La Grande racked up 499 yards of offense on 39 plays and scored on its first 10 possessions to defeat The Dalles by a 68-0 margin Saturday in 4A OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union football action in Hermiston.
Of those 10 scoring drives, the undefeated Tigers had four drives of four plays or less and added a punt return and an interception for a score.
“I am usually a guy who says that our team wasn’t there and this and that, but I am just going to be straight up – these guys (La Grande) are a bunch of dogs,” TD senior Dalles Seufalemua said. “They are a bunch of athletes and they are going to win state this year. That’s a good team and they obviously showed it tonight.”
The Tigers entered play running the ball 84 percent of the time during the playoffs and stuck to their bread and butter Saturday with 32 rushes for 365 yards, led by Nathan Reed, who totaled 185 yards on 13 carries and three touchdowns (1, 29, 62).
La Grande quarterback Parker Robinson completed 4 of 7 passes for 134 yards and scoring tosses to Blaine Shaw, Payton Cooper and Reed, and he rushed for 94 yards and a score.
Robinson capped the first half scoring on a 56-yard rush, which gave La Grande a 39-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, Reed had his 62-yard jaunt, Shaw followed with a 57-yard punt return, Josh Zollman returned an interception 17 yards to the end zone, and then Brody MacMillan hit paydirt on a 61-yard scamper in the fourth quarter.
“I am always going to be happy that we made it this far, but I am disappointed that we couldn’t make it further than this round,” said TD senior Michael Armstrong. “I am never going to hold any of these guys down because we didn’t make it. We all win as a team and we lose as a team. It’s on all of us.”
The Dalles hit for 277 yards of offense and moved the ball into la Grande territory on five occasions, three in the first half, getting the ball to the 36, 19, 36, 34 and 44, and had 207 yards on those possessions.
TD running back Denver Neill had 132 yards rushing on 13 totes to lead an offense that ended up with 175 yards on 29 rushes.
TD senior quarterback Gabe Helseth rattled off 102 yards on 11 of 20 completions, and his top target was Okean Green, who hauled in six catches for 54 yards.
Jesse Larson posted two catches for 24 yards and Zac Anderson was held to one catch for 15 yards.
Jaxon Pullen also netted 89 yards on kickoff returns.
“They exploited things that we didn’t think they would exploit,” Seufalemua said. “They had a killer defense, that stopped us from running inside and outside, and they held down our pass game. Their defense was lock down. They were just a solid team all-around. Truthfully, there was nothing that we could have done, in my opinion.”
Defensively for TD, Dusty Dodge led with five tackles, Anderson made four and both Hayden Pashek and Kade Wilson had three tackles each.
Seufalemua blocked two extra points and had two tackles, Steven Preston blocked a kick and notched a pair of tackles, and both Ben Nelson and Jesse King tallied two tackles apiece.
“We just couldn’t get the stops when we needed them,” Green said. “Their line opened up some holes and they were able to move the ball against us.”
La Grande (11-0 overall) plays against defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Banks (11-0) at 6 p.m. Saturday in Hermiston.
The Braves are currently riding a 22-game winning streak, and have defeated Marshfield (28-22), Baker (34-14) and Marist (56-31), while La Grande has dropped Estacada (49-16), Gladstone (14-0) and The Dalles (68-0).
“This team (La Grande) that we just played is a quality ball club,” TD senior Michael Armstrong said. “I think that they are probably going to win state, 100 percent.”