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Brock Hisler (32) makes a 20-yard drive after a handoff against the Regis Rams at the Morrow County Fairgrounds on Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. The Heppner Mustangs dominated 43-8 against the Regis Rams in the first round of the Oregon School Activities Association 2A Football Championship at the Morrow County Fairgrounds, Heppner. The Mustangs return to the fairgrounds to face off against the Weston-McEwen TigerScots on Nov. 13, 2021, in the quarterfinal round.

HEPPNER — There’s something special about football on a Saturday afternoon in Heppner.

It means it’s time for the state playoffs, and a time of year where the Mustangs play their best football.

Brock Hisler scored four touchdowns and Heppner cruised to a 43-8 victory over Regis on Nov. 6, in the first round of the 2A state playoffs at the Morrow County Fairgrounds.

“It’s Saturday in November,” Heppner coach Greg Grant said. “The kids stepped up and worked their tails off and it showed. I thought our defense got after them. They had a couple of turnovers and we stepped up and took control.”

The Mustangs (10-0), who have won 28 consecutive games, will host Blue Mountain League foe Weston-McEwen in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. on Nov. 13.

“They are rapidly improving,” Grant said of the TigerScots. “It will be a tense football game. The OSAA might like the gate from that game.”

Against Regis, the Mustangs only had 190 yards of offense as the Rams were quite generous with the field position they gave Heppner all afternoon.

It started on the Rams’ first drive, which stalled at their own 25. A 5-yard punt put the Mustangs on the Regis 30. It took just three plays for Hisler to find the end zone on a 17-yard run. Landon Mitchell ran the ball in for the 2-point conversion and an 8-0 Heppner lead less than 3 minutes into the game.

On Regis’ next possession, the Rams picked up a first down and had moved the ball to their own 34. It was there that quarterback Porter Vaughn was picked off by Kason Cimmyotti at the Regis 42.

With 2:32 left in the quarter, Mitchell connected with Jace Coe for a 15-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Hisler scored two touchdowns in a span of 13 seconds. The first came on a 1-yard run for a 22-0 lead.

On the first play of the Rams’ ensuing drive, Conor Brosnan sacked Vaughn, knocking the ball loose. Hisler picked up the ball and ran 23 yards for a touchdown and a 28-0 lead.

Hisler finished off his parade of touchdowns with a 13-yard pass from Mitchell. Hisler also ran the ball in for the 2-point conversion and a 36-0 lead with 8:57 left in the second quarter.

“That was really fun,” Hisler said of the game. “We had great field position today.”

The Mustangs finished the first half taking advantage of another Regis miscue. The center snapped the ball over the head of Vaughn and Heppner’s Blane Mahoney jumped on the ball. Two plays later, Mitchell hit Derrick Smith with a 2-yard touchdown pass.

The second half was played with a running clock. The Rams scored their lone touchdown with 1:18 left in the game as Noah Koenig broke free for a 30-yard run.

The Rams ran for 166 yards, with Koenig picking up 102 yards, but the Mustangs were able to keep them out of the end zone until the end.

“Their veer attack and fullback has us concerned,” Grant said. “Our inside linemen did a good job.”

Hisler ran for 42 yards, while Caden George had 29 and Mitchell 28. Mitchell also passed for 45 yards, with Jace Coe hauling in two passes for 31 yards.

On defense, Hisler led the way with six tackles, while Smith and Brosnan each had five, and Tucker Ashbeck four with a quarterback sack. George added an interception, while Nick Wenberg and Ty Boor recovered fumbles.

“We have a great senior class,” Grant said. “I can't say enough about how experienced they are, and they make plays. When you have good leadership, good things happen.”

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