Somehow, Cotton Eyed Joe blaring over the stadium speakers loses its jovial effect when the home team is down three touchdowns.
And the Southridge football team was in no mood to dance Thursday night, certainly not on the heels of a 42-13, mistake-riddled loss to the Hermiston Bulldogs at Lampson Stadium.
The Suns fumbled the ball five times, losing four of them, and also threw a pick-six interception. Add to that 95 yards in penalties plus a botched punt that practically handed Hermiston its first score, and this is one game Southridge fans will wish to soon forget.
“We just got the breaks, and all those mistakes, we capitalized,” said Hermiston junior Ramon Contreras, who kicked six extra points, two of them after his own defensive scores.
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Contreras’ 57-yard interception return with 2:25 left in the third quarter put the Bulldogs up 28-7. Though Southridge QB Conner Grigg will take the hit, the pick came because he was taking big hits.
One play after getting laid out by 210-pound defensive lineman Colby Alexander, Grigg was ducking away from a pair of pass rushers as he released the throw.
Contreras was the only player in the area, hauling in the ball just past midfield and then finding a wall of blockers for the big return.
It was the second big play for the Bulldogs (3-2) in 2 minutes, coming on the heels of Chase Knutz’s 27-yard TD toss to Alejandro Ortiz-Chavez on fourth-and-10.
To that point, the Southridge defense was playing well enough to make up for many of those mistakes.
The Suns sacked Knutz four times and had four more tackles for loss. The Bulldogs’ only sustained drive came in front of Ortiz-Chavez’s TD grab — 85 yards on 13 plays.
“We knew they would be a tough, hard-nosed team,” Contreras said. “But they made mistakes and we capitalized.”
Contreras closed the Bulldogs’ scoring with a 28-yard fumble return midway through the fourth.
Knutz had an efficient night for Hermiston, clicking on 17 of 22 throws for 191 yards. Eight of his passes went to Ortiz-Chavez for 73 yards, and Jerod Munsterman had 74 yards on just three catches, hauling in key 25- and 32-yard throws in the first half.
Trenten Anteau had 99 yards on 19 carries, and the Bulldogs racked up 170 yards on the ground (not counting 25 yards in losses to sacks) against a Southridge defense giving up fewer than 100 yards rushing a game.
Kadin Diaz ran for 73 tough yards and a touchdown for the Suns (4-2), playing in their only non-counting game of the season.
Hermiston 14 0 14 14 — 42Southridge 0 7 0 6 — 13
H—Trenten Anteau 4 run (Ramon Contreras kick)
H—Cory Adams 1 run (Contreras kick)
S—Kadin Diaz 2 run (Conner Mertens kick)
H—Alejandro Ortiz-Chavez 27 pass from Chase Knutz (Contreras kick)
H—Contreras 57 interception return (Contreras kick)
H—Anteau 5 run (Contreras kick)
H—Contreras 28 fumble return (Contreras kick)
S—Masceo Ealy-Thomas 1 run (kick fail)
RUSHING—H, Anteau 19-99, Adams 7-60, Alex Campbell 1-8, Knutz 7-(minus 22). S, Diaz 18-73, Ealy-Thomas 12-69, Andrew Collins 4-27, Conner Grigg 3-10, Joe Tucker 5-13, Brenden Kelly 1-5, Christian Candanoza 1-(minus 7).
PASSING—H, Knutz 17-22-0—191. S, Grigg 7-18-1—35, Tucker 0-2-0—0.
RECEIVING—H, Ortiz-Chavez 8-73, Jerod Munsterman 3-74, Anteau 2-19, Campbell 2-6, Thomas Hamblin 1-7, David Barnett 1-12. S, Kelly 5-31, Clay Gonzales 1-(minus 3), David Mazzei 1-7.
FIRST DOWNS—H 17, S 13. FUMBLES-LOST—H 4-3, S 5-4. PENALTIES-YARDS—H 8-55, S 10-95.