WALLA WALLA - Wa-Hi did enough things to both win and lose its season-opening high school football game with Hermiston Friday night at Borleske Stadium.
On the positive side, running back Jonah Hoe rushed for 155 yards while quarterback Dakota Turner hooked up with wide receiver Moe Handcox for touchdowns of 2 and 57 yards.
But in the end, the negatives went a long way to doom the Blue Devils during a 28-21 setback.
Wa-Hi was penalized nine times for 60 yards, and suffered a lost fumble, interception and blocked punt. Defensively, it yielded 208 yards rushing and a pair of Alex Campbell-to-Alex Ortiz scoring throws in the second half.
Running back Bobby Adams gained 157 yards on 23 totes for Hermiston.
Friday's triumph was the Bulldogs' third straight over the Blue Devils. Hermiston won at home last season, 32-17, and beat Wa-Hi, 27-23, at Borleske Stadium in 2009.
"It was a good game. What's new with Walla Walla?" Hermiston coach Mark Hodges asked afterward. "When you play them, you always know it is going to be a great game. They always have a classy team with good athletes. I hope we keep opening with them every year.
"It was great to be in this kind of atmosphere," said Hodges, whose team fielded nine new starters on offense and seven on defense in the contest.
Wa-Hi coach Eric Hisaw - making his debut as head Blue Devil - was down, but not discouraged, after the game.
"I'm disappointed for the kids," Hisaw said. "They played hard and played well. They were resilient and battled, though we had chances to fold. Kids were leading in the huddle and on the sideline. They were not letting the negative things snowball."
The Blue Devils opened the game with a 66-yard, eight-play drive that ended with the game's first touchdown - the initial hookup of the night between Turner and Handcox. The 2-yard pass, and the first three PAT kicks by Dean Atkinson, gave Wa-Hi a 7-0 lead at the 9:18 mark of quarter one.
Wa-Hi's first series was aided by three Hermiston penalties totaling 35 yards - including two 15-yard infractions.
The Bulldogs' first possession went three-and-out. Blue Devil linebacker Logan Reardon batted down a Campbell pass in the left flat on third-and-5 at the Hermiston 39-yard line - a pass break-up that forced a punt.
Hermiston took advantage of a Blue Devil bobble early in the second quarter and tied the score on a 1-yard run by Zach Studer with 10:10 on the clock.
Studer crossed the goal line from 7 yards out just 3:42 before halftime to give the Bulldogs their first lead, 13-7.
But Turner found Handcox streaking down the left sideline for a 57-yard strike with 1:39 remaining to put Wa-Hi up, 14-13, at intermission.
The Bulldogs drove 68 yards following the second-half kickoff. Campbell hit Ortiz from 20 yards out to, coupled with a 2-point conversion from Studer, put Hermiston in front, 21-14, at the 10:12 mark of period three.
Hoe bobbed and weaved his way 82 yards on the ensuing kickoff before being hauled down at the Hermiston 13. Gabe Porter crashed into the end zone from 8 yards away a couple of plays later to knot the score at 21-21 with 9:10 to go.
But Campbell would team up with Ortiz for a 57-yard pitch-and-catch less than a minute later - at the 8:15 mark - for what proved to be the game-deciding score.
Hermiston had a chance to expand its lead late in the fourth quarter, but turned the ball over on downs at the Wa-Hi 9 after an 11-play, 65-yard march. Blue Devil linebacker Rob Ferenz led a defensive charge that stopped Studer a yard short of a first down on the last snap of the series.
"That goal-line stand is something we're going to build on," Hisaw said. "We found a way to dig deep."
Wa-Hi drove to its 49 on its final possession, but went no further.
The Bulldogs displayed a balanced offensive attack in the second half. Hermiston gained 116 yards on the ground and 113 more in the air.
"They found something we couldn't stop," Hisaw said.
Defensively, Hermiston held the Blue Devils to 92 yards in the second half.
Wa-Hi travels to Kennewick this Friday to oppose Southridge. Game time is 8 p.m.
Hermiston 28, Wa-Hi 21
Hermiston 0 13 15 0 - 28
Wa-Hi 7 7 7 0 - 21
Wa-Hi - Handcox 2 pass from Turner (Atkinson kick).
Hermiston - Studer 1 run (Munsterman kick).
Hermiston - Studer 7 run (kick failed).
Wa-Hi - Handcox 57 pass from Turner (Atkinson kick).
Hermiston - Ortiz 20 pass from Campbell (Studer run).
Wa-Hi - Porter 8 run (Atkinson kick).
Hermiston - Ortiz 57 pass from Campbell (Munsterman kick).
First downs 17 17
Rushes/yards 37-208 42-164
Passing yards 159 98
Passes (att-comp-int) 9-19-1 6-17-1
Punts 1-33 2-17.5
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-yards 9-84 9-60
RUSHING - Hermiston: Adams 23-157, Studer 12-55, Team 2-(-4); Wa-Hi: Hoe 28-155, Handcox 1-17, Porter 2-13, Wickham 1-1, Team 2-(-7), Turner 8-(-15).
PASSING - Hermiston: Campbell 9-19-1, 159 yards, 2 TDs; Wa-Hi: Turner 5-15-1, 94 yards, 2 TDs, Handcox 1-2-0, 4 yards, 0 TDs.
RECEIVING - Hermiston: Cardenas 4-43, Ortiz 3-90-2, Ayers 1-24, Posada 1-2; Wa-Hi: Rowley 3-22, Handcox 2-59-2, Jameson 1-17.