August 31, 2001 11:00 pm
DRAGGED DOWN; La Grande defensive back Jack Grant pulls down Nyssa quarterback Dearl Kite during Friday night's game. (The Observer/C.J. GISH).
DRAGGED DOWN; La Grande defensive back Jack Grant pulls down Nyssa quarterback Dearl Kite during Friday night's game. (The Observer/C.J. GISH).

By C.J. Gish

Observer Staff Writer

You could tell it was the first game of the football season Friday.

La Grande eked out a 14-12 home win over Class 2A Nyssa. Both teams showed their jitters in the form of penalties, turnovers and missed assignments.

I think we played with a little bit of mistakes, La Grande junior quarterback Kyle Bomberger said. But overall, we worked hard the last two weeks for this.

Two first-half touchdowns both Casey Fenwick 7-yard runs gave La Grande a 14-6 halftime edge. Nyssa, though, hung around, holding the Tigers to 144 yards offense.

We had some good things, but I think we snuck out with this win, first-year La Grande coach Randy Waite said. It was ugly. Linewise, weve got to get a lot better. We didnt have time to throw.

Jon Hendersons fumble recovery at Nyssas 19-yard line with 2:20 left gave La Grande a chance to run the clock down before turning the ball over on downs with 11 seconds left at Nyssas 13.

The Tigers made short work of Nyssa on the opening drive. Fenwick returned the kickoff to the La Grande 46-yard line. Three plays later, Jacob Simonis took a shotgun draw 30 yards to Nyssas 11. A short pass to Simonis set up Fenwicks 7-yard run three-and-a-half minutes into the game.

The first drive looked real good, but then we went south for a while, Waite said.

Joseph Waite recovered a Bulldog fumble less than a minute later at the Nyssa 28, but a missed handoff gave Nyssa the ball back two plays later.

Near the end of the first quarter, Nyssa quarterback Dearl Kite lobbed a pass to Roger Manley, who outraced La Grandes defense for a 47-yard touchdown. James Bunns point-after kick was wide left, leaving the score 7-6.

On the ensuing kickoff, Fenwick raced 94 yards for a touchdown, but a clipping penalty near the Nyssa 25 erased the score. Wagner was intercepted two plays later by Brock Holcomb.

We had too many clipping and holding penalties. Weve got to clean things up a bit, Waite said.

Fenwick bulled his way for a 7-yard touchdown with 2:08 left in the opening half on a drive set up by his 15-yard punt return to the Nyssa 15.

Nyssa scored with 5:26 left in the fourth quarter when Mike Kurtz ran through the middle of La Grandes defense for a 10-yard touchdown, capping a four-minute, 72-yard drive.

Simonis led La Grande with 48 yards rushing. Bomberger, who switched with Chris Wagner at quarterback throughout the contest, had 41 yards rushing. He also picked off two passes from his middle linebacker position.

La Grande has a bye week before hosting Pendleton Friday, Sept. 14.

Nyssa 6 0 0 6 12

La Grande 7 7 0 0 14

LG Casey Fenwick 7 run (Jacob Simonis kick), 8:33

N Roger Manley 47 pass from Dearl Kite (kick failed), 0:48

LG Fenwick 7 run (Simonis kick), 2:08

N Mike Kurtz 10 run (pass failed), 5:26

Individual statistics

RUSHING Nyssa, Kurtz 9-54, Kinkade 3-12, Kite 13-3, Se.Ellsworth 1-2, Ishida 2-(minus 1), Sa.Ellsworth 2-(minus 1), B.Holcomb 1-(minus 2). La Grande, Simonis 6-48, Bomberger 6-41, Fenwick 16-30, Stebbins 1-3, Henderson 2-2, Wagner 9-(-minus 5).

PASSING Nyssa, Kite 5-26-3-77, Br.Holcomb 1-1-0-16. La Grande, Wagner 3-11-1-11, Bomberger 3-6-0-13.

RECEIVING Nyssa, Manley 2-61, Sapp 1-16, Kurtz 1-12, Sa.Ellsworth 2-4. La Grande, Fenwick 2-3, Kleck 1-8, Henderson 1-6, Simonis 1-5, Moulton 1-2.