Bucks stop Indians again
PENDLETON — The third time was not the charm.
The Scappoose Indians took on the Pendleton Buckaroos last Friday for the third time in two seasons. The result was the same.
Pendleton made it three of a kind with a 32-14 victory at its home Round-Up Stadium, and Scappoose was left to head home and go back to the drawing board.
"We did some good things, but mistakes hurt us," Indians coach Sean McNabb said.
Scappoose had high hopes for the rematch of a rematch, against one of its new although far-away rivals. Pendleton had beaten the Indians 47-27 during the 2018 regular season — Scappoose's first in Class 5A, up from 4A -- and then the Bucks stopped the Indians 21-14 in a state quarterfinal at Pendleton.
Friday's game started well for the Indians. They marched down the field and scored on a run by senior quarterback Jakobi Kessi.
"We looked really sharp on the opening drive," McNabb said. "Things were looking really good."
Then the Indians seemed to lose their way, while Pendleton played a solid, more complete game worthy of its long tradition as a football hotbed.
The Buckaroos led 7-6 after the first quarter and 18-7 at the half. A third-quarter touchdown boosted the Buckaroos' advantage to 25-7, and each team got a touchdown in the final frame.
Scappoose fell to 3-1 overall this season. Pendleton improved to 3-1.
Based on the result, the Oregon School Activities Association 5A coaches voted Pendleton into the No. 6 ranking this week; Scappoose was just out of the top 10, 11th in votes received. The OSAA computers have Pendleton No. 4 and Scappoose ninth.
McNabb said it was apparent the Indians weren't fully ready for what turned out to be as promised -- their toughest game so far in 2019.
"I didn't do a good job getting us prepared or motivated," he said.
The travel wasn't easy, but …
"You can't use that as an excuse; Pendleton does it all the time, they have to travel over here and to different places," McNabb said. "We just weren't ready to go."
Most disappointing was that the Indians weren't able to give it their best performance, which was needed against a program like Pendleton's.
"Pendleton's probably not as good skill-wise as they were last year — they graduated some really good kids — but both their quarterbacks threw the ball well, one was very elusive and hard for us to tackle, and I feel like they will be right up there with the elite in 5A," McNabb said of the Bucks.
The Buckaroos finished with an edge in rushing, 247 yards to 180.
"We had a hard time moving the ball after that first drive," McNabb said. "Offensively, guys were maybe a little fatigued, and we fumbled and dropped passes. And defensively, we allowed them to sustain drives. We had them in third-and-longs and let them off the hook,
"We knew they were going to try to run the football," Pendleton coach Erik Davis told the East Oregonian, calling it "a huge win for us."
McNabb said he wondered whether the Indians might go into the game feeling a bit too good about themselves, as they were coming off wins by 27 points over Astoria, 12 over Forest Grove and 25 over Hillsboro.
"I was worried about that, but it wasn't like we were playing a middle-of-the-road team. We knew Pendleton was going to be a good opponent," he said. "And they beat us twice last year, so I don't feel it was that as much as not being ready to go."
Still, Scappoose was able to do some things reasonably well, even given the absence of its top runner, senior transfer Josh Rice, who was out with an elbow injury.
Sophomore QB Luke McNabb got the offense going in the fourth quarter with his passing, hitting senior wide receiver Blake Morkert for a touchdown and finishing 14 of 19 for 140 yards.
Senior Drake Kramer caught four passes, and junior Logan Johnson came off the bench to snare two for 31 yards.
Blake Carlascio, a senior, was one of the keys on defense, McNabb said.
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