HERMISTON — An addition to the schedule means the Hermiston Bulldogs’ regular season won’t end with a loss to Pendleton last Friday, but rather on their home Kennison Field against a team from Yakima, Wash. Hermiston (5-3, 2-1 CRC) will square off with the Davis Pirates Friday at 7 p.m. in a game that wasn’t cemented on either teams’ schedule until just a few weeks ago.
But the contest didn’t appear out of thin air, said Mike Kay, athletic director for Hermiston. The game was two years in the making.
“It was always one that we’d scheduled,” Kay said. “It’s actually a continuation of an agreement that we made last year, two games with Davis.”
The first game in Yakima never happened because of a stack of injuries for the Bulldogs toward the end of the 2010 season. Hermiston and Davis cancelled their non-conference varsity matchup to avoid further injuries. The junior varsity clubs still competed, Kay said.
“It’s a late season game so the debate you have is, ‘Are we better to take a week off and rest our kids or keep them in a routine by playing the game?’” Kay said. “We both thought it was better to keep the kids in a routine (for the postseason).”
Hermiston will be looking to supplant the memory of its most recent game — a 26-12 loss to Pendleton — and get moving in a positive direction before playoffs start. Winners of three in a row prior to the Buckaroo setback, the Bulldogs hope to start a new winning streak and will need running back Bobby Adams to take them there. He’ll be the workhorse with starting quarterback Alex Campbell out with a concussion. Junior Jerod Munsterman will be taking snaps for the Bulldogs.
Adams had held the top spot in the state for rushing yards before an 80-yard performance against Pendleton dropped him a few notches.
“You’ve got to set the tone for how you want to go in (to the playoffs),” Hermiston coach Mark Hodges said. “I think it’s important for us to get our identity back. I think we played a slow, slow brand of football (against Pendleton), not the striking hard brand of football we’ve played in the past.”
Davis (5-3, 3-3 BNC) is reeling after three straight losses. The Pirates kicked off their season with a blur of victories and were sitting pretty with a 5-0 record before October.
The wins haven’t come as easily since, though, largely because of the competition the Pirates have faced. Davis, the fourth-place team in Washington’s Big Nine Conference, lost games to each of the three teams above it in the standings. But Hodges is more focused on the talent the Pirates have, a team makeup capable of just one loss on the year, he said.