PENDLETON — The injury-riddled Seattle Seahawks have nothing on the Nixyaawii Golden Eagles.
While the Seahawks welcomed back starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck from a broken rib for last Sunday’s 41-0 trouncing of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Nixyaawii head coach Joey Edgmand said his already injury-depleted squad took the field at Sunridge Middle School Friday with five players patched up to play the Echo Cougars.
The loss of starting quarterback Isaiah Case early in the second quarter, as well as backup QB Shawn Simpson (usually a wide receiver), left the Golden Eagles with running back Anthony Bonifer taking snaps.
And despite Bonifer’s 15-for-22 passing effort in his first game at quarterback, the Cougars left Pendleton with a 72-22 victory.
"It’s so frustrating to see a group of kids who were doing so well and injuries just killed us," Edgmand said. "It’s kind of disappointing."
The Cougars opened the game with a nine-play, 64-yard scoring drive capped by Echo quarterback Jacob Eby’s 5-yard run.
By the end of the first quarter, the Cougars held a 22-0 edge.
The second quarter started with an Echo muff of a Nixyaawii punt, setting the Golden Eagles up at the Cougar 47. And on the next play, Simpson found Case for a 25-yard completion, Nixyaawii’s biggest offensive showing of the game to that point.
But Case, on the reception, left the game with an ankle injury.
"He said he heard it pop," Edgmand said of Case and his ankle.
Case was taken to the hospital after the injury.
So Simpson took over behind center, and two possessions later, with the Cougars enjoying a 36-0 lead, completed two passes for 47 yards and ran it 19 yards before Bonifer took it in for a 1-yard touchdown to put Nixyaawii on the board, 36-8.
Echo put another score on the board to hold the 44-8 halftime lead.
Bonifer took over at QB after Simpson, who broke a collarbone last season, suffered an ankle injury as well as having his collarbone aggravated again.
"So we basically pulled him out," Edgmand said. "Shawn (Simpson) said he thought it was just a stinger. We’ll know more Monday when we get to practice. Hopefully we’ll get him back, and hopefully we get Case back, too."
Simpson did re-enter the game to pull down a Bonifer 16-yard pass for a touchdown midway through the third quarter to make it 44-14, and Bonifer hit Joe Crawford for a 25-yard TD a minute into the fourth quarter to make it 58-22.
"He did OK," Edgmand said of Bonifer’s time at QB.
That was as close as the Golden Eagles would get, as Echo’s Logan Thorne returned a fumble 51 yards for a touchdown and Ethan Marcum rounded out the scoring with a 33-yard run to make it 72-22 and start the running clock.
"Hopefully, we’re going to go back and lick our wounds, and see if we can switch our game plan here and there and come back strong for Ione," Edgmand said.
"We’ll lick our wounds and get back to the drawing board. We have the ability to just unleash (offensively)," he said. "It’s just getting everybody familiar. I have probably five guys with experience playing football. The other seven, it’s their first year of playing, and they’re just not quite there yet. They’re getting close, but they just don’t feel real comfortable so they hesitate a little bit. And in 8-man, you can’t hesitate, they go right by you. But they show signs here and there of exciting play.
"We have to go back to the drawing board and plug some things in, and hopefully we can get some of these kids healthy and get something going with these last three games."
Echo 22 22 14 14 —72
Nixyaawii 0 8 6 8 —22
Echo — Eby 5 run (Eby run).
Echo — Longhorn 7 pass from Eby (McCallum pass from Eby).
Echo — Eby 26 pass from Marcum (conversion failed).
Echo — McCallum 28 pass from Eby (Marcum run).
Echo — McCallum 3 run (conversion failed).
Nix — Bonifer 1 run (Bonifer pass from Simpson).
Echo — Longhorn 11 run (McCallum pass from Eby).
Nix — Simpson 16 pass from Bonifer (conversion failed).
Echo — McCallum 4 run (conversion failed).
Echo — Longhorn fumble recovery (McCallum run).
Nix — Crawford 25 pass from Bonifer (Begay pass from Bonifer).
Echo — Thorne 51 rumble return (Thorne pass from Eby).
Echo — Marcum 33 run (conversion failed).
First downs 16 10
Rushes/yards 34-259 22-(-29)
Passing yards 155 167
Passes (att-comp-int) 9-7-0 33-22-0
Punts 0-0 7-33
Fumbles-lost 4-3 2-1
Penalties-yards 3-30 3-27
RUSHING — Echo: Eby 10-118, Harris 5-14, Marcum 8-69, McCallum 3-11, Stradley 3-24, Longhorn 2-12, Thorne 3-11; Nix: Bonifer 15-(-43), Simpson 5-12, Begay 2-2.
PASSING — Echo: Eby 6-8-0 129 yards, Marcum 1-1-0 26 yards; Nix: Bonifer 15-22-0 85 yards, Simpson 7-11-0 82 yards.
RECEIVING — Echo: McCallum 3-84, Longhorn 3-45, Eby 1-26; Nix: Crawford 7-79, Case 1-25, Bonifer 3-25, Begay 9-8, Simpson 2-30.