Riley Steen applied the exclamation point.
The junior linebacker on Joseph High School's football team recovered a fumble Sept. 24 at Arlington in the fourth quarter with just over a minute left and the score tied, 38-38. He raced 37 yards to the end zone, making the Eagles victorious over the previously unbeaten Honkers. That put Joseph back in line with its promising start to this tough season of road trips. After beginning with a win in Dufur, the Eagles suffered back-to-back losses. Those ranged from a high-scoring shootout at Ione to a shutout in Idaho.
"After playing really bad in Moscow against Colton, I was wondering, 'What are we gonna do? How are we gonna play?'" coach Rusty Eschler said. "We had an opponent that hadn't lost yet. But our kids showed me a lot in coming back to win."
Victory, 46-38, evened Joseph's record at 2-2.
A week after drawing a blank against Colton, junior quarterback B.J. Warnock helped the offense go on a scoring spree. He completed 10 of 24 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Both times, he hit senior tight end Ian Baynes. Warnock also ran 25 times, gaining 178 yards and three more touchdowns. The Eagles also used junior tailback Trevor Lewis, who took eight carries and ran 74 yards. He tallied six more points.
At first, the Eagles threatened to run away with the game. They jumped ahead of the Honkers, 20-0, in the first quarter. But Arlington's powerful rushing attack pushed the defense around, taking a 32-26 lead into the final minutes.
Even after Joseph came back in the fourth quarter, Arlington started one more drive. That's when Steen saved the day.
Next the Eagles will finally stay at home, at least for a little while. Their next game, Oct. 1 in Joseph against Cove, begins their schedule against district rivals. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.