WALLOWA — Zeb Hermens saved his best for last, and stepped in a major way when the Wallowa Cougars needed him to.
The senior, who filled in for an injured Lute Ramsden at quarterback, rushed for 224 yards and four touchdowns and passed for two more scores as the shorthanded Cougars fought off the Elgin Huskies Friday afternoon, April 9, in their season finale, 58-42.
“Essentially we were playing without three all-state two-way starters,” head coach Matt Brockamp said. “Elgin has some big, strong physical kids and they ran the ball well. They ran the ball hard. ... It was neat to see our kids keep playing hard and keep scoring and keep ahead of them.”
The Cougars were without Lute Ramsden and Colby Mandal in the Elgin game, both injured in last week’s win over Powder Valley, and lost Zeb Ramsden in the second quarter due to injury.
Hermens engineered the Cougar offense — largely with his legs, carrying the ball 27 times to pile up his yardage. He also was 5-for-10 passing for 79 yards and two scores — one to Tristin Bales and one to Ryder Goller. Defensively, he had six solo tackles and assisted on six more.
With Hermens leading the way, Wallowa rushed for 405 yards, and finished with 484 yards of total offense. Bales had 99 yards rushing and a touchdown and also had 48 yards receiving, and Zeb Ramsden had 52 yards rushing and 20 receiving before leaving with an injury.
Defensively, Jesse Duncan had five tackles and 14 assists, and Ramsden had three tackles and six assists.
Brockamp said the defense had to shuffle players around until Wallowa was able to find a combination to get the stops needed.
“It was musical chairs for a little bit until we got something we felt a little more comfortable with,” Brockamp said. “And we made a couple stops, we forced a couple turnovers, and were able to keep scoring and stay ahead of them, and make plays on special teams as well.”
With the win, Wallowa wraps up the spring with a record of 4-1.