Dawgs lights out against Southridge

Southridge’s Ryan Strayrook spins through the line of scrimmage in the Suns’ 56-0 loss to the Bulldogs on Sept. 28, 2018, in Hermiston. Stayrook returns for the Suns this season.

HERMISTON — There was nary a soul left at Kennison Stadium on Friday night when Garrett Walchli came out in full gear and started running up and down the yard lines.

From the goal line, he weaved his way up to the 5, to the 10 and so on until he reached the 50. He then made a loop from the 50-yard line to the 40. Over and over again.

“I was angry, so I was working off some steam,” said Walchli of the disappointment of losing a 14-3 game to Walla Walla that night. “I knew I could do better.”

The Bulldogs (0-4) will have a chance to right the ship Thursday night when they travel to Lampson Stadium to take on the Southridge Suns (0-4). One team will earn its first win of the season.

“It’s a whole new month,” Hermiston coach David Faaeteete said. “We have to get better. Last week, we did not play very well. Walla Walla is a lot better than they were last year. It was 0-0 at the half — we just didn’t finish the game.”

Walchli, for one, is ready to put the past four games behind him and move on.

“You have to look at the next week as a whole new week,” he said. “We are at the tip of the iceberg — I think everyone is starting to get mad.”

The Dawgs are averaging 249 yards a game. Of their 999 yards of offense, only 290 have come on the ground. Daniel Faaeteete has 225 of those yards.

“We have got to be able to run the ball,” coach Faaeteete said. “(Daniel) tore his ACL last year and only played in three or four games (behind Wyatt Noland). With G (Guiomar Garay) hurt, we have limited weapons. We have to execute better and the line has to block.”

Junior Sam Schwirse has played the past three games at quarterback after Chase Elliott broke his leg in the opening game against Pasco.

Schwirse has thrown for 521 yards and three touchdowns, but poor decisions at times have halted the offense.

“It’s just inexperience,” Faaeteete said. “Not enough reps. Plays are there to be made, we just have a lack of experience and depth.”

The Suns have had their struggles, as well.

Southridge has lost 16 consecutive MCC games. The Suns’ last conference win was Sept. 29, 2017 — an 18-14 win over Walla Walla.

That being said, Faaeteete is not taking them lightly.

“They are athletic,” he said. “They have a tall receiving corps and their quarterback can extend plays with his feet. This will be huge for us. We need to establish the run game, if not, it will be a short season for us.”

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