Ontario's Seth Forstyth (81) and Colton Seal (2) fight to bring down a La Grande player Oct. 4 in La Grande. (photo submitted by Lauri Babcock).
LA GRANDE – Ontario football coach Erik Johnson summed last week’s game against La Grande in one succinct sentence.
“We got taken to the woodshed,” said Johnson.
La Grande piled up 448 yards of offense and blew open a close came in the second quarter by scoring 28 points to post a 49-12 Greater Oregon League win Oct. 4.
“They came out to play and we didn’t,” said Johnson.
La Grande quarterback Parker Robinson was 8 of 13 for 115 yards and tossed four touchdown passes against a banged-up Tiger squad.
Robinson’s play was a key, said Johnson.
“He was healthy and that was the big difference,” said Johnson.
Ontario quarterback Kenji Teramura finished 8 of 22 for 119 yards and one touchdown but was picked off twice by the Tigers. Ontario’s typically robust defense couldn’t stop the Tiger attack, said Johnson.
“There was no spark. Our defense is high-octane and there wasn’t that spark,” said Johnson.
The game stands in stark contrast to an earlier meeting between the two teams. In September Ontario rolled over La Grande, 35-14.
Johnson said Ontario was missing several key players because of injuries but he didn’t want to use that as an excuse.
“The biggest thing was that they came to play, they poked us in the chest,” said Johnson.
Ontario finished the night with 251 total yards, including 132 on the ground.
Johnson said the lopsided loss is his responsibility.
“My job is not only schematically but also motivating players and they didn’t come out ready to go. To be honest that is my job,” said Johnson.
Initially it looked like Ontario was back to its swift scoring ways. Ontario took a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter on Teramura’s 34-yard touchdown toss to Seth Forstyth.
La Grande opened a scoring binge in the second quarter, racking up four touchdowns for a 28-6 advantage at intermission.
Ontario scored for the last time in the third quarter on Brandon Rodriguez’s six-yard.
Despite the lopsided loss, Johnson said he isn’t pushing the panic button.
“I preached to the players the game is football is about consistency, a short-term memory and who is next,” said Johnson.
Baker is next for the Tigers (3-1) and Johnson said that contest won’t be easy.
“Baker always plays us well, especially the second time around,” said Johnson.
Ontario defeated Baker 42-19 last month.
“We have go to come out ready to play or it will be a long game,” said Johnson.
The Tigers face Baker Friday at 7 p.m. at Ontario High School.
Reporter Pat Caldwell: firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-473-3377.