ENTERPRISE — For 2½ quarters Friday, Sept. 24, a shorthanded Enterprise Outlaw football team gave perennial power Dufur all it could handle.
But the visiting Rangers pulled away with the last 20 points of the game to secure a 42-14 victory over Enterprise in Special District 2-West action.
“We gotta be a lot more determined,” Enterprise head coach Rusty Eschler said, adding the Outlaws didn’t match Dufur’s intensity for four quarters. “It’s aggression, it’s matching their physicality; we gotta match that.”
Enterprise was down one of its senior leaders, Gideon Gray, whom Eschler said was out sick. Other players on the field Friday played through an illness. Eschler said, though, nobody who was sick had COVID-19.
Enterprise never led in the contest, and Dufur often threatened to break the game open in the second and third quarters. The Rangers scored a touchdown late in the half on a 43-yard touchdown reception by Kaleb Pence to take a 14-6 lead into the break, then opened the second half with a short field thanks to a Joshua Taylor interception and went ahead 22-6 on a 10-yard scoring run by Pence.
But Caden Fent took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, and the two-point conversion kept Enterprise in the game at 22-14 with 9:29 to play in the third quarter.
The teams traded possessions — and fumbles — before Dufur put the game away. Cody Phillips broke away for a 36-yard touchdown run with 1:25 to play in the third to put the Rangers up 30-14 after three. Dufur then took its opening possession of the final quarter and marched 64 yards on 15 plays — all on the ground — finishing with a 1-yard touchdown by Pence for a 36-14 lead with 5:05 to play.
Pence grabbed an interception on the next possession to set up his fourth touchdown from 8 yards out, which was the final score of the game.
“They ate the clock, and we were kind of back on our heels, not coming forward, (not matching) that aggression and stepping forward and matching that intensity,” Eschler said.
The Rangers scored first in the second quarter on a touchdown catch by Landon Ellis for an 8-0 lead. Enterprise responded when Trey Stewart pulled in a screen pass and sprinted 86 yards for a score to keep Enterprise within 8-6.
“There were some bright spots and stuff in the first half. For some reason we came out flat in the second half, it’s hard to say (why), but it kind of puts a damper on the whole game. Hopefully we’ll grow from this. We’ve got Ione here, and Elgin. Those are teams, if you look at our schedule, we played Pilot Rock, they’re a playoff team. We played Dufur, they’re a playoff team. Crane’s a playoff team. Our schedule maybe looks a little more favorable toward the end, but we gotta be more aggressive.”
The Outlaws (1-3 overall) continue a four-game homestand Friday, Oct. 1 when they host Ione/Arlington.