Bulldogs bite the Honkers at homecoming game

No. 20 Caleb Benson goes for the ball at the Nyssa vs. Lakeview game. Benson piled on 113 yards and scored a touchdown. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

NYSSA – A lot can change in 14 days.

Just ask the Nyssa football team.

Two weeks ago, the Baker Bulldogs rolled into town and used a punishing running game and tough defense to hand the home team a demoralizing 40-0 defeat in a non-league contest.

That night, the football gods conspired against the Bulldogs. They couldn’t throw, couldn’t run and spent the night trying to plug holes in a porous defense.

Fast forward to Friday night. All the intangibles that haunted the Bulldogs against Baker evaporated as they faced Lakeview in a non-league prep football tilt.

It was as if the Baker game never happened.

The Bulldogs used a balanced attack and nearly mistake-free football to pummel the Honkers 42-8. 

Caleb Benson piled up 113 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Landon McDowall finished the night 10 of 13 for 129 yards and tossed for two scores as the Bulldogs took control early and never looked back.

“We came out hot finally. Had a lot better execution. We had dudes playing hard-nosed football tonight,” said Nyssa senior tight end Elijah Cleaver.

Cleaver said the Bulldogs didn’t take anything for granted against the Honkers.

“It could have gone a whole bunch of different ways. They have a good defensive line. We just had to go and handle our business,” said Cleaver.

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The Bulldogs began to handle their business right from the start, building a 7-0 lead by the end of the first quarter then exploding for four touchdowns in the second quarter for a 35-0 advantage at halftime.

“I am very pleased we are getting better executing and I feel like we are getting better,” said Nyssa coach Lee Long.

Nyssa’s balance proved decisive during its second-quarter scoring burst. The Honkers struggled to match the Bulldogs intensity in the first half, said Lakeview coach Rick Stupak.

“Our game plan got a little beat up in the first half. We were, though, able to settle down in the second half,” said Stupak.

The Honkers fumbled five times during the game and Nyssa amassed 261 total rushing yards. Lakeview finished the night with 86 rushing yards.

Dayton Alves paced the Honkers with 56 yards rushing.

After Santiago Miranda put the home team ahead 7-0 in the first frame on his 14-yard scamper, McDowall hooked up with Pedro Chavez with 11:21 to go in the second stanza to put Nyssa ahead 14-0.

After that it was a like a bomb going off for Lakeview, as Nyssa’s offense kicked into high gear.

Benson pushed Nyssa ahead 21-0 with his touchdown run at the 8:55 mark of the second quarter then scored a second touchdown with 5:29 to go in the half for a 28-0 Bulldog lead. McDowall’s 31-yard scoring strike to Teagan Moody just before halftime pushed Nyssa ahead 35-0. 

Neither team generated much offense in the third quarter, though Nyssa’s defense continued to dominate, and Benson’s 27-yard touchdown run early in the final frame clinched the win for Nyssa.

Lakeview’s only score came from early in the fourth. 

“Hopefully it will be a good learning experience for us. We got young in a hurry out there,” said Stupak.

Nyssa will face Payette at Payette Friday at 7 p.m.

Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] 541-473-3377.

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