MILTON-FREEWATER — Chase Copenhaver started the game with a bang, but the McLoughlin High School football team could not keep up with Nyssa here Friday.
On the first play from scrimmage, Pioneer quarterback Copenhaver took a read-option 70 yards to the house to give Mac-Hi an early 6-0 lead.
Unfortunately, the Pioneers (3-3) could not keep up with Nyssa’s high-powered attack as they fell 66-13.
The Pioneers racked up 204 yards on the ground, with Copenhaver accounting for 141 of them.
“My line did a great job,” Copenhaver said of his 70-yard scamper. “Our left guard, Gregory Moreno, he did awesome. He let his guy go and took out the linebackers. There was no one there to tackle me. No one touched me.”
Nyssa responded on the following drive, however, as Dalton Conant hauled in a three-yard touchdown pass from Austin Wagstaff.
Nyssa then turned a Copenhaver interception into points, as running back Austin Castro broke off a 41-yard touchdown run down the left side of the field.
Mac-Hi had its hands full with Castro all night. He torched the Pioneers to the tune of 213 rushing yards and four scores.
“He’s a big bruising back,” Mac-Hi head coach Tim Hutchison said of Castro. “He runs his feet and he runs behind his shoulder pads. That’s what you want a running back to do. They’re a small line, but they’re quick — they fire off and they get him a hole.”
The Pioneers took the lead back on the ensuing drive, as Copenhaver found junior Jacob Podolski for a 40-yard touchdown pass. Podolski went up in between two defenders to nab the pass and then broke one tackle on his way into the endzone.
But that would be the last points the Pioneers would score, as Nyssa responded with a pair of touchdowns from Castro to take a 26-13 lead.
Wagstaff extended the lead, as he found tight end John Bates over the middle for a 19-yard touchdown pass, as Nyssa ended the first quarter up 32-13.
Hutchison said it was difficult to keep up with the Bulldogs’ offense, as small mistakes doomed the Pioneers.
“If you can’t keep them from scoring and your offense is always back on the ball — a penalty here, a missed block here — it kills drives,” Hutchison said. “The offense was moving it effectively and then you’d have a mistake. If one guy doesn’t do his job it can mess the whole play up.”
Mac-Hi got a boost on Nyssa’s first drive of the second quarter, as Copenhaver, who doubles as a free safety, intercepted Wagstaff in the endzone.
“I don’t know what the quarterback saw but I read it the whole way,” Copenhaver said. “He was staring the receiver down and I jumped in front and picked it off.”
Copenhaver finished the game with three interceptions and a fumble recovery on defense.
But the defense simply could not contain the Bulldogs’ big plays. After Mac-Hi surrendered a safety, Wagstaff connected with Andruw Clark for a 51-yard touchdown pass.
Nyssa forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession and then connected on another 50-yard score, this time from Wagstaff to Conant, to give the Bulldogs a 50-13 lead.
Mac-Hi’s offensive line had its hands full with the Bulldogs’ defense, as they constantly dialed up pressure on Copenhaver. Nyssa got three interceptions, as Hutchison said his line, which features three sophomores, simply could not keep up with the Bulldogs’ pass rush.
“They brought a lot of heat,” Hutchison said. “They were really good at disguising where they were bringing heat from. Our line had a little bit of trouble picking it up. They weren’t reading as well as they should have when they should have been picking stuff up.”
Mac-Hi opens Greater Oregon League play next week, as the Pioneers host Ontario for homecoming. Hutchison said his team must move on from the loss and begin preparing for conference play.
“We’re so young and these young kids played their butts off,” Hutchison said. “They’re close here and there to being really good. We just got to go back to work and keep getting better every week.”
Nyssa 66, Mac-Hi 13
Nyssa 32 18 8 8 — 66
Mac-Hi 13 0 0 0 — 13
Mac — Copenhaver 70 run (XP no good)
Nys — Conant 3 pass from Wagstaff (2-pt no good)
Nys — Castro 41 run (2-pt no good)
Mac — Podolski 40 pass from Copenhaver (Birdwell XP good)
Nys — Castro 7 run (Conant 2-pt pass from Wagstaff)
Nys — Castro 28 run (2-pt no good)
Nys — Bates 19 pass from Wagstaff (2-pt no good)
Nys — Copenhaver sacked for safety
Nys — Clark 51 pass from Wagstaff (Buchholz 2-pt run)
Nys — Conant 50 pass from Wagstaff (Castro 2-pt run)
Nys — Stipe 72 interception return (Castro 2-pt run)
Nys — Castro 23 run (Castro 2-pt run)
First Downs 14 11
Rushes-Yards 32-267 29-204
Passing Yards 316 212
Passes (Att-Comp-Int) 24-14-3 26-11-3
Punts 0 2-36
Fumbles-lost 3-1 3-2
Penalties-Yards 5-50 7-71
RUSHING — Nys: Castro 19-213-4, Wagstaff 7-41, Simpson 2-1, Buchholz 4-12; Mac: Copenhaver 14-141-1, Yensen 8-36, Podolski 7-27.
PASSING — Nys: Wagstaff 24-14-3, 316 yards, 4 TDs; Mac: Copenhaver 26-11-3, 212 yards, 1 TD.
RECEIVING — Nys: Clark 3-67-1, Conant 5-153-2, Bates 3-58-1, Castellanoz 1-29, Buchholz 2-9. Mac: Barnhart 2-20, Podolski 5-117-1, H. Yensen 4-75.