The Pasco Bulldogs overcame a fast start by their counterparts from Hermiston Friday night to score a comeback victory, 27-20, at Edgar Brown Stadium.
Hermiston not only suffered the opening-night loss, but also saw their starting quarterback, Chase Elliott, leave the game early with an injury.
Hermiston took control of the game early by forcing Pasco to punt on their first possession, then converting a short field into a score when Garrett Walchli caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Elliott five minutes into the game.
After the defense forced a three-and-out from Pasco, Hermiston drove 66 yards and scored on a 1-yard run by senior running back Guiomar Garay. That score was set up by a 55-yard completion from Elliott to Walchli that put the ball on the 4 just prior to Garay’s touchdown.
After forcing another three-and-out by Pasco, things turned for the worse for Hermiston when Elliott was injured after being hit low while releasing the ball which ended up being intercepted.
Hermiston’s defense continued to stifle Pasco’s offense for much of the first half, forcing Pasco to punt the ball away. Junior Robert Sloan replaced the injured Elliott at quarterback, but was unable to get any momentum.
Pasco got on the board midway through the second quarter when a screen pass from Sloan was picked off and returned 44 yards for a touchdown, cutting Hermiston’s lead to 14-7.
Late in the first half, Pasco pulled to within 1 when Armani Reyes connected with Des Licon on a 56-yard touchdown pass.
On their first drive of the third quarter, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 20-13 after a long pass from Sloan to Walchli set up an 11-yard touchdown run by Daniel Faaeteete.
Pasco tied the game up early in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by Reyes and took the lead on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 4:20 left in the game.
Hermiston then took over on their own 28 yard line and drove the ball down to the Pasco 32 yard line before an interception ended the drive.
Pasco’s victory Friday night equals their entire win total from a year ago. They will take on Eastmont on the road next week. Hermiston will be home at Kennison Field next Friday when they face the Richland Bombers.