EASTERN RETURNS HOME TO FACE WHITWORTH
Eastern Oregon football will get some of its injured players, but not all of them, back for a home game Saturday against Whitworth.
Eastern (2-5) is coming off two tough road losses against No. 1 ranked Carroll College (59-7) and No. 3 Linfield (56-14). Eastern had to play those games without several starters because of injuries and family crises.
Eastern had been playing its opponents close up to the Carroll and Linfield games, and with a bit of luck, the Mountaineers could easily be 4-3.
On paper, Eastern should match up well with Whitworth. Whitworth, which plays most of the same teams Eastern plays, is 3-4.
Whitworth was beaten by Pacific Lutheran 28-24, by Willamette 24-7 and by Montana-Western 37-24.
Eastern lost to PLU 27-17 and to Willamette 29-12. The Mountaineers beat Montana-Western 21-14.
Whitworth beat Menlo College 30-24 and Montana Tech 20-3. Eastern beat Montana Tech 21-9 and lost to Menlo 24-21.
Coach Jim Fenwick agreed that it appears the two schools match up ... "if we were healthy."
Because of the injuries, "we're hoping to hang in with them," Fenwick said.
Before the Linfield game Oct. 18, Eastern lost linebacker Tom Neill, one of the Mountaineers' best defensive players, for the season due to a neck injury. Another top defensive player, Nick Hannah, went out with a knee and defensive back Mike Eby was also injured. Fenwick said it's possible Hannah might be able to return against Whitworth.
Quarterback Aaron Hazel, who had a death in the family, has returned to the team. Scott Jensen has been playing quarterback the past two weeks.
An offensive lineman who was injured in the PLU game, Jose Caywood, should be back for Whitworth.
The game begins at 4 p.m. at Community Stadium (this is different from the usual 1 p.m. starting time).
Eastern was beaten by Whitworth last year in Spokane 28-3.