PENDLETON — Anthony Bonifer performed like a homecoming king is expected to perform here Friday afternoon at Sunridge Middle School, rifling seven touchdown passes as Nixyaawii won its first Big Sky Conference football game in five years by defeating visiting Condon-Wheeler 60-22.
Even more remarkable, it was the homecoming king’s first start of the season at quarterback, moving under center from the tailback position during last week’s loss to first-place Ione due to a rash of injuries.
"It’s a shock how he took the team on his back," first-year Golden Eagles coach Joey Edgmand said. "The team has really responded to him at a new level. I still don’t know what it was or how it happened, but good things are starting to happen."
Bonifer, who completed 29-of-34 passes for 463 yards in the game, connected for touchdowns four times to Isaha Case, twice to Shawn Simpson and once to Joe Crawford as Nixyaawii scored the game’s first 44 points in notching its first victory of the season after seven losses. The Golden Eagles will try to make it two wins in a row when they entertain Dufur here Friday in their season finale.
"Dufur is about the same as we are (1-3 in the Big Sky)," Edgmand said. "It will be a tough game, but I think we match up with them pretty well."
Case caught 15 passes for 289 yards, Simpson had seven receptions for 97 yards and Crawford caught seven passes for 83 yards as the Golden Eagles did most of the damage via the airways. Simpson, who had 100 yards rushing on just three carries, had the team’s only rushing touchdown with a 65-yard scamper to close out the scoring.
Bonifer, in addition to his passing exploits, ran the ball 11 times for 190 yards in Nixyaawii’s offensive explosion.
Condon-Wheeler’s Austin Fennern had 161 yards and a TD on 26 carries and Justin Irzyk added 135 yards on 15 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. But while C-W rolled up 255 yards on the grounds, the Golden Eagles’ defense didn’t allow a single passing yard in the game.
Friday’s victory snapped a 24-game Nixyaawii losing streak dating back to the 2007 season, according to Edgmand.
Condon-Wheeler 0 0 6 16 — 22
Nixyaawii 8 22 14 16 — 60
Nix — Shawn Simpson 20 pass from Anthony Bonifer (Bonifer run).
Nix — Isaha Case 15 pass from Bonifer (pass failed).
Nix — Case 12 pass from Bonifer (pass failed).
Nix — Simpson 30 pass from Bonifer (Simpson pass from Bonifer).
Nix — Case 20 pass from Bonifer (pass failed).
Nix — Case 12 pass from Bonifer (Case pass from Bonifer).
C-W — Justin Irzyk 1 run (run failed).
Nix — Joe Crawford 13 pass from Bonifer (Crawford pass from Bonifer).
C-W — Irzyk 50 run (Irzyk run).
C-W — Austin Fennern 50 run (Fennern run).
Nix — Simpson 65 run (Shad Sather run).
First downs 8 19
Rushes/yards 45-255 15-295
Passing yards 0 463
Passes (att-comp-int) 10-0-1 34-29-1
Punts 1-25 1-35
Fumbles-lost 3-3 1-0
RUSHING — Condon-Wheeler: MacInnes 4-(-18), Fennern 26-161, Sharp 1-1, Shaffer 9-58, Irzyk 15-135; Nixyaawii: Bonifer 11-190, Simpson 3-100, Sather 1-5.
PASSING — Condon-Wheeler: McKenna 0-5-0; Irzyk 0-2-0; Schaffer 0-3-1. Nixyaawii: Bonifer 29-34-1, 463 yards, 7 touchdowns.
RECEIVING — Condon-Wheeler: none; Nixyawwii: Case 15-289-4, Simpson 7-97-2, Crawford 7-83-1.