When the Pendleton Bucks face off against the Hood River Valley Eagles this Friday, there will be pressure on both sides. Both teams are coming off a victory last week – Pendleton defeated La Grande, 38-1,2 while Hood River bested The Dalles, 22-6.
“They’re definitely a well-coached team,” said Pendleton head coach Erik Davis. “They’re gonna throw a lot of different formations at us. We’re gonna have to bring the pressure. That was our bread and butter against La Grande last week.”
Because both teams will be facing each other with the same 1-0 record, Davis says his team is preparing for a particularly tough game.
“One thing we can control is our effort, preparation, and attitude,” he said. “They’re gonna be ready to go, and we gotta come out fast and serve dominance early. We want to play hard and stay healthy.”
The Bucks are playing with a team filled with vets, including four returning starting linebackers and four defensive linemen. But even with the experience the team has under their belt, they’ve spent the past week looking for any way to improve, polishing both their offensive and defensive strategies.
“The way I see it, there’s room for improvement all across the board. I like the way we’re playing as a team,” Davis said. “Our rally cry is ‘we before me’ – we’re a family first. As a coach, I’m trying to continue that sentiment.”
Friday will also be Pendleton’s first league game of the year, and Pendleton’s chance to make a grand entrance into the 2018 season.
“This game will be extremely important,” Davis said. “This group of kids has been putting a lot of effort on the field and in the weight room. We want to put them in a position to be successful. We’re making sure we’re going to win. We’d like to come out 2-0 after Friday.”