by Randy Parks
Twelve down, one to go.
The Burns Hilanders advanced to the 2A football championship game by defeating Regis 33-0 at Hermiston High School on Saturday, Nov. 22.
“This is tribute to the players and coaches, all the effort they put out week to week to prepare for every game. You can see the effort in the results,” Burns coach Terry Graham said. “As head coach, I can’t ask for anymore than this. You start the season with the goal of winning a state championship, and 13 weeks later, we’re in that situation. You can’t ask for any more than that.”
Windy conditions held the two teams’ passing attacks in check, but Burns was able to rush for 332 yards, while the defense held Regis to 97 total yards, forced four turnovers, and blocked a punt for a score.
The Hilanders’ Jeff Davies led the running attack against the Rams, rushing for 218 yards on 25 carries with one touchdown. Austin Feist added another 108 yards on 21 carries, and scored three times.
Feist scored the first Hilander touchdown on a 36-yard run with 4:50 left to go in the first quarter, and Davies ran in the two-point conversion to put Burns up 8-0.
Following a Rams’ punt, the Hilanders put together a 15-play, 80-yard drive, finished off by Davies’ 8-yard TD run.
Davies ended the Rams’ next possession by intercepting Aaron Guzman’s pass and returning it to the Regis 16. Feist scored on the next play, and Burns led 20-0.
Feist scored from three yards out with less than a minute to go, and the two teams went into the locker rooms with Burns holding a 26-0 advantage.
The Rams were forced to punt on their first possession of the third quarter, but the Hilander defense got a good rush and blocked the punt into the end zone where it was recovered by Jack Van Tassel. James Obradovich added the extra point for a 33-0 lead.
The Rams then went to the air and moved the ball deep into Hilander territory. With a third-and-goal at the Burns 4, the Hilanders’ held the Rams out of the end zone and preserved the shutout.
Feist intercepted a pass on the Rams’ final drive of the game, and the Hilanders ran out the clock for the victory.
The Hilanders are in the championship game for the first time since 1999, when they lost to Sisters. Graham was also the head coach for Burns in that contest.
“Personally, this [winning the title] is something I’d like to do for the community,” Graham said. “All the support from parents and the community over the years has been great. I’d like to show our appreciation by being like the volleyball team and winning the state championship.”
Burns, 12-0, will play the Heppner Mustangs in the title game at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, at Hermiston High School.
The Mustangs moved into the championship game by beating Knappa 25-16, and are also 12-0 on the season.
“They’re a good football team,” Graham said. “You don’t get to be 12-0 without doing a lot of things right. We just need to play the game that we’re capable of playing.”
Reg 0 0 0 0 0
Bur 8 18 7 0 33
Bur — Austin Feist 36 run (Jeff Davies run) 7:10
Bur —Davies 8 run (pass fail) 2:39
Bur — Feist 16 run (pass fail) 4:20
Bur — Feist 3 run (pass fail) 11:10
Bur — Jack Van Tassel recovered blocked punt (James Obradovich kick) 1:42
Rushing — Burns, J. Davies 25-218, Feist 21-108, Recanzone 1-8, Blackburn 1-3, Van Tassel 1-(-5). Regis, Reynolds 16-13, Guzman 9-3, Minten 2-(-5), Scrocca 3-5, Gustin 2-3, Silbernagel 1-(-1), Frith 2-(-1).
Passing — Burns, Feist 1-9-2 15. Regis, Guzman 9-25-3 80, A. Wiltsey 0-1-0 0.
Receiving — Burns, Recanzone 1-15. Regis, Frith 3-38, Reynolds 1-0, M. Wiltsey 5-42.