The Wallowa High School Cougars’ gridders came out tough but lost a 40-6 non-league decision to St. Paul, one of the highest ranked teams in the state. Coach Matt Brockamp said the squad showed heart and the score didn’t show how tough the Cougars played.

Brockamp said the squad started shaky, allowing St. Paul to score on their opening two possessions along with a pick-6 off of quarterback, Lute Ramsden, just before the half, leaving the Cougars at the bottom end of a 32-0 score. St. Paul only scored once in the second half, to show how well the Cougars’ defense dug in during the second half.

The brothers Ramsden, Lute and Zeb, put in fine performances, particularly Lute, as a starting freshman quarterback. Lute threw several interceptions, but was 21 of 40 in passing, for 226 yards. Zeb did his part, catching passes for 116 yards while rushing for 69 yards on 10 touches. Tristin Bales had five receptions as well.

Coach Matt Brockamp lauded Lute’s performance, particularly for his play when the chips were down.

“He took it pretty well — mentally, he’s pretty tough,” Brockamp said. “He kept playing hard and threw over a 50 percent completion rate and one touchdown.”

Brockamp said that St. Paul really wasn’t able to dominate the Cougars physically. He also noted defensive play as a high point and said that offensive stats were fairly close. He did say one of the things that cost the Cougars dearly were penalties — 18 of them in fact, something Brockamp said the team would work on.

Defense also saw Zeb leading the team with 12 tackles while Mason Moore had seven takedowns and Ryder Goller put in an exceptional effort with six tackles, including two sacks. Brockamp also said Bales played exceptional defense.

Regardless of some game setbacks, Coach Brockamp saw a number of things he liked, particularly considering about a half-dozen players had never played high school football before.

“I was proud of the kids in general,” Coach Brockamp said. “They played hard the whole game and played pretty good defense, really. The good news is the mistakes are all stuff we can fix and we’ll keep getting better.”

The Cougars next play their league opener away at Powder Valley on Friday, Sept. 13.

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