PENDLETON — If it could go wrong, it did go wrong for the Pendleton Bucks last week.
Two costly fumbles, two interceptions and a litany of other things in a 36-14 loss to La Grande last Friday had Bucks coach Erik Davis back at the drawing board this week.
“I saw an inexperienced varsity football team,” Davis said. “Numerous turnovers and penalties. Not taking anything away from La Grande, but I was disappointed in our execution on offense and defense, to be honest.”
Whatever needs to be fixed, has to be done in a hurry. The Bucks (0-1) open 5A Special District 1 play Friday at Hood River Valley (1-0).
“Hood River is pretty traditional on offense and defense,” Davis said. “They have a couple of big kids up front, a three-year starter at quarterback (Ryan Gray), and some good running backs. We will have to play assignment football and do our job. We can’t look any further than our practice field — we’ve got to do what we do better.
“We are still 0-0 in league, and have the ability to keep our goals intact.”
Davis said everything that went wrong last week is fixable, and that ball security, among other things, is a point of emphasis this week.
“The biggest thing I saw on film was a lack of effort,” Davis said. “I think the kids had a really good eye-opener watching themselves on film. Sometimes, the best tool in the world is seeing yourself on film. You will see a different football team on Friday.”
The Bucks rotated quarterbacks last week, giving seniors Cooper Roberts and Tanner Sweek equal opportunity to prove themselves. The same will happen this week.
“Both are inexperienced at the varsity level,” Davis said. “Tanner ran the ball well out of the pocket, but we didn’t protect either one very well. We need to get the ball out in a timely manner and hit the receivers.”
Defensively, the Bucks gave up some costly plays to La Grande.
“We were there,” Davis said, “but they weren’t finishing tackles.”
The Bucks learned last week that Benson will not field a team this year, leaving them without a game Oct. 25.
“It would have been our last regular-season game, and it was a home game,” Davis said. “I feel bad for our seniors. I searched Oregon, Washington and Idaho — 6A to 4A — for a game, but that late in the season, no one has an opening.”
That leaves Pendleton with just three home games — Sept. 20 against Putnam, Sept. 27 against Scappoose, and Oct. 18 against Parkrose.