TDW trying to knock off Bucks
With a handful of big weapons on the shelf to injuries, No. 16 The Dalles Wahtonka head coach Steve Sugg will look to lead his football team to a big league road win against No. 15 Pendleton this Friday.
The makeshift offensive line is making its return, but instead of Blake Diede running, Damion Morris, Billy Brace and Payton Eaton will get expanded roles versus a Pendleton defense that has allowed 28 or more points in three of its last four games.
Last week, this defense gave up 28 points in a 48-28 win over Hood River.
“They each bring different skills to the table, so I think it will be interesting to see what they can do,” said Steve Sugg of his trio. “We will need them to step up if we are going to be successful.”
The Buckaroos (6-1 overall, 1-0 league) play an aggressive blitzing style of defense with man-to-man formations in the secondary.
Coming off last week’s 36-21 victory over Jefferson, Sugg wants to see the same level of performance that opened some holes for 456 yards of offense, 205 coming from the arm of senior quarterback Chaise Shroll.
“I think it has the makings of being a shootout,” Sugg said. “Offensively, it will come to execution and taking care of the football, because their team can score points. I have a feeling it might come down to who has the ball last.”
In looking at the Buckaroo slate, they are 3-0 against 4A schools, Ontario, Marshfield and Baker City, and they are 3-0 versus 5A programs that have a combined 1-19 record (Bend (27-21), Milwaukie (62-6) and Hood River (48-28).
The Bucks’ lone loss came on Oct. 4 against No. 8-ranked Mountain View (5-2 record), 50-27.
Pendleton passes the ball a little more than its runs, a 58-42 split, and are led by Chad McCoy and speedy receiver Isaiah Polhamus.
McCoy has completed 69 percent of his passes for 1,963 yards and 20 scores to go with seven picks.
Polhamus has 32 grabs, 469 yards and five tallies.
“Their offense is pretty hard to stop, so we have to limit the big plays,” Sugg said. “We need to force them to put 10-12 play drives together. They run the spread, kind of a pistol offense. Everything is predicated on big plays.”
Regardless of those numbers, TDW (4-3, 0-1) has playmakers in the secondary, and on more than one occasion, defensive coordinator Rich Belanger has devised some second-half adjustment to stop opposing offenses.
Last week, Jefferson had five second-half possessions, and managed two punts and two loss of downs drives. They had 13 rushes for 22 yards, went 0 for 4 on third downs and six of their 17 plays were for negative yardage.
“Defensively, our kids have gone against our offense all season, so it will not be anything that they have not seen before,” Sugg said. “It will come down to who wants it more. If our kids are hungry and have some fight in them, they should be able to take care of business.”
KODL 1440 AM broadcasts at 7 p.m. Friday.