Rockets upend TigerScots

Westen-McEwen's Elliot Salter (32) is tackled by the Pliot Rock's Lane Byrnes (11) during their conference football game Friday in Athena.<br><i>Photo by Joe Tierney for the East Oregonian</i>

ATHENA - Lane Byrnes squirmed and scrambled out of the grasp of Weston-McEwen's defense all night long Friday, leading Pilot Rock to a 31-7 victory over their rivals in the first Blue Mountain Conference game for both teams.

The senior Rockets quarterback tortured the TigerScots (1-2, 0-1 BMC) and the overflow crowd on hand for two first-quarter touchdown bombs to Travis Copeland, the second being a wide-open 27-yard toss on fourth and 10 that seemed to deflate the Weston-McEwen defense.

Byrnes ended with five touchdowns, three passing and two on the ground for Pilot Rock (2-1, 1-0 BMC).

"Well, you know, (Copeland) is a really good athlete and he can get by guys," Byrnes said. "He can stutter his way to make guys miss.?And the line did a great job blocking tonight.?They did a great job giving me enough time to make those passes."

When he wasn't rifling touchdowns through the air, several times Byrnes torched the TigerScots' 3-5 defense with nifty scrambles that kept drives alive.

"I think I get kind of nervous when the line closes in on me, so I like to get out and run," he said. "If I see a lane, I take it."

Despite the offensive fireworks, it was the Rockets' defense that deserved much of the credit. They held the?TigerScots to 149 yards rushing, but that includes a 67-yard run by Jacob Christopher in the fourth quarter after the game had been decided.

The TigerScots had trouble passing, throwing for just 34 yards with an interception. However, normal starter Kyle Watts was out with a groin injury and spent the game watching from the press box, forcing Weston-McEwen to turn to sophomore Ron?Terjeson. Terjeson went down late in the game with a shoulder injury and did not return.

"We came in prepared and ready to go," said Rockets head coach?Troy Jerome. "Our defense stepped it up.?We were swarming to the football, and they kind of set the tone."

For Weston-McEwen, head coach Kenzie Hansell said that despite the loss, he was happy with his team's effort.

"We made mistakes," he said. "We didn't capitalize when we had the ball.?We made turnovers on offense. I'm not taking anything away, Pilot Rock has athletes.?Overall,?I was proud of our kids' effort."

Hansell said he was especially pleased with the play of the sophomore Terjeson.

"I was proud of Terjeson,"?Hansell said. "Big game at home. I'm proud of what he did. We'll see what his shoulder injury is, what he feels like tomorrow."


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