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La Grande’s Ray Jiminez races down the sidline during a 50-8 Greater Oregon League loss to Ontario Friday night. (Paul Harder/The Observer)
It took awhile for the Ontario offense to warm up, but once it did, there was no doubt the visiting team would bring trouble to Community Stadium against La Grande Friday.
After leading 7-0 after one quarter of play, Ontario strung together 23 points in the second quarter, and pulled away for a 50-8 Greater Oregon League win.
“I thought we played great throughout the first quarter,” La Grande head coach Kenny Mace said. “Ontario is big and physical on the offensive and defensive lines, and they have a lot of speed at the skill positions.”
La Grande had an opportunity to get on the board first, but a Ray Jiminez 42-yard touchdown run was called back on a holding call.
Ontario’s Jason Haueter broke a 42-yard run of his own to open up the scoring.
Mando Morin recovered a La Grande fumble, that set up a one-play drive for Ontario.
Running back Ben Turner caught a pass from Haueter for 30 yards on the next play of the game, giving Ontario a 21-0 lead.
LHS would go into the half trailing 30-0.
“A couple big plays,” Mace said. “Ray’s run was a big missed opportunity and the fumble hurt us. Those two plays could have changed the game.”
Haueter’s speed gave La Grande trouble all night long. He finished with four carries for 78 with a touchdown.
As a team, Ontario rushed for 384 yards on 50 carries.
Quarterback Mike Hussey completed 5-of-9 pass attempts for 63 yards.
La Grande’s offense struggled throughout the game, gaining 43 yards of total offense.
Jiminez led the ground attack with 41 yards on 11 carries.
Quarterback Brandon Dall completed 8-of-19 passes for 20 yards with an interception.
Tyson Wicklander caught five passes for 21 yards.
LHS got on the board in the fourth quarter when Micah Fuller returned an Ontario fumble 77 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.
The loss signaled an end to La Grande’s playoff hopes. It dropped to 0-2 in GOL play and 1-6 overall this season.
That means the nine seniors for LHS have four more quarters left of varsity football.
“It’s tough to think about,” Mace said. “We’ve got some great leaders on this team.
“It’s a new scheme that we wanted to run going into this season on offense and I don’t think the chemistry is quite there. Defensively, we’re creating turnovers very well. It’s great to see the kids getting out there and hitting. We just need a little more time for the system to sink in.”
Ontario will now have a chance at the GOL title when it hosts Baker at 6 p.m. Friday.
OHS is 2-0 in GOL play and 3-4 overall.
La Grande will host Mac-Hi at 7 p.m. Friday.
“The kids will be ready,” Mace said. “It’s our homecoming and senior day all wrapped up into one. There will be a lot of emotion.