The Hermiston Bulldogs wasted little time Friday night in asserting their dominance over the Blue Devils. The Bulldogs recovered a fumble on Walla Walla’s first possession and quickly converted it into a touchdown and frankly, never looked back in a 42-7 road win.
The Bulldogs, coming off a tough 26-25 loss last week to Kennewick at home, bounced back big against the Blue Devils. Wyatt Noland got the scoring off with a 48-yard touchdown run with 8:50 in the first quarter. The Bulldogs converted a 2-point conversion when a high snap forced kicker Juan Carlos Navarette to recover the ball, look into the end zone and find a wide open Ryan Arnold to give Hermiston an early 8-0 lead.
On their next possession, the Bulldogs scored on another rushing touchdown by Noland, this time on a 5-yard run that was set up by a 41-yard pass from Andrew James to Jordan Ramirez that came on a third-and-25 situation.
Walla Walla cut the lead to 15-7 early in the second quarter on a long pass from Ryan Martuscelli to Jared McAlvey. That would be the only time the Blue Devils scored on the night.
Hermiston took a 22-7 lead into halftime thanks to yet another rushing touchdown by Noland, who ate up huge yardage on the drive, including a 35-yard run and a 16-yard run that helped set up his 3-yard scoring run.
The Bulldogs extended the lead to 29-7 on a touchdown pass from James to – you guessed it – Noland early in the fourth quarter.
After forcing a Walla Walla punt, Hermiston quickly moved the ball downfield, much of it coming on a 30-yard pass from James to Trent Pittney that led to the fourth rushing touchdown of the night for Noland – this time on a 2-yard burst to give Hermiston a 36-7 lead in the fourth quarter.
James capped off the night’s scoring on a 15-yard touchdown run with just under 3 minutes left in the game.
Noland finished his huge night with 180 yards on the ground, 4 rushing touchdowns and a touchdown reception. James was 10-21 through the air for 185 yards. He also rushed for 61 yards. Youbani Razon led all Hermiston receivers with 3 catches for 49 yards. Cody Wizner had 2 sacks Friday night and Ramirez and Guiomar Garay each had an interception for Hermiston.
The win improves the Bulldogs to 3-1 on the year, while Walla Walla falls to 1-3. Hermiston will be home next week for a matchup against Southridge, who is 0-4 on the season and have been outscored by their opponents, 165-6.