LA GRANDE — It has been far from a desirable season for the Eastern Oregon University football team, but one of the program’s all-time great quarterbacks secured his legacy in his final game at Community Stadium.
Riding a six-game losing streak, the Mountaineers came into the season finale against rival Southern Oregon with little implications on the season’s outcome. However, Eastern walked off with a last-second 14-10 victory on Saturday, Nov. 13, to end the season on a high note and send out 19 seniors on the roster.
After a low-scoring bout between the Raiders and Mountaineers, Eastern managed one final opportunity for a victory. In front of a home crowd on senior day, quarterback Kai Quinn and the Mountaineers took over at their own 10-yard line down 10-3 with 53 seconds remaining.
Quinn was sensational in the pocket on the winning drive, connecting on three straight passes to move the ball past midfield. A 20-yard run by Quinn down to the Southern 20-yard line with nine seconds remaining set up Eastern in prime field goal range with a chance to tie the game. With one play left before an imminent field goal attempt, Quinn came away with one of the biggest plays of his career.
The redshirt senior threw a dime down the middle of the field to redshirt senior Sage Wilkerson, breaking the plane of the end zone and giving Eastern the lead with just three seconds remaining. The Mountaineer sideline and fans in attendance erupted as the team all but secured the victory.
One final Hail Mary attempt from the Raiders was intercepted in the end zone as the Eastern players rushed the field in celebration.
Quinn was elite in his final game in blue and gold, totaling 284 passing yards, one passing touchdown and 52 rushing yards. Eastern’s defense made a strong stand against Southern, holding the Raiders to 292 yards of total offense. In their final games on the Eastern defensive line, Sage DeLong and Chase Van Wyck wreaked havoc. Van Wyck tallied 3.5 tackles for loss and DeLong totaled two tackles for loss and half a sack.
While the victory will not change the fact that a six-game losing streak led to a losing record this year, fans will not soon forget the late game heroics against Southern.
After a 3-0 start to the season, the Mountaineers wrapped up the season sixth in the Frontier Conference at 4-6.