STANFIELD — Blue Mountain Conference play opens Friday, and the hot game of the night is Weston-McEwen at Stanfield.
Both teams are 2-1 overall, and both have stingy defenses, but it’s Stanfield that has its offense working on overdrive.
Led by junior running back Enrique Arellano, the Tigers are averaging 33 points a game.
“He is durable,” Stanfield coach Davie Salas said of Arellano. “He takes a fair amount of hits, but he’s not afraid of a hit, or giving one. When you have that ability and go full speed, you have to credit the front five, who are busting their tails off for him.”
Arellano is a load to bring down at 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds. He has run for 532 yards and 10 touchdowns, and has one receiving touchdown to add to his stats.
“I have to credit my linemen,” Arellano said. “I could not have gotten those yards without them. Second, my adrenaline drives me and how bad I want to win for my team. I like running over people. It’s fun.”
Arellano started his football career as a lineman in grade school, but he soon found himself in the backfield.
“In middle school, they moved me to fullback,” he said. “I never thought I’d be a running back, but here I am.”
The Tigers also use Arellano at middle linebacker, but sparingly.
“We try to give him his rest on defense,” Salas said. “The way we use him, we have to rest him. He’s a hard-working kid — he’s tough.”
AJ Keeney also gets some work in the backfield. Arellano is happy to share touches with the 6-2, 210-pound sophomore.
“He’s a boy in a man’s body,” Arellano said. “When he runs, he destroys them. It’s even scarier when he’s mad.”
Though Salas likes his team’s chances Friday, he knows the TigerScots are a formidable team.
“They are well-coached, they have good athletes on the perimeter and they like to move the ball around,” Salas said. “Their quarterback throws the ball well. They are a dangerous team.”
W-M is a coming off a 20-0 loss to Culver last week, a game in which turnovers stalled drives and led to points for the Bulldogs.
“We had some costly turnovers,” W-M coach Kenzie Hansell said. “We can fix that. Our defense played outstanding. Our league is tough and it’s important to execute. It will be exciting to get league play going.”
NYSSA (3-1) AT UMATILLA (4-0) — Eastern Oregon League play begins with a little twist. The Vikings are undefeated, have beaten some good teams, and have allowed just 26 points.
Umatilla has had good success with its passing game, and quarterback Andrew Earl adds a wrinkle for defenses with his speed.
The Bulldogs have handed the Vikings three consecutive 55-6 losses, but graduation depleted Nyssa, which suffered a 40-0 loss to Baker to open the season.
Nyssa depends heavily on quarterback Landon McDowell and running back Caleb Benson, who ran for 113 yards and two TDs against Lakeview two weeks ago.