St. Paul made a statement in its first game back in the 1A classification, routing Wallowa 54-20 at home Friday night at the St. Paul Rodeo Grounds.
The Bucks jumped out to an early 8-0 lead after scoring on its opening possession, but the Cougars, who went 9-3 and advanced to the 1A quarterfinals in 2017, intercepted a T.J. Crawford pass to stamp out St. Paul’s second possession.
Wallowa was turned away on downs on its first possession and drove deep into Bucks territory on its second, but the St. Paul defense stuffed a sweep on fourth down and 1 from its own 19-yard line to end the threat.
“We have some things to work on for sure,” Coach Matt Brockamp said. “Against a quality football team like St. Paul that became evident. We’ll go home and make a few tweaks and get ready for next week.”
It wasn’t until late in the third that Wallowa (0-1) struck offensively, as quarterback Gus Ramsden broke free on a scramble and rumbled 64 yards for a touchdown to make it 46-6. St. Paul answered with a touchdown run by reserve running back Jaden Thompson in the fourth quarter before the Cougars added two fourth-quarter TDs. The score was 38-0 at halftime.
The Bucks (1-0) are a hungry team after being ranked No. 1 in 2A for pretty much the entire 2017 season before being upset by No. 5 Santiam in the state semifinals, but were also sharp in their first 8-man game in four years.
Brockamp was philosophical.
“We did some good things, we had some success doing some things,” he said. “You can’t win a state championship on Aug. 31. The goal is still the same as it was earlier today and that’s to be 1-0 this week.
“Our kids played hard and kept fighting,” Brockamp added. “That’s good to see. Everybody got to play and everybody played hard.”
Gus Ramsden led the team in all statistical measurements. He amassed 102 yards rushing, his brother Zeb Ramdsen also added 53 yards rushing and Austin Brockamp had 36 yards. Brockamp caught three passes for 39 yards and Zeb caught a 36-yarder.
Gus led the defense with six tackles, followed by Zane Hermens with three, Brockamp and Kolby Moore with two. Zeb and Tristin Bales had one each.
Overall the Cougars ran 49 plays for 273 yards to St. Paul’s 56 plays and 483 yards. There were only two turnovers it the game and one penalty.
Wallowa will host Powder Valley at home 7 p.m. Friday night.
Seth Gordon is the sports, schools and religion writer for the Newberg Graphic in Newberg, Ore.