138.

Pendleton has been using two senior quarterbacks, Cooper Roberts (6-3, 195) and Tanner Sweek (6-4, 195).

The trip to Pendleton isn't short, but McNabb said he doesn't see it as a problem.

"It's only four hours, not terrible length. We'll stop along the way," he said. "It's all a mental thing. We're going to be ready to go."

The Indians said they enjoy the big-stadium, big-show-in-town atmosphere that goes with a Friday night of high school football in the Eastern Oregon city.

"I would love to see that stadium filled up, because it's awesome," Scappoose senior lineman Tommy McKedy said. "I'd love to spend the night there, because I love Pendleton. It should be a fun game."

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