Vale football players celebrate a touchdown during the 2018 "Black and Blue" bowl in Nyssa. This year the bowl game will be played in Vale, Friday at 7 p.m. (The Enterprise/File).

VALE – Nyssa football coach Lee Long already knows Friday night’s match up with Vale will carry just a little bit more significance than a normal prep game.

“We are going to have our hands full,” said Long.

Long will lead the 4-1 Bulldogs onto the field at Hawley Stadium for the annual “Black and Blue” rivalry game with the Vikings. 

“This game is always important,” said Long. “It is a rivalry game. It’s just a great high school football experience.”

The Bulldogs will hit the grass Friday after they clinched their first league win – a 22-7 triumph over Umatilla – last week. The game against Nyssa will be Vale’s first league match up and will cap a week of homecoming festivities. 

“It is always a fun atmosphere,” said Long.

The bowl game, now in its second year, will feature a wagon wheel trophy that goes to the winner. 

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For the past year, the trophy sat in the Vale High School trophy case after the Vikings beat Nyssa, 20-10, in the 2018 Black and Blue game. 

Vale (2-3) will open Friday’s contest coming off a bitter 65-12 loss to Homedale last week. Viking coach Jeff Aldred said Nyssa is a team that can’t be overlooked.

“They do not make a lot of mistakes, especially defensively,” said Aldred.

Aldred said the Vikings will need to keep their focus.

“We need to play with a heck of a lot more intensity,” said Aldred. Aldred said he didn’t feel his team played with the right amount of passion against Homedale. 

“We have to improve our toughness,” said Aldred.

Nyssa hasn’t lost a game since a 40-0 loss to Baker Sept. 6. Since then, the Bulldogs defeated Idaho teams New Plymouth and Payette and Oregon’s Lakeview. Vale, on the other hand, is finally out of a grueling three-game stint that included games against Idaho powerhouses Gooding and Weiser. 

Reporter Pat Caldwell: pat@malheurenterprise.comor 541-473-3377.

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