Mistakes and missed opportunities can haunt any team, much less a young and inexperienced one. Joseph's football team learned that lesson all too well on Friday night.
The Eagles had many chances to put points on the scoreboard, but it could not take advantage of several solid scoring opportunities, then made a couple of costly errors dropping a 68-38 decision on the road to Dufur.
DHS senior quarterback Jason Reed threw for five touchdowns and scored two more on the ground as Dufur steamrolled its way over the visiting Joseph Eagles (0-2).
The Rangers (1-1) scored five times in the first 13 minutes of the game to post a 36-0 lead and cruised in the rest of the way, with everyone on the squad playing a sizable amount of minutes. After a heartbreaking 56-38 loss to Country Christian on Sept. 2 at the Oregon eight-man Classic, the Eagles showed a lot of mental toughness and a lot of heart in the loss.
Dufur's first play from scrimmage lit the fuse on its offensive explosion in the early going. Senior wide receiver Victor Gonzalez hauled in the first of his four touchdown catches with a 24-yard strike from Reed after Joseph fumbled.
After the Eagles went three and out, DHS senior tailback Mike Highfield busted off a 69-yard run to paydirt. Ninety seconds later, after another Eagle fumble, Gonzalez caught another touchdown pass, this time for 20 yards.
Joseph quarterback Eric Steen, a backup thrust into the starting lineup, was picked off two plays later by Highfield. A 41-yard drive ended with senior Spud Simer punching in a two-yard TD.
Dufur's fifth consecutive score came seconds into the second quarter. Reed rolled out of the pocket on first-and-20 from the Joseph 42, looked for a receiver and found none. He scrambled to his right, broke a tackle and then raced down the right sideline for a score to make it 36-0.
Special teams played a spectacular part in the game. Joseph's first score, incredibly, was a 95-yard fumble recovery on a Ranger two-point conversion try for a safety by junior fullback Ben Garnett. Eagle junior Wyatt Shetler returned a kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown Reed had a 75-yard punt return for a score in the third quarter. Eight plays later, Steen eluded everyone on a 52-yard gallop for a touchdown after a Dufur punt.
Joseph began digging its way out of the early hole it dug and the first spark came from Garnett, who found the end zone for the second time in the quarter on a 27-yard run right through the teeth of Dufur's defense. After a 77-yard kickoff return by Wyatt Shetler and a 60-yard touchdown run by Jay Chitwood, Jo-Hi had something positive to build on headed into halftime.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, Dufur's early offense was too much to overcome.
Reed gathered 178 yards through the air on 10-for-14 passing with no interceptions, while Steen was 2-for-8 with 29 yards and three interceptions. On the ground, the Rangers ruled, unofficially piling up 276 yards from scrimmage in the first half alone, totaling 339 rushing yards in the game. Junior Matt Hammel led Dufur with 135 yards on eight carries, while Highfield added 114 yards on six rushes.
Joseph racked up 173 yards rushing from scrimmage, with Garnett carrying 13 times for 88 yards to lead his team. Dufur had 517 yards from scrimmage - almost 700 yards all together - while Joseph put up 202 yards from scrimmage and another 215 special teams yards.
Jo-Hi hosts its first home game of the season on Friday against South Wasco (2-0) at 7 p.m.