Wallowa County Chieftain
The upshot of Friday’s loss by the Wallowa Cougar football squad to Crane is a 464-mile trip to play in the first round of the state tournament in Elkton.
The loss was only Wallowa’s second for the season, 38-46.
The Cougars stuck close to Crane but were tripped up by turnovers and fumbles, according to Coach Matt Brockamp.
Wallowa lost possession three times on fumbles and were socked with eight penalties. Crane was fumble-free and had four penalties.
“We left two or three touchdowns on the field,” Brockamp added.
The game was tied at 38 with under four minutes remaining on the clock, enough time for Crane to drive the final yards for the game-winning touchdown.
Wallowa outpaced Crane on the ground with 349 yards (271 for Crane) rushing and 183 yards (97 for Crane) passing.
Crane scored an unanswered touchdown in the first quarter, but Wallowa pushed the ball over the goal line three times in the second quarter.
Patrick Ritthaler caught a 67-yard pass from quarterback Gus Ramsden and a second pass for 58 yards in a rare display of passing prowess.
Ramsden completed six of 10 attempts for 183 yards passing for the night. Ritthaler led the stats with 123 yards receiving, followed by Joe Robb, Ethan Burns and Austin Brockamp.
Brockamp picked up 135 yards rushing in the game, Ramsden added 74 and Ritthaler 58.
Defensively, Ramsden and Burns led with five tackles apiece and 12 and 13 assists, respectively.
Coach Brockamp said he doesn’t know a great deal about Elkton, which is 7-1 for the season.
Like Wallowa, Elkton has made mostly lopsided victories, including a 62-0 and 60-0 skunking of Prospect Charter and Chiloquin, respectively.
Elkton’s roster lists six players weighing more than 200 pounds and one at 350 pounds.
Elkton is located west of I-5 south of Eugene.
Brockamp said it was a good feeling to be back in the hunt for a state title after injuries kept Wallowa out of the running. This is the third year of four in post-season play since Brockamp has been coaching the Cougars.
A Wallowa victory Saturday at 1 p.m. would qualify the team for quarter-final play with two more games to reach the top. A loss would end the season.
Brockamp said his team has played hard all year and is ready to face the teams ahead.