JOHN DAY - The Grant Union High School football coach has some advice for his team this week.
"We need to stop the run," said Jason Miller of the Burns Hilanders. The Pros host Burns this Friday, Oct. 22, in John Day.
Except for a win over the Riverside High School Pirates Oct. 8, the Prospectors have dealt with losses in what has been a season for growing and building skills.
The Hilanders are ranked No. 1 in Eastern Oregon League, at 2-0 in league and 6-1 overall. They lost 22-26 to the Baker High School Bulldogs in nonconference play.
The Prospectors last week faced the No. 2 EOL team, Vale, in a home game that was "fairly one-dimensional," said Miller. The Vikings won the contest 42-6.
"The first half, our effort was much improved. The boys played hard, worked hard. They came to play, and it showed," he said.
In the first quarter, senior Brent Labhart scored to put Grant Union on the board. The Prospectors were unable to get the extra point on the goal, in what Miller said was an illegal move by the Vale team. Referees didn't spot an illegal hurdle by a Vikings player, who jumped over a player and used their center to propel himself over, he said.
In the first half, the Prospector defensive line played very well, said Miller. He commended the work of Grant Union defensive players, particularly Dalton Murray and Clay Thomas, as well as the work of Dominic DeHaven.
In the second half, turnovers kept the Prospectors from scoring again.
"Three turnovers in a row made their night easy," said Miller, of the Vikings, who scored 21 points in the third quarter.
Miller was hopeful, despite the mistakes.
"We are still struggling offensively, not executing," he said. "I'm proud of our kids and their efforts, especially in the first half. If we can get our mistakes and missed assignments cleaned up, we will start seeing the benefits, and a win."
As for the coming game, he said, "Burns is a well-disciplined team. Our kids know it's a big game for us."
Fortunately, it's a home game. "It's always nice to be home," he added. "Our kids played hard (with Vale)," he added, "and we need to match that."
Grant Union stands at No. 4 in the EOL, behind Nyssa. Grant Union and Nyssa both have 1-1 league records, but the ranking reflects their overall records of 2-4 for the Bulldogs and 1-5 for the Pros.