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La Grandeís Jobin Reed hauls in a long pass in the second quarter of the Tigersí 35-25 loss to Vale Friday. CASEY KELLAS - The Observer
La Grande dropped its fifth straight game of the season Friday night.
The Tigers (0-5) jostled with Vale for four quarters, but in the end the Vikings had enough to hold off LHS 35-25.
“That’s probably the best football we’ve played all year,” coach Kenny Mace said.
“We talked about making sure that teams not only remember you, but respect you. And I think that after the helmets flying off tonight, Vale has a lot of respect for us.”
The Vikings built a 14-0 lead by the second quarter after one-yard run by Josh Schoorl and a 10-yard run by Lane Cummings.
But with 1:41 left in the first half, La Grande cut into the deficit when Tyson Wicklander and Jobin Reed connected on a 50-yard catch and run to make it 14-7.
Vale responded 30 seconds later on a 43-yard strike from Logan Skerjanec to Agi Tamez.
Less than 30 seconds passed by again before LHS was back in the endzone.
Brandon Dall hit Tyson Wicklander on a short pass before Wicklander lateralled to Reed who went 56 yards for a score to make it 21-13 at halftime.
“That kid (Reed) went through more adversity this week than he’s ever had to,” Mace said.
“He broke his thumb, his grandfather passed away (Thursday). For Jobin to come out and do what he did... that kid found another gear. If there’s an MVP, he’s it.”
For all of the offense that the second quarter saw, the third quarter was won by the defenses, as neither team found the endzone.
But with 9:19 to go in the fourth, Vale extended its lead on a two-yard touchdown run by Skerjanec to make it 28-13.
Reed returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, but the Vikings answered with a 10-play, 55-yard drive that eneded on a Zac Jacobs touchdown run.
A late score on a six-yard touchdown catch by Adam Sofe cut into the lead, but with the failed two-point try, the deficit was too much to overcome.
“We had a lot of guys making big plays. Our passing game really took off. Our run game was there at times, but our pass game was there all night,” Mace said.
The coach was also pleased with his defense’s effort.
“For the first time this year they hit. It was good to see. They’re being physical, and that’s the kind of football we want to play.”
La Grande finished with 290 yards of offense.
Wicklander completed 11 of 21 passes for 154 yards and two scores.
Reed had 63 yards receiving and 50 yards rushing.
Jake Chamberlain had 57 yards on the ground on 12 carries.
Vale finished with 387 yards of offense.
Skerjanec had 143 yards passing on eight of 16 completions.
Jacobs had 79 yards rushing, while Cumming had 48 yards and Schoorl had 43.
A lot was made of the officiating throughout the game.
Vale was penalized 12 times for 106 yards, and LHS had 10 penalties for 82 yards.
La Grande will be on a bye this week before traveling to play Ontario Oct. 12.
OHS is 3-1 on the season.