by Randy Parks
Burns never trailed in their 25-22 non-conference win over La Grande on Friday, Sept. 27, but they never had enough of a lead to make the hometown crowd comfortable either.
The Hilanders struck quickly in the game, getting a 45-yard touchdown pass from Austin Feist to Trace Tiller on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead.
After the teams traded punts, Burns got the ball back by recovering a fumble at their own 27.
The offense moved the ball into Tigers’ territory, and on fourth-and-inches, Seth Nonnenmacher broke free for a 48-yard touchdown run. The extra point kick was off the mark, and the Hilanders led 13-0 with 11:24 left in the first half.
La Grande started their next drive at their own 33, and put together a seven-play scoring drive, capped off by a 3-yard run by Jared Rogers. The point after touchdown (PAT) kick was good, and the Tigers were back to within six.
With less than a minute to go in the half, Burns forced La Grande to punt, and took over at their own 38. On first down, the Hilanders perfectly executed a hook-and-ladder play, resulting in a 38-yard gain. Feist threw to Tiller for a 12-yard gain, and Feist finished off the drive with a 12-yard run with 16 seconds left in the half.
The Tigers weren’t going to the locker room quietly, however. With the ball at their own 38, Brandon Dall threw to Alec Cranford for a 36-yard gain down the sideline. Figuring if it worked once, it would work again, Dall again launched the ball for Cranford, who made the catch and crossed the goal line, as the half time horn sounded. The PAT was good, and Burns led 19-14 at half.
La Grande had a chance to take the lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Burns defense stopped them on downs at the 3-yard line.
The Hilanders next drive ended inside the La Grande 10-yard line with a lost fumble.
With just over five minutes to go, La Grande turned the ball over on downs at their own 35.
The Hilanders capitalized on the good field position, getting a 7-yard scoring run from Feist to finish off a four-play drive. The PAT kick was no good, and Burns led 25-14 with 3:17 to play.
Starting at their own 43 after the ensuing kickoff, the Tigers wasted little time getting back in the end zone.Two passes, a run and a penalty against Burns put the ball at the Hilander 9. Dall then connected with Brandon Cederholm for the touchdown, and the pair hooked up for the two-point conversion, bringing the Tigers to within three with 2:17 left on the clock.
Burns recovered the onside kick attempt at their own 42, and then began to go to work on running out the clock. On third-and-two, Nonnenmacher ripped off a 24-yard run for the first down.
La Grande had no time outs left, and the Hilanders finished the game on two kneel-downs by Feist.
The win put Burns above .500 for the first time this season at 3-2, while La Grande dropped to 0-4.
Burns rushed for 411 yards, led by Nonnenmacher with 184 on 20 carries, and Feist with 129 yards on 21 attempts.
The Hilanders travel to Ontario on Friday, Oct. 4, to take on the Tigers, who are 0-4 on the season.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. MT.
1 2 3 4 Final
0 14 0 8 22 LaG
7 12 0 6 25 Bur
Burns — Trace Tiller 45 pass from Austin Feist (Feist kick) 2:51
Burns — Seth Nonnenmacher 48 run (kick failed) :36
La Grande — Jerad Rogers 3 run (Alec Cranford kick) 3:18
Burns — Feist 12 run (kick failed) 11:44
La Grande — A. Cranford 26 pass from Brandon Dall (A. Cranford kick) :00
Burns — Feist 7 run (kick failed) 8:43
La Grande — Brandon Cederholm 9 pass from Dall (Cederholm pass from Dall) 9:28
RUSHING—La Grande, Rogers 15-27, Wicklander 1-7, Dall 10-(-19), Huntsman 1-16, Cederholm 2-(-4), A. Cranford 3-57, I. Cranford 2-11, Jimenez 3-21. Burns, Feist 21-129, Nonnenmacher 20-184, Blackburn 8-76, Cain 3-22.
PASSING—La Grande, Dall 11-18-0 228. Burns, Feist 5-7-0 107.
RECEIVING—La Grande, A. Cranford 6-156, Huntsman 3-48, Rogers 1-15, Cederholm 1-9. Burns, Tiller 2-57, Houck 1-3, Hueckman 2-16.