Eastern Oregon hybrid league is confusing

VALE – This year, we have a shortened football season combined with a new 3A/4A hybrid league. With only two or a single game in the books, certain things are very clear while others are clear as mud.

La Grande Tigers (1-0) – From all we heard, the defending 4A state champions were to be down this year after the graduation of a large group of seniors in May. From the film we saw on the Nyssa game, we were informed incorrectly. The Tigers are blazing fast on both sides of the ball and obviously had the underclassmen to replace those who graduated. Although the Tigers have only played a single game, at this time La Grande appears to be the class of the hybrid league. The Tigers travel to Vale on Friday.

Nyssa (1-1) – The Bulldogs opened the season with a blowout 46-14 victory over Ontario only to turn around and be drilled by La Grande, 8-42. The Bulldogs can run the ball against defenses and showed speed against Ontario. The Nyssa defense was stout game one and porous game two. We will see if Nyssa can bounce back as Lee and the Dawgs head to Baker on Friday.

Ontario (1-1) – There appears to be two Ontario Tigers football teams. One is the team that allowed Nyssa to run all over the field, picking up five or ten yards a carry and score at will. The second Ontario team allowed Vale to move the ball, but completely shut down the Viking run game when it mattered. Against Nyssa, Ontario appeared tired and slow in the second half. Against the Vikings, Ontario was fired up and making plays. The Nyssa game may have been first game jitters, but we should know more after Friday as Ontario travels to unbeaten Marshfield in non-league action.

Vale (1-1) – Until last Friday, Vale had not seen defeat at the hands of Ontario since 2018. Vale has been and always will be a run team. Down and with a few minutes left in the game, the Vikings are not designed for a “two-minute drill” to move the ball quickly. Vale is set up to pound the ball and grind out the yards. The test for the Vikings will be Friday when La Grande is in town.

Baker (0-2) – With only two games on the books, here is the shocker. Baker is 0-2 and 0-1 in league with losses to Vale and North Bend. After a stellar season last year and few seniors graduating, the word was Baker was to be the team to beat this season. Baker could get back on track on Friday as Nyssa is in town for a Bulldog/Bulldog showdown.

Burns – Hilanders, we miss you.

One final word-with just a few practices for all the teams, injuries will play a major part in this short season. By the last game of the season for all the teams, plan on seeing freshman and sophomores on the field filling in.