WALLOWA — It wasn’t exactly a perfect afternoon on offense Friday, Sept. 25, for the mighty Wallowa Cougars, but they continued to make the big play frequently enough to run up a big 66-22 score on their visitors from Echo, who also lost their starting QB to probable season-ending injury.
This was both teams’ first league game of 2015.
Wallowa scored early and often, putting up a 24-0 lead by the first quarter’s end. The combination of quarterback Koby Frye and receiver Travis Haga got it going, connecting for a 60-yard touchdown, which was followed by Noah Allen’s successful 2-point conversion run to make the lead 8-0. Later in the quarter, when Allen got the handoff on a regular down, the back carried the ball 69 yards for Wallowa’s second TD, the first of the senior’s three rushing touchdowns on the day.
The Cougars’ other players to score touchdowns Friday were Frye (11-yard run), Chandler Burns (runs of 36 and 90 yards), and Gus Ramsden (runs of 13 and 22 yards).
Despite his team’s proficiency in scoring, Wallowa Coach Matt Brockamp noted that the offense occasionally misfired. “We missed some opportunities that we’d like to have back,” he said.
Still, the Cougars’ attack was something far surpassing chopped liver, totaling 588 yards, including 463 on the ground and 125 by air.
On the other side of the ball, meanwhile, Wallowa was just plain tough. Linebacker Patrick Ritthaler, a sophomore, led the charge with 8 unassisted tackles and another 8 assists. “He played phenomenally. I’m proud of that kid,” Brockamp said.
A sobering moment for all spectators, players and coaches came in the third quarter, when Klay Jenson, Echo’s talented junior quarterback, went down with what appeared would be a season-ending injury to his knee. “Our condolences to him,” Brockamp said. He added, “It definitely changed their season. He’s a heck of a ball player.”
Now Wallowa is preparing for its second league contest, scheduled Oct. 2 on the road against Pine Eagle. Brockamp calls the Spartans “a well-coached, well-disciplined football team.” They scored 58 points in defeating Elgin last week, and last year nearly managed to spoil Wallowa’s homecoming. Only by virtue of a last-minute interception near the end zone did the Cougars preserve that win.
Wallowa stats against Echo:
Rushing: Allen 188 yards on 8 carries, 3 TDs; C. Burns 167 yards on 9 carries, 2 TDs; Ramsden 40 yards on 6 carries, 2 TDs; Frye 37 yards on 5 carries, 1 TD; Ritthaler 25 yards on 6 carries; Austin Brockamp 6 yards on 3 carries.
Passing: Frye 2-for-7 for 101 yards, 1 TD; Ramsden 1-for-1 for 24 yards.
Tackling: Ritthaler 8, 8 assists; Allen 7, 3 assists; Cole Hafer 7, 3 assists, 1 sack; Josh Rummell 5, 4 assists; Frye 4, 3 assists; C. Burns 3, 3 assists; Haga 3, 4 assists, 3 sacks; Ramsden 3, 2 assists; Zane Hermens 2, 1 assist; Robert Delancey 2; Joe Robb 2, 2 assists; Joe Pendarvis 2, 2 assists; Ethan Burns 1, 2 assists; Austin Lindros 1, 1 assist; Alejandro Mendez 1, 1 assist; Bryce Melville 1; A. Brockamp 2 assists.