October 28, 2001 11:00 pm
DIVE FOR MORE: Eastern Oregon's Joey Allard tries to gain an extra yard against Withworth during Saturday's game. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).
DIVE FOR MORE: Eastern Oregon's Joey Allard tries to gain an extra yard against Withworth during Saturday's game. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

A rough football season got rougher Saturday for the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers.

Whitworth made its fifth second-half comeback of the season with two fourth quarter touchdown passes for a 21-20 victory at Community Stadium.

To add insult to injury, Eastern backup quarterback Ruben Villa, who started in place of injured starter Mark Hanrahan, left the game in the second half with a possible concussion. Eastern finished the game with third-stringer Aaron Hazel at the helm.

All this came after the team learned that the father of assistant coach Ben Ward was in serious condition in a Portland hospital. Wards father died Saturday.

And that came a week after starting tight end Drew Storm was diagnosed with meningitis.

Football loses its significance at times, but a win would have done wonders for this teams morale.

The guys are playing their hearts out. Im so disappointed they dont have anything to show for it, Eastern Oregon coach Rob Cushman said.

Eastern (0-7) dominated the game like no other this season. The Mountaineers had 104 yards more offense, they had 28 first downs to Whitworths 12 and they were 11-for-19 on third-down conversions.

But they had four turnovers, including two fumbles that led to Whitworth touchdowns.

Cushman was more concerned about the hit that knocked Villa out of the game, a late hit to the head that drew a 15-yard penalty.

Hazel had replaced Villa earlier in the game, too. Villa got banged around pretty good today, Cushman said.

Hazel led Eastern to a touchdown on that drive. His 5-yard run gave the Mountaineers a 20-7 lead with 13:45 to play, but a bad snap on the extra point try led to a failed run for the end zone.

Whitworths first fourth quarter touchdown came on a drive that included a 15-yard personal foul penalty on the Mountaineers and a 22-yard pass from quarterback Scott Biglin to receiver Dwayne Tawney on a third-and-13 play.

The drive ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Biglin to Tawney.

On Easterns next series, Hazel was hit and fumbled at his own 39, setting up Whitworths winning touchdown. Biglin hit Tawney again, this time on an 8-yarder that appeared to some to hit the ground first.

Eastern had its share of breaks during the game. The first came on Whitworths first drive, when Biglin fumbled and Easterns Brock Jorgensen recovered at the Pirate 43.

Easterns drive ended when Matt Hamlin scored on a 4-yard run.

Whitworth, ranked 25th in NCAA Division III, tied the game in the second quarter after Villa fumbled at his own 23. Six plays later, Whitworths Billy Condon ran in from 1 yard out for a touchdown.

Another big Mountaineer break came in the third quarter. Eastern was trying a field goal on fourth-and-7 from the Whitworth 10, but a bad snap forced holder Brian Pritchett to scramble. He tossed a pass toward lineman Scott Young, who caught the ball and dove to the 2-yard line for a first down.

The problem was Young was a guard and was ineligible to catch a pass.

I dont understand how they didnt catch it, Young said of the officials. It was a crazy play.

Hamlin got his second touchdown of the game on the next play.

Easterns defense held Whitworth to just 74 yards rushing, but again it allowed a few pass plays at critical times that kept touchdown drives alive.

We were prepared, no question we were prepared to play, Cushman said. We really did some things on defense tonight that Im really pleased with.

Whitworth 0 7 0 14 21

Eastern Oregon 7 0 7 6 20

First quarter

EO Matt Hamlin 4 run (Gabe Minthorn kick), 10:58

Second quarter

W Billy Condon 1 run (Paul Alejo kick), 12:05

Third quarter

EO Hamlin 2 run (Minthorn kick), 5:47

Fourth quarter

EO Aaron Hazel 5 run (run failed), 13:45

W Dwayne Tawney 6 pass from Scott Biglin (Alejo kick), 8:31

W Tawney 8 pass from Biglin (Alejo kick), 4:39

A 1,000


First downs 12 28

Rushes-yards 31-74 59-212

Passing yards 176 142

Comp-att-int 12-26-1 14-30-1

Punts 4-44.5 3-30

Fumbles-lost 2-1 4-3

Punt returns-yards 1-7 3-25

Kickoff returns-yards 4-90 1-11

Penalties-yards 10-85 6-39

Third-down conversions 5 of 12 11 of 19

Fourth-down conversions 1 of 1 1 of 2

Sacks byyards lost 2-14 1-3

Time of possession 21:23 38:37

Individual statistics

RUSHING Whitworth, Condon 21-69, Biglin 8-8, Roorda 1-(minus 1), Spencer 1-(minus 2). Eastern Oregon, Allard 8-58, Hamlin 15-48, Morriss 10-45, Villa 13-36, Geske 7-21, Hazel 6-4.

PASSING Whitworth, Biglin 12-26-1-176. Eastern Oregon, Villa 9-17-0-101, Hazel 4-12-1-33, Pritchett 1-1-0-8.

RECEIVING Whitworth, Tawney 6-64, Merritt 2-40, Spencer 2-13, Lamens 1-58, Condon 1-1. Eastern Oregon, Nyby 6-75, Allard 2-21, Hannah 2-12, Geske 1-13, Young 1-8, Hamlin 1-7, Morriss 1-6.

TACKLES FOR LOSSES Whitworth, Sherwood 2-4, McVey 1-8, Rodriquez 1-3, Lyman 1-3, Mendoza 1-3, Lawrence 1-1. Eastern Oregon, Jensen 2-3, Young 2-2, Moore 1-1, Wilson 1-1, Van 1-0.

MISSED FIELD GOALS Whitworth, Alejo 38, 24. Eastern Oregon, Minthorn 22.