In the final game of their 95-year rivalry with the Pendeton Buckeroos on Friday, the Hermiston Bulldogs said goodbye in style with a 42-15 win at the Round-Up grounds.
The final regular game of the season means the end of the longtime cross-county rivalry as the Bulldogs will move to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association next fall. The move was made to decrease the travel time Hermiston faces as its student population continues to grow. Hermiston was facing having to move up in classification, which would have meant playing teams in the Portland area. Next season, Hermiston will be playing primarily teams in the Tri-Cities area.
But that is for later. For now, Hermiston fans can celebrate Friday’s win over their Pendleton rivals.
The Bulldogs got off to another quick start when quarterback Andrew James connected with Dayshawn Neal on a 19-yard touchdown pass. Hermiston closed the first quarter with a long touchdown run by James to put Hermiston up 14-0.
A pair of scores and a 2-point conversion momentarily put Pendleton up 15-14, but it was all Hermiston in the second half. James led the way, rushing for 191 yards on just 14 carries and two touchdowns, including the 77-yard score in the first half. Hermiston totaled 363 yards on the ground Friday night.
James didn’t need to air it out much Friday, throwing just 8 passes and connecting on 4 for 142 yards.
With the win, Hermiston finished the regular season with an overall 7-2 record and 6-1 in league play. Their next game will be a playoff game, but who they will play has yet to be determined. Pendleton finishes the year with a 5-4 record and 4-3 in league play.