Bulldogs break losing streak, beat Gervais
By JEROD YOUNG
Of the News-Register
WILLAMINA — Rain, wind and fire all played a role Friday night in Willamina’s 26-8 win vs. Gervais.
The Bulldogs ended a two-week losing streak Friday to finish the regular season on a winning note. The fire was in honor of the 20 seniors that played their final home game. A fire burned through the rain next to the football field in Willamina, but it also burned inside the Bulldogs (6-3, 4-2).
The winless Cougars (0-10, 0-6) were unable to stop the Bulldog run game and gave up 243 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns, led by senior Tyson Jahn’s 83 yards and two touchdowns. Gervais surrendered 334 yards of total offense.
“We did a much better job this week,” Willamina coach Tim France said. “We were able to get back to a consistent run game and we played well.”
Despite the pesky weather and an enormous bonfire burning 10 feet away from the field, it didn’t take the Bulldog offense long to expose the Gervais defense. In fact, it took Willamina 2 minutes, 33 seconds to get into the end zone.
Edwin Villalobos took a handoff from quarterback Trevor Hunt and sprinted 19 yards for the score. For the fans, the early score was exciting, but for the Bulldogs the score was more of a relief.
“We’ve been struggling with the offense a little lately,” Willamina quarterback Trevor Hunt said. “We were glad to that off our backs early.”
In all, the Bulldogs had a complete offensive turnaround with the five scores. Senior Nolan Smith followed Villalobos with a nine yard touchdown run at the 3:10 mark of the first for the 13-0. Hunt made the score 20-0 after keeping the ball and rushing for the 15-yard score with three minutes remaining in the half.
Exactly two minutes later Jahn scored his first of two touchdowns of the night to give Willamina the 28-0 lead at the half en route to the win.
“We had great execution tonight,” France said. “It was just about making good plays and executing.”
Execution in the red zone killed the Bulldogs the two previous weeks including four red zone turnovers last week against Dayton in a 21-12 loss. This week vs. the Cougars, Willamina had five red zone opportunities and all five resulted in touchdowns.
France credits the red zone success to fine tuning during the week of practice. “We did really well,” France said. “We were able to rotate guys and everybody played hard.”
The defense held its own too. The Bulldogs held the Cougars to 22 total yards in the first half. Gervais came back to gain 102 yards of second half offense led by tailback Anthony Diaz’s 60 rushing yards.
“After losing two games, we were ready to go,” linebacker Brad Bornheimer said. “We felt good and wanted to help the offense.”
Gervais’ touchdown was a 10-yard pass from Nikita Kalugin to receiver Tony Leiva with 5:01 left in the third quarter.
Willamina now waits to find out who it will play in the playoffs.
“Now we wait,” France said. “It’s exciting and the guys have worked hard and deserve playoff football.”
Horizon Christian 40, Sheridan 26
The Sheridan football team lost 40-26 Friday night on Senior Night.
Sheridan rushed for 205 yards, led by Joey Hertels 125 yards and two touchdowns. Kyle Edwards rushed for 49 yards and one touchdown.
Matt Bushbaum passed for 110 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions. Hertel also caught two passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Horizon Christian led 21-0 after the first quarter and Sheridan came back with two touchdowns in the second quarter. The Hawks scored 13 points to Sheridan's six in the third, and both teams scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter.