The Pendleton Buckaroos made the 321-mile trip to Eugene on Friday night looking to pull off an upset against No. 4 Churchill for the program’s first playoff victory since 2002.
Instead, the No. 13 Buckaroos’ streak will live on for at least one more year. Pendleton tallied four costly turnovers on offense and didn’t have enough defense to contain the high-powered Churchill offense as the Lancers ended the Buckaroos season with a 42-15 victory in the 5A first round.
Pendleton (5-5 overall) knew going into the game that it would need to play a clean game and execute well in order to keep up with the Lancers (10-0), and the Bucks played an okay first quarter and trailed just 7-0 after the first 12 minutes. But then things unraveled quickly for the Buckaroos, beginning with an untimed down prior to the start of the second quarter.
Aiden Patterson ripped off a huge run for Pendleton, getting inside the Churchill 10, however he had the ball stripped away by a Churchill defender, which led the ball to bounce into and out of the end zone for a touchback for the Lancers. It was a big momentum swing for the Lancers, who staved off a potential tie game and went right down the field and scored a touchdown to make it a 14-0 game with 9:37 left to play in the first half.
Churchill added two more scores in the quarter, on Luke Schwin’s 65 yard pick-six from Pendleton quarterback Nick Bower, the Pendleton quarterback’s second interception of the game, and later a short touchdown rush by Tyson Bennion to make it a 28-0 Lancers lead at halftime. Pendleton had a scoring chance right before halftime, as a failed onside kick by Churchill gave the Bucks the ball at midfield with 30 seconds to play. The Buckaroos got the ball down to the Lancers eight with 15 seconds left, but an illegal formation penalty set the Bucks back five costly yards and the Buckaroos failed to score.
In the second half, Churchill got the ball to begin the third quarter and made quick work of Pendleton’s defense again. Facing a third-and-17, Churchill quarterback Jack Blackburn hit Myles Green-Richards on a 50 yard touchdown pass to make it 35-0 Lancers with 9:32 left in the third.
Pendleton finally found the end zone on its next drive when Aiden Patterson broke off a 50 yard touchdown run to make it 35-7. Later in the quarter, Pendleton was putting together another offensive drive into Churchill territory but Shaw Jerome fumbled the ball after taking a hard hit and giving the Lancers the ball back on its own 30, crashing any last hopes Pendleton had at making a comeback.
The Buckaroos scored their final touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a touchdown pass from Bower to Blake Davis in the corner of the end zone to make it a 42-15 game.
FALLS CITY 58, ECHO 20 — At Falls City, the Echo Cougars’ search for its first playoff victory in Class 1A will last at least one more year, as the No. 11 Cougars were defeated on the road by the No. 6 Mountaineers 58-20 on Friday night.
It marks just the second time that Echo was held below 30 points on offense this season, dating back to a 56-20 loss to Crane on Sept. 15. Falls City (8-1) moves on to the quarterfinals to play No. 3 Camas Valley next weekend.
The Cougars end the season with a 7-3 overall record.
MONROE 48, STANFIELD 0 — At Monroe, the Stanfield Tigers’ stay in the Class 2A playoffs was a short one this season as the No. 15 Tigers were ousted by the No. 2 Monroe Dragons in the first round on Friday night.
Stanfield ends its season with a 2-6 overall record.
CULVER 3, HEPPNER 0 — On Friday morning, the Heppner Mustangs and Culver Bulldogs met for the fourth time this season, this time going head-to-head in the quarterfinal round of the Class 2A state tournament at Ridgeview High School in Redmond.
And for the third time in the four meetings, the No. 1 seed Culver came out on top with a 3-0 victory, setting aside the No. 9 Heppner team 25-18, 25-22, 25-14. The win sent Culver to the state semifinals where it XX No. 4 Central Linn.
The Mustangs moved into the consolation bracket, where they will first play No. 5 St. Paul on Saturday at 8 a.m. at Ridgeview High School. The winning team of that game moves on to the 4th/6th place game, while the losing team’s season will come to an end.
MAC-HI 2, COTTAGE GROVE 0 — At Milton-Freewater, the Mac-Hi Pioneers boys soccer team scored two second-half goals to advance to the Class 4A semifinals with a 2-0 victory over No. 6 Cottage Grove on Friday evening.
The Pioneers (12-3) will play the winner of Saturday’s quarterfinal between No. 2 Stayton and No. 7 Molalla on Tuesday.