Klamath Union varsity football knew its set of back-to-back rival games against Henley and Mazama was going to be its most difficult stretch of the season.

Tests against No. 1 Mazama and No. 3 Henley came, and in the 44th annual Canal Bowl at Modoc Field, Klamath Union fell to the Vikings, 57-10.

Mazama was relentless from the start, and scored in the first 15 seconds of the game. A late hit off a kickoff return from KU brought a penalty and put the Vikings right at the middle of the field, which running back Treyce Horton took advantage of for the game’s first score.

Mazama scored again on its next series and led 18-0 midway through the first quarter but not before the Pelicans caused a small ruckus.

Klamath Union put some frustration in the faces of the Vikings by coming up with three positive offensive plays.

The first came from the hands of senior quarterback Wayce Saluskin, who was not fazed on third down and found wide receiver Tony Ortiz for a 36-yard pass that brought the Pelicans into Viking territory.

Ortiz slipped past Mazama defensive back Tyler Aguiar for the opportunistic catch as he reached over his head to snag the football.

Back-to-back runs by senior running back Jett Johnson brought the Pelicans near the red zone. Johnson’s first run, an 11-yard run, inched his team closer and an 8-yard run was just as important.

Mazama’s defense halted the Pelican run and Ortiz connected on a 34-yard field goal to put his team on the scoreboard.

The Vikings had their way for the rest of the matchup and scored 39 unanswered points before Saluskin and Ortiz connected from the air once again.

Ahead of Mazama defensive back Alfred Del Castillo by several steps, Ortiz ran toward the right side of the field and caught a pass from Saluskin for a 70-yard touchdown.

Saluskin is in his first year with the Pelicans after having transferred from Oakridge.

“What I was talking about in the locker room about how they brought me into their brotherhood and I give my love, honor and respect to all of these men,” Saluskin said.

The catch by Ortiz was the first touchdown the Vikings had given up in four weeks. For Ortiz, it was the perfect way to end his final home game and ultimately, his final time stepping off the turf at Modoc Field.

“Seniors, you should remember it. This is what I wanted. I wanted you guys to play hard the entire time and you did and I loved it,” KU head coach Tom Smith said. “For all you seniors have done for me as a coach, for all you have inspired me … you guys have inspired me to coach harder and harder every single week.”

“Even those moments when coaches get and think ‘man, here we go. Then as soon as I dive into it I am thinking, I am going harder this week than I did last week. We had two days to get ready for this. The seniors are going to walk off this field having played their last game on this field as a KU Pelican. I absolutely, truly love you guys. I needed this. You guys needed this.”

The Pelicans will play at 7 p.m. next Friday in a non-league game against Philomath.

Klamath Union football varsity seniors

No. 7 Wayce Saluskin, 5-11, 190 pounds, quarterback, linebacker

No. 10 Tony Ortiz, 6-2, 185 pounds , wide receiver, defensive back

No. 11 Javan Zumwalt, 6-0, 185 pounds, wide receiver, defensive back

No. 17 Leonard Atchley, 5-10, 165 pounds, running back, linebacker

No. 67 Andrew Morris, 5-11, 220 pounds, offensive and defensive lineman

No. 75 Indrani Espinoza, 6-0, 210 pounds, offensive and defensive lineman

No. 75 Hayden Smith, 6-3, 295 pounds, offensive and defensive lineman

Canal Bowl, Senior Night photos from Thursday night's football game.