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COUGAR TAKEAWAY: Wallowa's Dustin Byers intercepts a pass intended for Lucas Spaulding during Saturday's 1A state playoff game. Byers returned the pickoff, and another interception for touchdowns. (The Observer/JOE SOVA).
COUGAR TAKEAWAY: Wallowa's Dustin Byers intercepts a pass intended for Lucas Spaulding during Saturday's 1A state playoff game. Byers returned the pickoff, and another interception for touchdowns. (The Observer/JOE SOVA).

By Joe Sova

Sports Editor

Six-hundred yards of total offense was more than enough for Wallowa in the opening round of the 1A 8-man football state playoffs on a 35-degree afternoon at Wallowa, as the second-ranked Cougars warmed the turf and large crowd with a 70-26 domination of Jewell.

It was believed Wallowa would host a second-round game next weekend, but since McKenzie beat Prairie City 30-22 Friday the Cougars will have to make the long trip west to play Saturday at McKenzie. The Eagles played on the road in their opener and will play Wallowa at home since the Cougars hosted in the first round.

McKenzie's win was over a Prairie City team that was the District 6 champion. McKenzie is the second seed from District 5.

A number of players had a huge day for Wallowa, which led Jewell 42-12 at halftime. Dustin Byers, one of four seniors on the Wallowa squad, had a day to remember. He ran back two interceptions for touchdowns in the first half, and returning the second-half kickoff for another score. Sophomore Trevor DeVore had key open-field blocks during both pickoff returns.

"Dustin had a great game today. He doesn't get a lot of credit for what he does for us," Oveson said.

Junior quarterback Patrick Green picked apart the Jewell offense for 459 yards and five touchdowns in just over three quarters of work.

Sophomore Kaleb Oveson and senior Ryan Harshfield combined for 418 yards in receptions. Oveson caught eight balls for 218 yards, and Harshfield hauled in nine for 200. Each caught two touchdown passes. It was the third time this season that Harshfield and Oveson each had 200 yards or more in the same game.

Wallowa got off to a sluggish start, as Jewell drove inside the Cougar 10-yard line after the opening kickoff. But the Wallowa defense held on a fourth-down play.

On their second possession, the Cougars got on the scoreboard when Green hit Harshfield with a perfect strike over the middle. Harshfield did the rest, completing a 55-yard scoring play.

After a Jewell punt rolled near the Wallowa 10, the Cougars struck quickly - as Oveson grabbed a Green pass, broke an attempted tackle near midfield and rambled 92 yards for another touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

The Bluejays got within a touchdown when Lucas Spaulding returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a score, but Wallowa scored on a Green-to-Byers pass and Byers 70-yard interception return. From there, the Cougars were in not threatened.

"I kind of thought our offense was a little sluggish today," coach Oveson said. "They (the Bluejays) were playing a deep zone on us, man on the corners. We're seeing a lot of that."

Wallowa finished with 608 yards of offense, 572 of that in the air.

"We put up some pretty good numbers. We were able to have some pretty big strikes," Oveson said.

The Cougars gave up 311 yards rushing to Jewell, and 391 total, but few big plays by the 'Jays.

"The kids were pretty comfortable with the sets they saw," Oveson said of the Wallowa defense. "I thought our pass coverage was pretty good."

A negative that came out of the game was penalties. Wallowa was penalized 12 times for 90 yards.

In other 1A first-round games over the weekend, top-ranked Perrydale drubbed Jordan Valley 56-8, Pine Eagle beat Arlington-Ione 50-30, Mohawk routed Dufur 50-8, South Wasco County outscored Crane 52-22, Triangle Lake eased past Powers 34-8 and St. Paul got by Gilchrist 44-34 (see Scoreboard for pairings).

Wallowa 70, Jewell 26

Jewell 0 12 0 14 – 26

Home 14 28 14 14 – 70

W – Ryan Harshfield 55 pass from Patrick Green (Kaleb Oveson pass from Green)

W – Oveson 92 pass from Green (pass failed)

J – Lucas Spaulding 65 kickoff return (pass failed)

W – Dustin Byers 17 pass from Green (oveson pass from green)

W – Byers 70 interception return (pass failed)

J – Spaulding 15 pass from Jake Johnston (run failed)

W – Oveson 10 pass from Green (pass failed)

W – Byers 55 interception return (Kainoa Delatori run)

W – Byers 60 kickoff return (pass failed)

W – Harshfield 11 pass from Green (harshfield from green)

J – Randy Layman 4 run (pass failed)

W – Oveson 48 pass from Green (pass failed)

J – Spaulding 19 run (Zach Woods run)

W – Delatori 25 pass from Brandon Mahon (Michael Long run)

Individual statistics

RUSHING - Jewel, Layman 22-103, Spaulding 27-160, Karl Dugan 2-11, Johnston 9-30, Woods 4-3, Cody Greenwood 1-4; Wallowa, Green 5-27, Delatori 1-10, Mahon 1-(-1).

PASSING - Jewell, Johnston 7-14-2-80; Wallowa, Green 24-32-1-459, Mahon 7-11-0-118.

RECEIVING - Jewell, Spaulding 3-23, Layman 2-21, Dugan 1-23, Will Steinweg 1-3; Wallowa, Mitchell Shelton 1-9, Dalton Weaver 1-19, Byers 4-32, Delatori 7-99, Harshfield 9-200, Oveson 8-218.

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