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Bulldogs' game-winning field goal attempt from 43 yards falls short as time expires

PHIL HAWKINS - Woodburn quarterback R.J. Veliz erupts into the secondary for a 30-yard gain, setting up the Bulldogs' for their opening touchdown of the game in the second quarter.
It was difficult to tell which played better defense on Friday night at Woodburn High School: the visiting Riverhawks from The Dalles or the weather.

Faced with blistering winds that neutralized much of the Woodburn football team's passing game, along with a stalwart Riverhawk defense that countered Bulldog tailback Dyontae Navarrete, Woodburn dropped its homecoming game 14-13 to fall to 4-2 overall after starting the season with four consecutive wins.

After the two teams opened the game by going scoreless in the first quarter, Woodburn struck the opening blow midway through the second after starting its drive at the 50-yard mark.

Quarterback R.J. Veliz found an opening for 30 yards, along with an extra 10 tacked on at the end of the play due to a personal foul on The Dalles, putting Woodburn 10 yards from the goal line.

Three plays later, Veliz found teammate Freddie Diaz for a two-yard score to put the Bulldogs up 7-0 with 4:32 left in the half.

But that was plenty of time for The Dalles to answer. The Riverhawks countered with a 59-yard drive that included two fourth-down conversions, the latter of which was a 20-yard touchdown pass from Gabe Helseth to Ty'Jean Green on 4th-and-15 to tie the game at 7-7 as both teams went into the locker room for halftime.

The Riverhawks started the third quarter right where they left off, taking the opening possession 91 yards in four minutes for a five-yard touchdown run by Helseth to make it 14-7.

Woodburn's response was to mount a touchdown drive of their own, taking advantage of a pass interference call in the end zone against The Dalles on fourth down into a fresh set of plays, which Veliz converted into a 12-yard touchdown with 3:33 left in the third quarter.

But the ensuing point-after attempt was no good, and the Bulldogs sat one-point back.

The two teams traded drives and turnovers over the final 15 minutes, but Woodburn's final attempt to win the game — a 43-yard field goal attempt as time expired — went askew, and The Dalles left the field the victors.

Veliz led the Bulldogs offensively, carrying the ball 20 times for 177 yards and touchdown, but was held to 3-of-17 passing for 21 yards and the touchdown to Diaz.

Navarrete had 24 carries for 63 yards in the loss.

Woodburn (4-2, 1-2 Special District 2) moves on to play at Crook County (3-3, 1-3 SD2) in Prineville at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Phil Hawkins can be reached at 503-765-1194 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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