EOU Kai Quinn vs. Rocky Mountain 2021

Quarterback Kai Quinn prepares to receive a snap during Eastern Oregon’s 34-17 loss to Rocky Mountain on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. The senior led the Mountaineers to a 14-10 victory in the season finale against Southern Oregon on Nov. 13.

LA GRANDE — It has been far from a desirable season for the Eastern Oregon University football team, but one of the program’s all-time great quarterbacks secured his legacy in his final game at Community Stadium.

Riding a six-game losing streak, the Mountaineers came into the season finale against rival Southern Oregon with little implications on the season’s outcome. However, Eastern walked off with a last-second 14-10 victory on Saturday, Nov. 13, to end the season on a high note and send out 19 seniors on the roster.

After a low-scoring bout between the Raiders and Mountaineers, Eastern managed one final opportunity for a victory. In front of a home crowd on senior day, Quinn and the Mountaineers took over at their own 10-yard line down 10-7 with 53 seconds remaining.

Quinn was sensational in the pocket on the winning drive, connecting on three straight passes to move the ball past midfield. A 20-yard run by Quinn down to the Southern 20-yard line with nine seconds remaining set up Eastern in prime field goal range with a chance to tie the game. With one play left before an imminent field goal attempt, Quinn came away with one of the biggest plays of his career.

The redshirt-senior threw a dime down the middle of the field to redshirt-senior Saige Wilkerson, breaking the plane of the end zone and giving Eastern the lead with just three seconds remaining. The Mountaineer sideline and fans in attendance erupted as the team all but secured the victory.

One final Hail Mary attempt from the Raiders was intercepted in the end zone as the Eastern players rushed the field in celebration.

Quinn was elite in his final game in blue and gold, totaling 284 passing yards, one passing touchdown and 52 rushing yards. Eastern’s defense made a strong stand against Southern, holding the Raiders to 292 yards of total offense. In their final games on the Eastern defensive line, Sage DeLong and Chase Van Wyck wreaked havoc. Van Wyck tallied 3.5 tackles for loss and DeLong totaled two tackles for loss and half a sack.

While the victory will not change the fact that a six-game losing streak led to a losing record this year, fans will not soon forget the late game heroics against Southern.

After a 3-0 start to the season, the Mountaineers wrapped up the season sixth in the Frontier Conference at 4-6.

Mountaineers volleyball comes up short of CCC title

SALEM — The No. 12-ranked Eastern Oregon University volleyball team has been on a collision course with Corban all season, with the teams meeting in the Cascade Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship over the weekend.

It was a dramatic two days of action for the Mountaineers, fending off a difficult Oregon Tech team in the semifinals in order to meet Corban in the final matchup.

Eastern put together a huge late-game effort in the fifth set, scoring five points unanswered to win the match.

In the finals against the Warriors, it was ultimately Corban that came away with the late rallies to take the match on Nov. 13. Eastern was upended 24-26, 25-16, 25-21 and 25-20.

After taking the first set, things were looking up for the Mountaineers. Despite leading early on in the second and fourth sets, Corban showed why it is at the top of the conference standings and ranked in the NAIA top 10.

Despite a 9-all tie early on, Corban managed to go on a big run and build up a 20-14 lead with the winning outcome teetering heavily toward the Warriors. The Mountaineers put together a late rally, but Corban held on to win 25-20.

Freshman Hailey Arritola, recently named honorable mention all-conference, kept up her phenomenal form in the weekend series. She led the team with two aces and 18 digs in the win over Oregon Tech and did the same in the loss to Corban with two aces and 28 digs.

Senior Breanna Shaffer shined in her final conference tournament, totaling 25 kills on the weekend.

The Mountaineers’ season isn’t finished, though. The team learned Nov. 14 that it was the second automatic qualifier out of the conference into the 2021 NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Tournament and will host Columbia International.

Stricklin and Liefke shine, EOU women’s hoops team drops weekend seriesLEWISTON, Idaho — The Eastern Oregon University women’s basketball team lost two consecutive nail biters this weekend, falling to 2-3 in non-conference play. Despite the negative outcomes, upperclassmen Sailor Liefke and Taylor Stricklin led the way offensively throughout the Twin Rivers Physical Therapy Classic on Nov. 12-13.

Eastern was topped 75-68 in overtime against Rocky Mountain on the first day of action, while a late comeback fell short in a 76-73 loss to Montana Tech on the following day.

Stricklin, a senior, was efficient both from the field and on the board against Rocky Mountain, totaling a team-high 20 points and nine rebounds. She shot 7-12 from the field and converted all four of her free-throw attempts.

Liefke, a junior, has emerged as the team’s leading scorer early on, averaging 14.8 points per contest off 38.6% shooting from the field. She led the way with 15 points in the loss to Montana Tech and added 17 against Rocky Mountain.

Early on in the season, Sticklin and Liefke are emerging as top scoring options for what should be a strong Eastern team this year. Sticklin’s added rebounding abilities will go a long way as the Mountaineers inch closer to conference play. Eastern will look to bounce back next weekend in a back-to-back series against Montana Western and the College of Idaho beginning on Nov. 20.

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