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November 26, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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Section 2 November 26, 2015 Cheney Free Press Eagles out of playoffs after 34-31 loss By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter December will be a little differ- ent this year. Portland State's 34-31 Big Sky Conference football win last Sat- urday, Nov. 21, at Roos Field over Eastern Washington ended the Eagles" season. Eastern finished its season 6-5 overall and 5-3 in the Big Sky Con- ference, and ended with a three- game losing streak in November. Their elimination from the playoffs was just their second in the last six seasons since winning the 2010 Football Championship Subdivi- sion title. The Eagles finished with the school's 18th winning season in the last 20 years (1996-2015). With an 9-2 record on the sea- son, and 6-2 in conference play the Vikings finished second to Southern Utah (7-1 Big Sky), earned a first- round bye in the FCS playoffs and were a perfect 2-0 in their road trips to the Eastern part of Washington state after their stunning 24-17 win at WSU to open the season. "It was a hard-fought game and went back and forth,." Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin said. Perhaps more difficult was Bald- win having to watch a talented and record-setting senior class play its final game. "This senior class you can argue in a four-year span, three Big Sky titles, the record they've put up, winning a number of playoff games along the way -- in "12, "13, "14 -- I would argue there aren't many four year runs any better than that," Baldwin said. Eastern's inability to stop dam- aging turnovers, and their not being able to keep PSU from converting at will on third down, turned this game in favor of the Vikings. The Vikings scored moments after a fumble by Simba Webster on the opening kickoff gave them the ball on Eastern's 11 yard line. David Jones ran it in from the 11 and following a missed point-after, PSU led 6-0 with just 48 seconds gone. Portland State closed out the victory by running the final 5 min- Photo by Paul Delaney EWU defender Zach Bruce and Portland State's Cam Sommer tumble to the turf with ball in the air in Saturday's game. Sommer was able to corral the ball for a touchdown that gave his team a 27-17 lead in the third quarter of the Vikings' eventual 34-31 win. utes, 38 seconds off the clock after Todd collected a pair of big second down Raynes capped his senior season with a makes that kept the clock running 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown until they ran the "victory formation" that trimmed a 34-24 Portland State twice deep in EWU territory. lead and gave the crowd of 8,649 some Eastern recovered quickly from its hope. early bobble and led 7-6 when Kend- On a day when the Vikings converted rick Bourne raced 63 yards on a trick an incredible 13 of 17 third downs - 78 play, a pitch from Jabari Wilson with percent - they were perfect in the final minutes with two of those, but they also See EWU football page 2 FROM NEWS SERVICE REPORTS In a game delayed 18 hours due to a furi- ous windstorm that ravaged the region and darkened all of Cheney last Tuesday, junior forward Felix Von Hofe, lit up Reese Court with a career- high 25 points to lead Eastern Washington to a 76-70 nonconfer- ence men's basketball victory Nov. 18 over Seattle University. Contributed photo from EWU Felix Von Hole led Eastern with a career-high 25 points versus Seattle University. Originally sched- game was played the uled for Nov. 17, the following afternoon in frontof a crowd of over 12 good looks - he 2,100 who watched didn't take a bad shot Von Hofe hit 7 of 12 - he's going to make from the 3-point line, them." and 8 of 15 overall. The Senior graduate Australian eclipsed his transfer Austin McB- previous career high of room contributed 16 23 against Sacramento points for the Eagles. State in last year's Big Sophomore guard Sir Sky Conference Tour- Washington was the nament, fourth EWU p.layer in "I don't know if double figures with11 it's special, but it's points, making a pair what I expect him to of 3-pointers. Sopho- do," EWU head coach more BogdanBliznyuk Jim Hayford said. "If the team gives him See EWU men page 2 ins Sl By PAUL DELANEY second put-back bas- but Eastern closed the was the only other Ea- The Eagles con- Staff Reporter ket in a 61-60 loss at period on a 7-2 run to gle in double figures trolled the ball, finish- The Eastern Wash-Reese. cut the hosts' lead to with 14 points. Ellie ing with a season low ington women's bas- "I think the lastnine, 52-43. Tinkle, the player who 10 turnovers, while ketball team earned second (in 2014) hurtBut the final min- hit the winning shot last their defense forced 18 a split in a pair of more," Schuller said. utes proved costly as December, ledGonzaga CSUN turnovers. preseason games last "Last night hurt, deft- Schuller saw fatigue with 15 points. Eastern, 3-1, will week falling to local nitely, but our kids set in and youth suc-In their return home, be put to the test this rival Gonzaga 78-56 gave a great amountcumb to a senior-rich the Eagles trailed only week as they travel Nov. 19 in Spokane be- of effort." GU team that put the briefly before the sis- to Austin, Texas, for fore topping Cal State The Eagles out- game away with a 26- ter act once again took the Lone Star Show- Northridge 70-59 Nov. played theBulldogsfor 13 edge in the fourth control, case, Nov. 26,28. The 22 at Reese Court. stretches over the first quarter. Delaney Hodgins Eagles will play three For Eagles' head three quarters, taking Delaney Hodgins was the Eagles leading opponents, Northwest- coach Wendy Schuller a 14-10 lead after the led all scorers with 18 scorerversusthevisiting ern, East Carolina and the loss to Gonzaga, opening 10 minutes points on 6-of-8 shoot- Matadors with a career- Creighton. while disappointing, and was within seven, ing. She added fourhigh 20 points. Hayley P a u l D e I a n e y was not as painful as 32-25, at the half. GU steals and three re- Hodgins chipped in can be reached at the 2014 version where led by as many as 15 bounds to her stat line. with 18 and Tisha Phil- pdelaney@~ss. the Bulldogs got a last- in the third quarter, Sister Hayley Hodgins lips added 12. com. Gray's rodeo season swiftly slid sideways Kick to face KO'd former Cheney resident's rodeo season By PAUL DELANEY Staff Reporter So much can happen in just eight seconds. There are plenty of people who can likely attest to that after last Tuesday's wild windstorm~~~.r,._.t~t~,[~; where trees toppled~~ ~"~ and tragically, lives were lost and others thrown into disarray. While somewhat pale in comparison, that relatively short span of time turned Cheney High School grad Ryan Gray's return to the upcom- ing National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas upside down this past summer. Riding well in Juneand July and ris- ing swiftly in the Pro Rodeo Cowboy's Association bareback standings the injury bug bit, and as fast he was flying, Gray was grounded. He won at Pecos, Texas June 30 and won nearly $16,000 in the weeks sur- rounding. That moved Gray from 11th to sixth in the money standings, the determining factor in qualifying for the NFR. A rib injury that he was unable to pin- point took Gray largely out contention. "They just kind of popped loose, I'd done it before," Gray said. "It's probably one of the most painful injuries for my event and I had to fight through it." "I'd separated some ribs and kindat' fought that for three weeks," he said. "Half of August I didn't work." Gray suffered the same injury be- fore but did not have to ride. This time, however, he had no choice if he were to have hope of returning to the NFR, this year scheduled for Dec 3-12, 2015. Gray missed the cut in 2014 big time, finish- ing 59th after undergoing abdominal surgery. "I had to pick and choose where I could go," he said. Gray had to turn down a number of rodeos that might have served to send him to Las Vegas. When he did compete he admittedly did not ride well because all the core strength was where the injury is. "I won a little bit and it slowly started to get better," Gray said. By the end of August, Gray was pretty much back to as normal as a bareback rid- er's body can. This year the 32-year-old cowboy, who currently resides near Rear- dan with his wife, Lacy, and son Ransom, rebounded quickly in the stretch drive, which for rodeo is September, the final month of any given PRCA season. At the Labor Day weekend Ellens- burg Rodeo things started well as he won $10,000 in the early going. "I started feeling good, riding good and then got kicked in the face," Gray said. The kick shattered his eye socket and broke eight boneS in hiS face. He was essentially able to walk away, but right to the hospital. Surgery was required as Gray had two plates put in his face. It was just kind of a freak deal, Gray said. "I'm really fortunate, God's really had a hand in this," Gray said. "It could have been a lot worse, I'm really thankful." Following the accident Gray was supposed to take thee weeks off. But the damage had already been done so he made one more attempt at sliding into the top-15 for the NFR. "I tried getting on that last week, there were three rodeos and I had a shot," Gray said. He had a special facemask made for protection, hoping to earn about $10,000. Gray rode in Amarillo, Omaha and Stevensville, Mont. He won several thousand dollars, which, in the end was not enough as Gray finished 18th, about $8,300 out of a potential 'Vegas payday. Kaycee Feild's $118,145 topped bareback winnings. As the old adage say, if bucked off a horse you have to jump back on, and Gray's doing just that. See Crunch Time page 3