High School Sports

Day After Report: Week 8

The playoff teams are set in the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League.

The league title comes down to one game in the 3A GSHL. Same thing with the Trico League.

Next week is going to be fun, but let’s first say goodbye to Week 8 with a special note on Hockinson football, some more detail on Skyview’s impressive win over Battle Ground, a few other notes from around the county, and maybe a tribute to the musical genius of Prince!

“If you know what I’m singing about up here,
C’mon raise your hand.”
— Purple Rain

First, though, we must start in Hockinson, with a report from Rene Ferran, as well as photos from David Fisher via our friend Dan Tilkin. (Thanks to all three of you.)

TOUCHING MOMENT IN HOCKINSON:
_MG_2741 _MG_2745

Senior Night pregame ceremonies ended on a high note when the Hawks honored their No. 1 fan.

A quartet of players presented Colton Viola, a developmentally disabled senior who has been a constant presence on the Hockinson sideline the past four years, with a letterman’s jacket.

Viola proudly donned the jacket, then with a smile as bright as the four gold footballs adorning the “H,” he high-fived his way down a gauntlet of players and cheerleaders.

He then joined the captains at midfield for the coin toss, and he stood at the 50-yard line during the anthem, the center of the “H” the players formed while standing at attention.

“He’s been with us as long as I can remember,” said senior lineman Nick Lines, who helped organize the moment. “He’s one of our biggest supporters, and he’s definitely a part of our team. We wanted to do something special for him to let him know we love him.”

SKYVIEW 44, BATTLE GROUND 24
The Storm are in the playoffs, exactly where they always believe they will be every year.

Quote of the year:
“It shows that tradition doesn’t graduate.”

Skyview wide receiver Jacob Dennis said that Friday night to our reporter at the game. I called Jacob on Saturday morning to get his reaction to the game and to talk more about those six words.

There is so much turnover in high school football. Every year, a senior class leaves, freshman, sophomore, and junior classes must step up and fill in the gaps. When Dennis was a sophomore, the Storm reached the Class 4A state title game. As a junior, after losing so many talented guys, the Storm finished second in the league behind Camas, a team that would eventually make it to the state semifinals.

Once again, the Storm had a high turnover rate. More talent gone, new talent stepping up. Only this year, things took some time to click. The Storm lost its season opener to a Class 3A team that is fighting for its playoff life. The Storm lost in Week 2 on the fluke play heard ’round ESPN. Skyview has had to rally from a double-digit deficit to beat one of its league foes. It has not come easy.

But in the end, Skyview is right where the Storm always believed they would be, in the playoffs.

“It doesn’t matter who graduates,” Dennis said. “Skyview is going to be a contender.”

Skyview will play Union in Week 9 for second place in the 4A GSHL.

The turnaround:
As pointed out, this Storm team started 0-2. Since then, its only loss has been to Camas. Considering Camas is crushing everybody, that’s not a bad loss.

“Every single time, we’ve always bounced back,” Dennis said of the season’s downs and then ups. “We’ve overcome a lot of adversity.”

He does not need a scoreboard to notice the change. He sees it in practice.

“Every week, I can tell how much more aggressive, how much more fun the sophomore guys are having, how much the juniors are stepping up,” Dennis said. “Huge improvements, everybody. The line. The skill guys. The coaches are doing a great job, too.”

That Jacob Dennis guy is doing OK, too. He came into the Battle Ground game leading the region in receiving yards. He then caught eight balls for 124 yards and three touchdowns in the game that clinched a playoff spot for the Storm. Can you say clutch?

Some love for the Tigers:
Battle Ground did not break into The Big Three, did not get the signature win it was looking for this season. However, just the fact that a lot of people thought they could, well, that’s progress. In 2010, Battle Ground won one game, a double-overtime contest against a team that is now a 1A program. In 2010, that Battle Ground team scored 100 points for the season.

Last year, the team had a winning overall season, despite just one win in league play. This year, the Tigers won’t finish with a winning record (unless something really, really strange happens next week against Camas), but did get one more victory in league.

And, oh yes, the Tigers had the attention of the Unions and Skyviews of the 4A GSHL world.

“They have improved so much,” Dennis said of the Tigers. “That program, they really have turned that program around. They compete with everybody.”

While there will not be a playoff game for Battle Ground, the Tigers did break the school record for most points in a season. With 24 on Friday, the Tigers got to 287 points, three more than the 2003 squad.

That is a long way from 100 points in 2010.

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“Hey, I ain’t got no money,
But honey, I’m rich on personality”
— Baby I’m a Star

No, no, Prince was not singing about me. Stop. I’m not a star. But I am rich on personality!

I enjoy having my fun on Twitter. I have a little fun whenever I’m on the air. I am a frequent halftime guest with Ron Soanka for his internet radio broadcast on portlandsportsbeat.com and I give weekly updates about Southwest Washington football for a Seattle radio station. When I go to practices and games, I have fun at coaches’ and players’ expense, and they fire right back at me. Why? Because we’re guys. We have so much respect for each other, we can get away with needling each other.

Ron Soanka cannot get through half a broadcast without making fun of my obsessive disorder behavior of having every single yard accounted for in a football game. (By the way, once you learn how to stat a football game, this should be relatively easy. So, yeah, when I’m off a yard, or someone else is off a yard, I will find that yard, dammit!)

I won’t ever let an opportunity pass to remind his listeners that Ron remembers when the radio was invented.

We make fun of each other’s NFL teams. The Raiders rule, of course, despite the record in recent years, and his Chiefs are just (undefeated) jerks. That’s not even opinion. That’s fact.

So last night, on air, Ron made fun of my passion for Prince, specifically one of the best albums every produced, “Purple Rain.” (It was an inside joke because my wife had hidden this CD from my collection recently, and I finally got it back!)

I jokingly responded I’d rather be listening to Prince than watching this game. It was yet another in a series of blowouts this year. Mountain View was crushing Kelso, and I knew Mountain View would continue to crush Kelso in the second half and then I had to look forward to another blowout in the second game. (By the way, within five or 10 seconds, I believe I said it was a great game for Mountain View fans.) However, as a journalist, I’m selfish: I want a good game to write about.

Anyway, it was a simple little statement to have some on-air banter with Ron.

To one Mountain View fan, though, I offended all of Thunder nation. He was ticked at me, and told me so after the game. I thought he was joking with me at first. After all, who could take any of that stuff seriously? The man’s team won 55-0 and he’s ticked at me because of a Prince reference? I tried to explain he did not have the proper context, and to judge me on that throwaway line was unjust. He was in no mood to listen.

No, this is not an apology. There is no way to apologize to any person who walks out of his home every day just trying to find some reason to be offended.

This is more of a reminder that sports are fun. High school sports are fun, and, yes, in the proper context, can be made fun of, from time to time.

A couple weeks ago, when the lights went out at Kiggins Bowl, I tweeted that I don’t think anyone would mind if they just called the game right then. Camas was crushing Skyview. Later that night, Skyview football players retweeted me! They understood. Just having a little fun. A little personality, if you will. The Skyview players were not offended. The game had long been decided, then the lights went out. Could we PLEASE go home now?

These same Skyview players remember that I defended them when I thought some in the national media were piling on when they lost to Columbia River this year on that bizarre play that still is aired on ESPN every week.

So yes, I made fun of the games I had to cover last night. (Goodness, you realize the two games I covered last night had the combined score of 109-10?) But I did not make fun of the players.

A year ago, I had to write a story about one team accusing another team of deliberately doing something against the rules. I went to the accused team’s practice, and with a coach there, spoke to some of the players. I told them to their faces what I was going to write, and asked if they had anything to add. I believe they appreciated that I showed up to talk to them face-to-face. It is a respect factor. I’ve been doing this in Clark County since 2001, and the coaches and players who know me understand how much passion and love I have for the game.

Which brings me back to my Prince comment. Clearly, anyone reading this Day After Report through the years, or anyone who has met me, understands that I believe there is nothing better than football. Even bad football. Hell, I even watched that Monday night game between the Vikings and Giants the other night. I might be sick!

As far as high school football coverage goes, I would love it if the 4A and 3A GSHLs got together and decided to have doubleheaders Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, to play all six of their league games each week on different days so I could cover each and every game. That would be heaven. Even with the blowouts!

Raiders. Football. Disneyland. Sharing Star Wars love with my son. Family. Football. Raiders. 80s music. New music. (I told my wife I might leave her for Katy Perry. She says I would leave her for Justin Timberlake!) Raiders. Family. Football.

These are my passions in life. In some sort of order.

And I enjoy the back-and-forth with you, the readers, and enjoy getting torched by the coaches or players as much as I love giving them a hard time when we see each other at practices or after games.

We have fun, because there is a mutual respect there first.

Fortunately, most people get this.

“And if the elevator tries to bring you down,
Go crazy.”
— Let’s Go Crazy.

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UNION 54, EVERGREEN 10
The Titans get back to winning.

Respond:
Losing to Camas is one thing, but losing the way the Titans did last week is another. Starting quarterback Nolan Henry did not have a strong outing, and then he got hurt.

“I was so mad I didn’t get to finish the game out,” Henry said.

There were other things that bugged the Titans, too.

They responded with a great week of practice and then a 44-point win over Evergreen. Sure, Evergreen is not Camas, but it was important for the Titans to play well, not just win. And they did that.

“Nobody felt good with how we performed last week,” Union coach Cale Piland said. “It’s a testament to our kids and their ability to refocus and understand there is a lot of football left to play.”

Henry did not finish this game, either, but only because he and his teammates played so well. The starting quarterback was only needed for a half after completing 7 of 10 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns.

The joys of statistics:
I have noted this before, but we keepers of stats hate the overhead sideway pass from a quarterback to a receiver. Most people assume that because it is an overhead throw, that it is considered a pass. Actually, is based on where the ball travels. If the ball is thrown backward, behind the line of scrimmage, it is not a pass, but a rush for the person who catches the ball.

My strategy while keeping stats on a play like this: Watch for the official. A good official, using the proper technique, will raise an arm in the direction of the backfield if he considers it a backward pass. Sometimes it is obvious. But on the close ones, if I do not see the arm, I will consider it a forward pass. Even an inch forward is forward.

Unfortunately for Henry, the official ruled a backward pass on a throw to Ethan Beniga on Friday night. Then Beniga scored on a 47-yard play. No TD pass for Henry on this play, but a rushing TD for Beniga. It happens.

Not that Henry was complaining. He was too busy praising Beniga.

“That kid, he’s a man,” Henry said. “He makes plays everywhere. Offense, defense, special teams. He’s the reason a lot of things happen.”

On offense, Beniga had three touches for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

Some hope for Evergreen:
Coach Don Johnson Jr. clearly wanted to have more success in the win-loss record in his first season at Evergreen. It has not happened.

“No excuses. The 4A GSHL is a tough league,” Johnson said.

He is looking forward to the next year and beyond. The Plainsmen have a lot of young talent on the field, including eight sophomores and a freshman playing quality minutes on defense.

“The future is definitely bright,” Johnson said.

————————–

MOUNTAIN VIEW 55, KELSO 0
The Thunder look ready for next week.

3A GSHL title on the line:
As predicted weeks ago, it’s Mountain View vs. Columbia River for the 3A GSHL title in Week 9.

“The whole season, we’ve been striving for league champs,” Mountain View offensive lineman Kade Burns said. “We’re working hard, doing whatever we can.”

Defensive TDs are special:
Even in blowouts, defensive TDs are cool. Mountain View’s Garrett Jones, who started the game with an interception on Kelso’s first play from scrimmage, ended the scoring for the Thunder with a 62-yard fumble return.

“It was just right there,” Jones said, noting how the ball just bounced right to him. “It’s fun. You’ve got to take that opportunity when it presents itself and take advantage of it.”

QB play:
Mountain View quarterback Lex Reese does not get the chance to throw very often because the team runs the ball so well. Still, Reese makes the best of his attempts. In the past two games, he is 11 for 13 for 270 yards and four touchdowns.

On Friday, he also had a rushing touchdown.

Mountain view coach Adam Mathieson said he hates the term “game manager” but it does apply to Reese.

“He’s a great leader. He does a great job of running the system,” Mathieson said. “As you know, it’s all parts for us. One week, it’s someone. The next week, it’s someone else. I’m proud of his effort.”

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COLUMBIA RIVER 40, HUDSON’S BAY 0
WOODLAND 42, WHITE SALMON 9
LA CENTER 49, TOLEDO 26

These three results, along with the Mountain View victory, bring us something special for the final week of the season. Championships are on the line in Week 9.

Mountain View will take on Columbia River at Kiggins Bowl for the Class 3A GSHL title on Friday.

Woodland will travel to La Center for the Trico League title.

My plan is to have a feature on the big night for all four programs. Hope to have comments from Beavers, Wildcats, Chieftains, and Thunder in Friday’s edition of The Columbian.

Going into Week 9, the four teams have a combined record of 29-3. Going to be fun.

————————–

CAMAS 62, HERITAGE 0
Camas still perfect but not playing perfectly.

(Paul Danzer with this report from Camas)

Still a work in progress:
Camas coach Jon Eagle said players who committed penalties might be in for a little bit more difficult practice come Monday.

The Papermakers were flagged 13 times for 98 yards, continuing a trend that disappoints the coach. Against Heritage, two touchdowns were wiped out by penalties. Eagle said he would review the tape to evaluate the penalties.

“It’s a consistent pattern, regardless of who the referees are. So we have to look at what we’re doing,” Eagle said. “We’re playing sloppy. We’re capable of cleaning this up, but we’re not doing it (yet).”

Early in the second quarter, a penalty took away a Camas touchdown, and on the next play, there was another Camas penalty. Then there were 11 different Papermakers in the game.

“I thought we would play somebody who wanted to play, and let (the starters) think about it for a while,” Eagle said.

Homecoming and senior night seemed to be more on the minds of the Papermakers than football, Eagle said.

“Just a lot of mental mistakes, and costly penalties that we don’t usually make,” quarterback Reilly Hennessey said. “I would definitely say we were distracted a little bit. We came out here, and we weren’t 100 percent focused. We’ve got to take the opportunity to not let that happen again.”

Hennessey said the coaches wouldn’t need to do anything drastic to get the attention.

“We’re a very smart team. We know when we make mistakes. I don’t know if our coaches will have to say a whole lot,” Hennessey said.

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PRAIRIE 54, FORT VANCOUVER 6
Falcons will play for a playoff spot in Week 9.

(Tim Martinez filed these notes)

Fort’s season summed up:
It’s been a rough season for the Fort Vancouver Trappers. And that can best typified by a play in the second quarter.

After Prairie had taken a 34-0 lead on a 65-yard interception return by Jason Bracken, the Trappers prepared to return the ensuing kickoff.

Babacar Secka fielded the kick at the Fort 8-yard line, dropped the ball and picked it up off the turf. He began upfield, found an opening and was off to the races.

But as he approached the end zone, he pulled his hamstring. He staggered over the last 15 yards before falling into the end zone for an apparent touchdown.

As his teammates came to his aid, they didn’t notice the penalty flag way back at the Fort 30. Apparently, the opening that broke Secka free was created by an illegal block, and the Trappers’ biggest play of the night was called back.

On the next play, the Trappers fumbled. Prairie returned it for a touchdown and a 41-0 lead.

Just about perfect:
Prairie quarterback Tyler Armstrong completed each of his first nine attempts for 85 yards before throwing his first and only incompletion early in the third quarter.

———————

That should be it for Week 9. Remember, I love football. More than most things in life. Including the Purple Rain CD. But it’s close.

“All I really need
is 2 know that U believe”
— I would Die 4 U

 

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