HEPPNER — Heppner had a 49-point lead over Bandon in the first round of the state playoffs, but coach Greg Grant could be heard barking orders and chewing out players who had missed assignments.
Jason Hanna said nothing has changed in 27 years.
“He’s as intense as he ever was,” said Hanna, who played on Heppner’s first state championship team in 1992. “You were prepared for what happened before it happened. Nothing has changed.”
Hanna is one of four former Heppner players from the 1992 championship team whose sons won the 2A state title Saturday with a 12-7 victory over top-ranked Kennedy.
Hanna was a senior defensive end and tight end in 1992 when the Mustangs beat Vale 24-12 in the 2A title game. His son Gavin is a senior offensive lineman and linebacker.
Scott Coe was a senior running back and linebacker 27 years ago. His son Jace, a sophomore linebacker, had two interceptions Saturday against Kennedy.
“This has been my dream since I was a little kid and listening to my dad talk about his state championship,” Jace Coe said.
Jeremy Cimmiyotti was a sophomore two-way lineman back in the day. His son Kason is a sophomore defensive back who finished the season with six interceptions and 23 tackles.
Rounding out the group is Shaun Hisler, who was a freshman, but played key minutes in 1992 as a linebacker and running back. His son son Brock is a sophomore linebacker, who was fourth on the team in tackles this season with 63.
“This is a little unreal,” Shaun Hisler said of his son winning a state title. “Heppner has a football tradition. As kids, you grow up wanting to play for the Mustangs, and you hope you get a chance to do what they did here today.”
Both the 1992 and 2019 teams finished the season at 13-0.
“They finished the season the same way we did,” Hanna said. “I’m so proud of Gavin for what he has accomplished. This is surreal.”
As the coach of both teams, Grant had hoped all week that the scenario would come to fruition.
“It’s the best timing in the world,” Grant said. “I thought about it all week. I wanted them to be in that picture together. It’s cool. I thought I was smiling last week, but I was probably holding tears back thinking of my son’s (Kellen) last football game being this (a championship). I feel blessed.”
Grant’s son Kellen was a few years from being born in 1992, but you could add them to the group of sons and fathers who share football titles in Heppner.
“Sharing this season with my son and his friends has been incredible,” Grant said. “I feel incredibly lucky to have our time end so perfectly. I will miss the van rides home after games and all the time spent together, for sure.”
Memories to last a lifetime
To have his son play for Grant was something that Hanna had hoped for.
“We have a culture here,” Hanna said. “Heppner football lives in all of us. It’s an honor that he is still there and playing for a third state championship. Greg is a maker of men. It might take a decade to figure out what he has done, but when it clicks, it is Greg Grant.”
Hanna said he still has his state medal from 1992, and was tempted to bring it to the game Saturday, but did not want to jinx anything. Now, he will bring it out and share it with his son.
“To win the first state championship, we are bound as grown men because of it,” Hanna said. “This year’s class is special. This will bind them together even more.”