DUFUR – Make it 4-0 for the Dufur Rangers.
In a dominating performance on Friday evening, the Rangers scored first and never looked back, rolling to a solid win in their league opener against the Perrydale Pirates. The final score was 56-14.
The two teams went back and forth early in the first quarter with neither squad threatening to score.
With 6:02 to go in the quarter, Dufur’s Bailey Keever intercepted a Perrydale pass and Dufur seemed to find its stride.
Less than two minutes after the interception, Keever plowed in for a one-yard touchdown, and Dufur then tacked on the two-point conversion with a pass from Keever to Kolbe Bales to make it 8-0 at the 4:31 mark of the first quarter.
Dufur did not let up from there, as the team followed with two more touchdowns in the second quarter – an Asa Farrell 18-yard run and then a three-yard pass from Keever to Curtis Crawford for a TD – for a 22-0 lead late in the second.
On the final play before halftime, however, Perrydale quarterback Daniel Domes ran for a six-yard score and the Pirates succeeded on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt.
So instead of a shutout at the half, Perrydale was still breathing, and perhaps had a bit of momentum, as they headed into the locker room at halftime with the scoreboard clock reading, 22-8.
At halftime, there was an emotional ceremony to honor former Dufur Ranger football star Spud Simer, 27, who died in a farming accident on July 30.
Simer, who graduated from Dufur High School in 2007, helped lead the Rangers to the 2006 state football championship.
During the break, current members of the team lined up in honor of Simer, and a group of players from the 2006 championship team came onto the field to honor their teammate.
Simer’s jersey, No. 48, was retired and will hang in a place of honor in the high school’s athletic building.
“Spud was a great kid,” said Coach Jack Henderson. “It was a terrible tragedy; it’s tough stuff. Hopefully the retirement of his jersey helps people heal.”
The Rangers came out energized following the special tribute to the former member of their squad, and if Perrydale had life,
Dufur was about to snuff it out swiftly in the third quarter.
When the Rangers took the field for the second half, the team’s quick-strike capabilities were on full display.
On the first play after the third quarter kickoff, running back Hagen Pence took the ball and exploded down the field for a 55-yard TD run.
That made the score 28-8, and the game was never in doubt after that.
The second half was a huge one for Dufur, and it was punctuated by four highlight-reel, strike-from-anywhere rushing plays.
In addition to Pence’s 55-yard scamper in the third quarter, Farrell rushed for a 70-yard TD at 9:47 of the third quarter, and Farrell followed that up with a 64-yard TD less than a minute later, at 9:01 of the third.
And then in the fourth quarter, Pence blasted for a 65-yard score with 5:30 to go in the game.
Pence finished with 145 yards on eight carries, while Farrell tallied 146 yards on five carries in an overwhelming display of rushing prowess.
The team as a whole had a highly productive net of 350 yards for the evening.
“We rushed for a lot of yards. That was our best rushing performance this year,” said Henderson. “It was a total team effort. Farrell and Pence were really impressive.”
In the wake of the fruitful rushing attack, Henderson singled out the offensive line.
“It wouldn’t have happened without those guys up front,” Henderson explained. “I’m proud and pleased with the effort of the offensive line. Our O-line play was critical. The entire line did well.”
Dufur scored 20 points in the third stanza, and another 14 in the fourth.
Perrydale scored just once more.
With 2:11 remaining in the fourth, Domes ran for a 10-yard TD, but the game had long been out of reach.
Henderson said he thought the team started slowly, but was pleased with the overall effort.
“We finally got going in the second half,” Henderson said. “We were a little flat in the first half.”
Henderson pointed out that the offense has been performing at a high level.
“We’ve been scoring a lot of points,” he said. “This was maybe our best win. Perrydale played hard and created problems for us.”
While pleased with the overall effort, Henderson said he was disappointed the team gave up a late score just before the end of the first half.
“I’m not disappointed Perrydale scored – I am disappointed about the breakdowns we had that allowed them to score,” he said. “Our focus was much better in the second half. It was a great win; a great league opener.”
Next up for Dufur will be the No. 14-ranked Sherman Huskies at 7 p.m. Friday night in Moro.
Henderson said Sherman represents a challenging matchup for the Rangers.
“They are very good — certainly a top five team in the state, as we are,” Henderson said. “They beat us by two last year. It’s a great rivalry. It should be a great game.”
In other football news, The Dalles lost by a 44-20 margin to White Salmon.
Check Wednesday’s Chronicle for a full recap.