LA GRANDE - The Mac-Hi Pioneers' spirits were crushed during a 42-21 defeat to the La Grande Tigers in a Greater Oregon League football matchup here Friday.
The biggest play of the game for Mac-Hi's biggest play of the game came in the fourth quarter on an 88-yard touchdown pass from Chase Copenhaver to Brayden Moeller.
"Brayden had a great catch and played well on defense," Mac-Hi coach Chuck Pease said.
The Pioneers fought hard all game long and trailed by just a touchdown at halftime, 14-7.
Mac-Hi was at the half-yard line when they turned it over on downs just seconds before the intermission.
In fact, it was one of four scoreless chances the Pioneers had in the red zone.
"We had real trouble inside their 15-yard line," Pease said. "We missed passes and had mistakes blocking in the running game when trying to score the touchdowns. That hurt us a lot."
Besides the long pass to Moeller, Copenhaver accounted for two other Mac-Hi touchdowns. Copenhaver ran for a 5-yarder in the second quarter and threw a 2-yarder to Patrick Sheets in the third quarter.
"Chase Copenhaver has done a great job filling in as a sophomore at the quarterback position," Pease said.
The leading rusher for Mac-Hi was Francisco Saldana with 55 yards on nine carries.
Tavis Hodgen, praised by Pease for "having several good, critical first down runs," carried the ball five times for 17 yards.
For the Tigers, Eric Jacobs ran in two touchdowns and caught another.
"Overall, it was an emotional, hard-hitting and high-strung game," Pease said.
The Pioneers racked up 154 yards on the ground as a team, utilizing six different runners.
The passing game also had success with two tosses for scores and 120 yards on the night.
Mac-Hi, now 0-2 in the GOL, has a home game against Ontario next Friday at 7 p.m.
If the Pioneers win, they will likely find themselves in a three-way tie for two playoff spots. The OSAA rankings would likely be the deciding factor in who does or does not make the postseason.
La Grande 42, Mac-Hi 21
Mac 0 7 7 7 - 21
La 14 0 14 14 - 42
LaG - Sofe 12 run (2 pt. failed).
La G - Jacobs 45 pass from Waite (Sofe run).
Mac - Copenhaven 5 run (Saldana kick).
LaG - Jacobs 8 run (Haynes kick).
LaG - Jacobs 9 run (Haynes kick).
Mac - Sheets 2 pass from Copenhaven (Saldana kick).
LaG - Peasley 6 run (Haynes kick).
Mac - Moeller 88 pass from Copenhaven (Saldana kick).
LaG - Sofe 16 pass from Waite (Sofe kick).
First downs 12
Passing yards 120
Passes (att-com-int) 6-22-2
RUSHING - Mac: Saldana 9-51, Sheets 2-6, Hodgen 5-17, Morris 7-33, Copenhaver 8-43, Dombrosky 1-4.
PASSING - Mac: Copenhaver 6-22-1, 120 yards, 1 TD.
RECEIVING - Mac: Sheets 4-30-1, Moeller 1-88-1, Saldana 1-2.