Grant Union’s football team had a tall task in front of them Friday, Oct. 15, in the form of the No. 1-ranked Heppner Mustangs.
The Mustangs were not only undefeated, they were ranked first in the state in Division 2A heading into Friday’s matchup. In fact, no team in the Division 2A Special District 5 league had scored a point against them all year.
The Prospectors put up a fight but came up short, falling 36-12 to the powerful Heppner squad on homecoming night at Grant Union High School.
The loss left Grant Union 3-2 overall and 3-1 in league play.
Down 36-0, the Pros managed to crack the scoring column before the first half was in the books on a 60-yard kickoff return by Justin Hodge. Late in the game, Hodge had a touchdown called back on a holding penalty.
Grant Union’s head football coach, Jason Miller, said his team did not perform as well as it should have against top-ranked team in the state.
“We did not play tough or disciplined,” Miller said. “Heppner is a quality football team.”
Quarterback Maverick Miller, a senior, said the team knows they could have played better.
“I think we were all pretty nervous,” Maverick said. “We were playing the best team in the state.”
Toward the end of the game, however, that nervousness seemed to have disappeared.
With one second left on the clock, Tanler Fuller caught a TD pass from Miller, a never-say-die effort in what may have been his final play in a Prospector uniform at Grant Union.
“It came down to the end of the game,” Fuller said. “At halftime, we built up a lot of intensity. We were losing pretty badly, but we decided to come out (strong), this being our last home game, and Maverick threw a perfect ball, and I went up and got it and got to score a touchdown as a senior on homecoming night.”
All in all, Hodge thought the team did a good job. “We made mistakes, but we kept playing,” he said.
If the Prospectors win one of their next two games, against Umatilla and Weston-McEwen, they will be in the playoffs, Miller said.
And if the Pros win two playoff games, then Grant Union could play at home again, Hodge added.