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The Observer paper 11/21/14

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Tigers lose to Bulldogs

NYSSA — Despite doing something it hasn’t done for a while, the La Grande football team dropped the season opener against Nyssa 41-15.

The Tigers held a 15-7 lead after the first quarter, something head coach Kenny Mace said was a blessing and a little bit of a curse.

“All the coaches were trying to remember the last time we had a lead after the first quarter,” Mace said. “We couldn’t put a finger on it. It was exciting to see.

“Then the team started to play a little tentative. They started playing not to make mistakes, instead of doing what we had been doing. You can’t play football that way.”

The lead didn’t last long, as Nyssa outscored La Grande 14-0 in the second quarter.

Nyssa got on the board on its first drive of the game, going 59 yards on nine plays. Austin Castro capped the drive with a 13-yard run. 

“It took us a little while to get into rhythm on defense,” Mace said. “We did a great job tackling people. Alec and Isaiah Cranford did a great job coming off the end, and Preston Armstrong, Jake Comfort and Chase Huffman did a fantastic job on the line.”

Drew Hivley had a productive game as well, recovering a pair of fumbles. LHS made the most of the early turnovers by the Bulldogs. Tyson Wicklander evened the score with a 74-yard touchdown run following a fumble. 

Wicklander had the second Tigers’ score, finishing off a seven-play drive with a 5-yard run. The senior finished the game with those two carries for 79 yards. Wicklander also caught three passes for 41 yards. Ray Jimenez led the running game with 20 carries for 47 yards.

As a team, the Tigers finished with 220 yards.

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