EOU has Fishermen connection

Andy Hudkins and Ian Bittner, home for Thanksgiving, are both hopeful of starting for Eastern Oregon's football team next fall.<BR><I>KEVIN HEIMBIGNER photo</I>

Former Ilwaco standouts are hopeful of starting spots on Mountaineers squad next yearILWACO - Two Eastern Oregon University football players and former Ilwaco High School standouts, Ian Bittner and Andy Hudkins, were home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Both Bittner and Hudkins lettered four years for the Fishermen and both are hopeful of being named starters at EOU next season. The Mountaineers finished 26th in the country among NAIA football teams and are looking to improve next season.

Bittner said, "Our best game was when we beat the sixth best team in the country, Azusa Pacific." He played in nine of EOU's 10 games and had 1.5 sacks and 11 tackles. Bittner played on special teams and alternated at defensive end for 15 to 30 plays per game. His first year he red-shirted and last season saw playing time on special teams.

Hudkins turned out for football at Columbia Basin Community College his first year out of high school and also played semi-professional football in the Pasco area. He red-shirted at EOU this season and four times won the coveted award of "Player of the Week" on the scout team.

The pair each lettered four times on the Fishermen grid iron. Bittner is a linebacker and tight end and Hudkins is a wide receiver and defensive back. Both Ilwaco grads are majoring in business management. Bittner plans on owning his own gym and pursuing his personal trainer certification. Hudkins is undecided as what career he will choose.

Bittner and Hudkins are eager for next season to begin, but first they will have finals after the Thanksgiving break. Then it will be a steady diet of weight-lifting until spring practice at the LaGrande school.

"Watch out for EOU," they both warned as the pair is looking forward to competing successfully at the college level next football season.

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