Neah-Kah-Nie’s 2017 football season came to an end this past Saturday, after losing on the road, at Heppner, in the opening round of the 2A playoffs.
By Travis Champ
Four minutes into the first quarter, a bad snap on a punt set up the Mustangs with a first and goal from the 7 yard line, which they capitalized on immediately.
Neah-Kah-Nie turned the ball over on downs on their ensuing possession, after being stuffed on 4th and 1 near midfield.
Heppner took over at their own 45 yard line, and, minutes later, the Mustangs punched in a second rushing score, taking a 12-0 lead.
The Pirate offense struggled to move the ball early, failing to pick up a single first down until late in the second quarter. On defense, the Pirates were overwhelmed by Heppner’s power running attack, as the Mustangs proceeded to pile on consistent yardage, finding the end zone on 5 of their first half possessions, while jumping out to a commanding 33-0 advantage.
With under a minute remaining before the break, Josh Longfellow found Bryce Bridge over the middle for a 30 yard score, trimming the Mustangs’ lead to 33-6.
After Heppner senior, Beau Wolters, ran back the kickoff to start the second half, it appeared that the Pirates had fallen into a hole too deep to climb out of.
The Pirates were able to find the end zone twice in the fourth quarter, first on a pass reception by Mychal Kelly, and then on a long run by Longfellow, bringing the final score to 54-22.
Neah-Kah-Nie finishes the season with an overall record of 7-2. With the departure of only three seniors off of this year’s squad, the Pirates have a lot to build upon over the off-season, as they look forward to tougher non-league schedule in 2018, that will have them prepared for a stronger showing in the state playoffs.