Grant Union 55, Nyssa 20
JOHN DAY - Grant Union was facing a "must win" situation against Nyssa in its Wapiti League football matchup with the undefeated Bulldogs on Friday, Oct. 25.
Locked in a second-place tie with Imbler, a loss to Nyssa would have erased any hopes of the Prospectors earning a chance to compete in the state Class 2A playoffs.
A fired up bunch of Grant Union players took the field on Senior Night and never let up from the opening kickoff to the final whistle, and hammered the Bulldogs 55-20 to elevate the Prospectors into a three-way tie for the league lead.
With the win, the Prospectors are 5-1 in league games and 7-1 overall, and are tied with Nyssa and Imbler for the top spot in the league.
However, Nyssa dumped Imbler 12-0 on Oct. 18 and if Grant Union can defeat Pine Eagle this Friday in the final league game of the season, the Prospectors will nail down the Wapiti League championship.
"This just shows what a team can do when their back is to the wall," Grant Union coach Monty Nash said. "The kids really showed what they're made of tonight. I was real proud of them, they came out and played well."
Grant Union went right to work in the first quarter, roaring out to a 21-6 lead.
Brandon Hueckman opened the scoring on a 6-yard run at the 10:52 mark and booted the extra point for a 7-0 Grant Union lead.
Trevor Simmons followed with a 17-yard dash to pay dirt with 5:18 showing on the clock and Hueckman's kick made the score 14-0.
Nyssa was able to trim the lead to 14-6 when Trent Holcomb connected with Mike Kurtz on a 10-yard pass, but Hueckman's second touchdown of the first quarter and the conversion kick made the count 21-6 after the first 12 minutes of action.
The Prospectors put another 21 points on the board in the second quarter on a pair of touchdown passes from Simmons to Taylor Schmadeka covering 30 yards and another to Billy Colson from 35 yards out.
The third Prospector touchdown of the second period came on and a 20-yard touchdown by Cody Frazier to give Grant Union a comfortable 42-12 half time advantage.
Despite the one-sided victory, Nash said the team was not totally satisfied with the performance.
"A couple of the kids made the comment that we can play better than we did and I think we can," Nash said. "We still have some things that we need to work on. We have one more win we need to get next week before we can think about the playoffs."
Hueckman scored the only touchdown of the third quarter on a 41-yard run, and a 20-yard run by Simmons with 6:49 remaining in the game accounted for Grant Union's final score.
Grant Union netted 475 yards in total offense, led by Hueckman who scored three touchdowns and gained 142 yards on 21 rushing attempts. Simmons gained 58 yards rushing and scored twice, and also passed for 234 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Holcomb passed for 136 yards to lead Nyssa, but was intercepted four times by the Grant Union defense.
Grant Union's final game of the regular season will be on Friday in Halfway against Pine Eagle. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.