It was a miserable night in Clatskanie.
It was cold, the rain came in spurts and was heavy when it arrived, and the La Grande Tigers are really good. So good that the game no longer was worth dealing with the weather to watch, by the middle of the 3rd quarter.
They rushed for 295 yards as a team and shut out Clatskanie 43-0, showing no ill effects from their five-hour bus ride. “That’s a good football team,” Clatskanie coach Tim Warren said. “Good at every position. Big and physical upfront, and their skills kids are great.” Entering the night, Warren knew La Grande would be a difficult matchup. They have weapons everywhere, and they used them well. Running back Nathan Reed rushed for 153 yards on eight carries with two touchdowns, scoring on runs of 53 and 80 yards. Quarterback Parker Robinson rushed for 103 yards and a score, a 56-yarder, and threw for three touchdowns on 4-of-8 passing for 144 yards. None of La Grande’s scores were shorter than 23 yards, suggesting the explosive nature of its offense.
Meanwhile, the Clatskanie (2-2) offense was full of stops and starts, turnovers and short drives. While La Grande (4-0) was racking up the first-half yardage, Clatskanie had just 29 first-half yards of offense. Cedrix Moses had 11 yards on the ground, James Helmen had -1. Helmen also had just 24 yards through the air and a pick. La Grande was overpowering at the line of scrimmage, a point of emphasis Warren had entering the ballgame. Ultimately, though, La Grande’s size was too great, and its speed made it overwhelming.
Even though the score suggests a blowout from start to finish, it only started to get bad in the second half after Reed’s back-breaking 80-yard jaunt. Clatskanie looked to make a game of it coming out of the break, as Keegan Holsey provided a spark to start the third quarter, coming up with a nice tackle on the half-opening kickoff. Several plays later, Jack Boothe picked off Robinson, and sprinted over to bang on the turnover jug to the sideline’s and crowd’s rousing approval. Clatskanie had energy and trailed just 21-0. Things were looking up.“You always gotta come in the second half a better you,” Cedrix Moses said. “You can’t come out in the first half with what we had, and we had to trust each other and have confidence and play as brothers.” Moses did his best to carry the offense after that. He made athletic and decisive cuts, running for 7 then 12 yards, getting Clatskanie to the La Grande 12. But that was the closest to scoring Clatskanie came all night.
In the rain and moist grass, Helmen put the ball on the turf, and La Grande fell on it, ending Clatskanie’s most promising drive and swinging momentum back to the other side. Just five plays later, Robinson hit Blaine Shaw for a 35-yard score on a go route — the second time the two connected on the same play — and the wind was appreciably removed from Clatskanie’s sails. La Grande added two more scores — Robinson’s 56-yarder and Reed’s 80-yarder — while the Clatskanie offense still sputtered. Moses finished with 98 yards on 13 carries, providing the only bright spot for Clatskanie.“It was just pound the ball, pound the ball and get a touchdown for my team,” Moses said. “My linemen, there were good blocks, there were holes there. We just gotta play our game.”
Clatskanie was a pre season favorite at the 3A level, and is the real deal despite being 2-2 (lost to 2A Heppner in week 1).
La Grande is just that much better.