Day After Report: Week 3

The Skyview Storm opened defense of their 4A Greater St. Helens League title with an overtime victory. The Union Titans went to Oregon to roll to a win. Camas has never lost in the new Doc Harris Stadium. And Ridgefield and Stevenson remain unbeaten. Oh, and Battle Ground got an overtime win. And perhaps the most surprising thing of the week, Fort Vancouver can pass. Here are some notes from Week 3 of high school football in Southwest Washington.

The Storm won the turnover battle and special teams, then managed to get out of Kiggins Bowl with a victory.

Some love for Heritage: We will start with the Timberwolves. Why? First of all, Skyview got most of the ink in the newspaper article. You see, because of that crazy-hard rain shower, I had to conduct my post-game interviews under the bowl, out of the elements. I usually find the winning team first. By the time I got out from under there, the Heritage coaches were already on the bus. I did not get a chance to talk to the Timberwolves.

And second of all, the Timberwolves earned some attention.

The Timberwolves looked listless in a Week 1 loss to a good team. Then, in Week 2, the Timberwolves fell to a Class 2A program. Sure, it was against a solid team, but Heritage was 0-2 and looking to be going in the opposite direction of Skyview.

Then came Friday’s game. And while the Timberwolves ended up losing, they showed a considerable amount of improvement. They showed they could compete with the best in the 4A Greater St. Helens League.

Heritage coach Nate Becksted said Saturday that he was thrilled with the effort and he expects his team to continue to play well throughout the rest of the season.

Heritage amassed 237 of their 388 yards in the second half. The Timberwolves had an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive for one touchdown, then had a quick-strike 80-yard touchdown play.

Trust me, while sitting in the Kiggins Bowl press box with the Skyview faithful, Storm supporters were worried. 

But as often happens in this sport, one can leave the yardage stats behind if there are a lot of turnovers or miscues in other departments. The Timberwolves had five turnovers. They had a punter tackled before he could punt, and they also had a punt returned for a touchdown.

Still, gotta give credit to the Timberwolves. There probably were not a lot of people outside of their program who believed they would play well against Skyview, let alone nearly pull out the win.

Riley O’Dell was strong most of the night, completing 18 of 23 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns. Eight players shared the receiving load. Ben Lyons had four catches for 106 yards and a touchdown, and Michael Rivers caught four balls for 69 yards and two scores.

“We have a good football team if we play well,” Becksted said. “It’s going to be a dogfight every night in our league.”

Double vision with numbers: With Twitter updates and deadline pressures, I am usually up in the press box when covering high school games. I miss being on the sidelines. And I also miss knowing for certain who is in the game.

Some football jerseys have color schemes or number fonts that can strain the eyes from far away. Heritage is one of those teams. And the Timberwolves use two quarterbacks, wearing Nos. 18 and 13. Well, when uniforms get bunched up, or wet, those numbers can look similar. The running backs who got the most carries for Heritage wore Nos. 23 and 28. Yep, same problem.

I am confident I have the correct total for team yards. However, I think we might have had a carry for No. 23 when it might have been 28, or vice versa. 

As far as the quarterback numbers, we believe Riley O’Dell played the first series of the game. Then Jake Dahlberg played the next six series for the Timberwolves, before O’Dell returned late in the second quarter and then finished the second half. So Dahlberg would have had the first touchdown pass, with O’Dell getting the final two.

Everywhere: Andy Bemis and Gage Boyce simply brilliant for the Heritage defense. Bemis had an interception and recovered a fumble. And both he and Boyce were in the backfield all night, making tackles-for-loss and/or disrupting the Skyview offense. Oh, and Becksted also credited defensive back Rajheem Carrie for his coverage of Ellis Henderson. Skyview’s speedster had five catches for 59 yards. Any defensive coordinator would take those numbers from one of the top talents in the state.

Skyview still got the win, though: The Storm trailed for a little more than 12 minutes of game clock in the second half. Heritage appeared to be in position for the victory. Skyview, though, made most of the plays in the closing minutes of regulation, and then the only two plays in overtime.

“I told (my teammates) this is what conditioning was for, the fourth quarter is ours,” Skyview quarterback Kody Watts explained.

“This is one of those wins you’ll take no matter what the score is,” said Reiley Henderson, who had a 66-yard touchdown reception from Watts to put the Storm ahead with 21-14 late in the fourth quarter.

“It feels good to win. It’s great knowing we can win not playing our best,” added Parker Henry, who had the go-ahead touchdown in overtime that turned into the game-winner. 

Still, he also had a challenge to his teammates.

“It’s not acceptable to not be playing our best, not after three weeks.”

Tough yards: Parker Henry also credited Heritage’s defense. Henry ended up with 113 yards on 21 carries, but he rarely found any daylight. Henry was held to 38 yards on 11 carries in the first half, with his longest run being for nine yards. Henry broke off a 14-yard run on the first drive of the second half, a long drive that ended with a missed field goal. (By the way, that field goal looked good. Of course, we have a bad angle from up in the box. The officials are right under the goal posts. So I’m not complaining that it was a bad call. Far from it, in fact. Just sayin’ it looked good.)

For the most part, Heritage held Henry in check — until that final run of the game.

Henry said he might have been touched on about the 1-yard line, but otherwise he had a free trip toward the end zone for the 25-yard score, courtesy of an offensive line that cleared the Heritage defense.

The long play: Heritage took a 14-13 lead with 3:41 left in the third quarter. Skyview’s next two possessions resulted in a punt and a loss of downs. The home crowd was getting worried.

But with 3:11 left in the fourth quarter, Watts found Reiley Henderson on a crossing pattern. Henderson made a move or two to avoid would-be tacklers, then receiver Karl Graves did his job with a block, springing Henderson for the 66-yard touchdown. (Technically, Graves did not get a huge block. There was little contact. But he got in the way of of the last guy who had a chance to get Henderson.)

Watts said the play was supposed to go to Reiley’s brother, Ellis, but the Timberwolves looked ready for it.

“They figured it out,” Watts said. “I came off of him and looked straight to Reiley. The line gave me time to throw the ball, and Reiley did his thing.”

Graves said all of Skyview’s receivers take pride in downfield blocking.

“It’s more than half the job as a receiver,” Graves said. “It could be a 20-yard gain, but if you get the guy blocked, it can be a touchdown.”

You again: Skyview had to play defense in overtime after Henry’s touchdown gave the Storm the lead. Well, it only took one play. Mo Morrison, whose interception sealed Skyview’s victory last week, did it again. Another interception and celebration for Mo Morrison. That gave Mo Morrison four interceptions already this season. Mo Morrison had two last week and two this week. Plus, his name is Mo Morrison. And it’s always cool to see that name in print. Remember, I noted last week, Mo Morrison is one of the coolest names in football.

Zak Browning rushed for 285 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Titans.

Check out this schedule: The Union Titans opened with Bellevue. You know Bellevue, right? The program that has won seven of the past nine Class 3A state championships, and the team that beat Union in the playoffs, in the Tacoma Dome, the past two seasons. Then Union took on Enumclaw, ranked sixth at the time by the Seattle Times. And on Friday, the Titans traveled south to take on Oregon’s eighth-ranked team in that state’s biggest classification.

Well, the Titans are 2-1, the defense has been strong all three weeks, and the offense has picked it up the past two weeks.

Last year in this space, I noted that while some fans might predict a down year for the Titans, we should not forget the value of all the extra practices these players participated in the past couple of years. The back-ups to the starters of those great teams all practiced until the first week of December or the last week of November.

It it too early to predict another final four appearance, but it is clear that Union is still a pretty darn good football team.

Mountain View’s rushing attack did just fine in the rain, leading the Thunder to the win.

A lotta yards: Mountain View’s rushing attack took control of the second half at District Stadium in Battle Ground. The Thunder rushed for 301 yards in the game, including 195 in the second half. Sterling Reynolds finished with 28 carries for 163 yards, and P.J. Jones had 21 carries for 125 yards.

“We knew it was going to be wet, so we knew the passing game would be no go,” Reynolds said.

Oh no, not again: Jones had a 59-yard punt return touchdown called back late in the third quarter because of a holding penalty. At the time, Prairie led 12-7. Midway through the fourth quarter, he had a 33-yard touchdown run nullified by another penalty.

Near-clinching drive: Leading 13-12 in the fourth quarter, Mountain View seemingly salted away the game with a long touchdown drive. The Thunder started at their own 43-yard line following an interception by Josh Parker. Here’s what happened on the drive:

*The Thunder converted a fourth-and-inches near midfield with seven minutes to go, as Reynolds ran for the first down.

*They survived a first-and-26 that was the result of two penalties. Reynolds ran for 17 yards on first down. On third-and-12, a double handoff resulted in a 21-yard gain by Jeff Carmody on his only carry of the night.

*Quarterback Ryan Hansen ran for a first down on third-and-6 from the 9-yard line.

*And Reynolds bulled his way in for the touchdown.

As we mentioned, Reynolds’ score with 3:05 to play only seemed to clinch the victory. Prairie’s Jesse Zalk returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards to the 6-yard line, but Janos Camacho intercepted a pass in the end zone.

Defensive: While Mountain View’s offense was controlling the ball throughout the second half, the defense also was coming up big. The Thunder held Prairie to 30 yards of offense over the final two periods and intercepted two passes.

Ripley’s play leads to TD: Prairie’s second-half scoring drive covered 14 yards, with Avi Slifer scoring on a 12-yard pass from Colin Seitz. The TD was set up by a 62-yard interception return by Jake Ripley.

The star of the night was the stadium, but the home fans also loved watching their team win big.

Put it in the record book: The first Camas touchdown in the new Doc Harris Stadium was scored by quarterback Logan Grindy. But the 1-yard plunge with 4:08 left in the first quarter of Friday’s 42-6 win over Columbia River was perhaps the easiest play the Papermakers’ quarterback made on the impressive 76-yard drive.

Camas converted three third downs on the drive, with two of those being passes from Grindy to Kyle Ervin for 14 and 26 yards.

Grindy said he didn’t realize he had scored the first TD on the new field. At the time, he was just pleased his team had executed in rainy conditions.

“That’s actually pretty cool,” Grindy said of scoring the first TD on the new turf.

Hey, there’s a game on, too: Camas coach Jon Eagle said after the game that he was concerned about how his team would concentrate on beating River with the community abuzz with its beautiful new stadium.

“For a while I wasn’t sure there was going to be a football game, everybody was so excited about all the festivities surrounding the night,” Eagle said. “Our kids really focused on the task at hand, and I thought really played well tonight.”

They had to, Eagle said, because Columbia River never makes things easy.

“River’s always River. They’re well coached. They’ve got good kids. And they always compete. The score might not have indicated that, but they’re always tough.”

Camas defense: The Papermakers made things tough on the Chieftains’ spread offense, which hurt itself with ball-handling problems for the second week in a row. Camas limited Columbia River to 124 net yards (partly because some errant long snaps led to big negative plays for River).

The Papermakers aren’t completely satisfied, though.

“I still think we’ve got to tackle better. I think we missed some tackles out here,” Eagle said.

Nice digs: Columbian reporter Paul Danzer also reports that he has volunteered to cover any game, any time at the new Doc Harris Stadium. The press box, he said, is perfect. And dry, too. (Sorry, Mr. Danzer, but Skyview and Camas play there next week. I think I will find out how good that press box is on my own.)

More TDs: Zack Marshall continued his impressive 2010 season with two more touchdowns for the Papermakers. Marshall returned a kickoff for a score, then added a 47-yard touchdown run. Marshall has seven rushing touchdowns in three weeks. Add the special teams TD, and he has eight total.

Battle Ground 20, Woodland 14, 2 OT (Thursday)
The Tigers picked up their first win of the season, working a little extra to get past the Beavers.

No worries: Kevin Haynes scored the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime with  a 1-yard plunge. Interestingly, Haynes had touched the ball only once in the second half. You see, he had fumble issues early in the game, but he told his coach he was a little worried. It just wasn’t his night.

Battle Ground coach Larry Peck told him not to worry. 

“I wanted a big back in there,” Peck said. “I knew he would get it.”

Another player that Peck continued to have faith in was his quarterback. Chris Paul struggled with the passing game for much of the night. Sure, there were some dropped balls by his receivers, but there also were dropped balls by the Woodland defenders, just missing on a couple of interceptions.

Paul was 2 of 16 going into the second overtime. (The good news for the Tigers: The two catches resulted in touchdowns.) Then Paul delivered a perfect strike to Jake Blackman for a 22-yard gain to the 1-yard line, setting up the game-winner by Haynes.

The statistics showed a rough outing, but that last pass play was perfect, from the pass protection, to the quarterback waiting patiently for Blackman to get open, and for Blackman running the route. Then the ball was right on target, setting up a Battle Ground victory.

Win No. 1: Not only was it Battle Ground’s first win of the season, it was the first victory as a head coach for Larry Peck.

“It’s euphoric,” he said. 

The Tigers also had to overcome some tough calls. The Tigers were flagged for three 15-yard penalties on Woodland’s 80-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter to tie the game.

“Every single break was going against us,” Peck said. “That’s what makes this so satisfying. The kids never gave up.”

Officially speaking: The officials in Southwest Washington get a lot of grief from fans, players, coaches. They know the drill. (Really, it is like this just about in all areas of the nation.) 

But I must give credit to the white hat in Thursday’s game. Rick Gilbert walked into the Battle Ground coaches’ office and asked for a copy of the game video for he and his crew to review.

Members of the Evergreen Football Officials Association know they are not perfect. But they also have nothing to hide. They will take post-game critiques from coaches and athletic directors. They will explain why they made the calls they made.

And on their Web site (, anybody can e-mail a question pertaining to rules of the game.

Interceptions: Battle Ground’s Tyler Bergeron, Nohi Brede, and Juan Arellano each had interceptions, helping the Tigers’ cause. 

“Our defense is set,” Arellano said. “I think we have one of the best defenses around.”

He also said he can sense the confidence growing in this team.

“We’re 1-2, but I think we can starting putting some more Ws out there,” he said.

Trappers use a balanced attack — yes, balanced! — to beat Panthers.

Air it out: Richard Vansiclen threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trappers. Considering the Trappers of the past rarely threw the ball, that’s very impressive.

Coach Cal Szueber said it was the most yards passing by one of his quarterbacks in 16 years as a head coach. Not bad.

Run works, too: The Trappers still ruled the ground, too. Jordan Vela and Robert Bain each gained more than 100 yards, and the team put up 318 yards rushing.

Close for a while: The Trappers improved to 2-1, while the Panthers lost their first game of the year. This one was close, too, until the end. Washougal, which won two games all of last year, led in the third quarter of this game. Even in defeat, the Panthers were competitive, and that’s a good sign moving forward. It’s already been a cool year for the Panthers. They hope to make even more special memories.

Ridgefield 31, White Salmon 0
Shutout keeps the Spudders undefeated.

Say it again: Undefeated. Ridgefield. Football. For Spudder fans, that looks really good. Gotta give credit to coach Kitt Rawlings and the job he and his staff are doing.

In Friday’s win, Dylan Young rushed for 145 yards, and Zack Gales threw two touchdown passes. Oh, and this guy named Juan Valencia scored two touchdowns in the first quarter. (Again, no relation, but darn that looks awesome, seeing Valencia scoring touchdowns!)

We hope to have more on the Spudders later in the week, either on the blog or in the print edition of The Columbian.

Shutout keeps the Bulldogs undefeated.

Say it again: The Bulldogs are undefeated, as well. Yet another feel-good story in Southwest Washington. 

We also enjoy the defensive stats that are called in to us. A lot of teams wait to determine their defensive stats off of video, so we rarely get defensive stats in Saturday’s paper. But the Stevenson coaches always make sure to note a leading tackler. This week, linebacker Christian Morris had 17 tackles and recovered a fumble.

Week 4 Schedule

Evergreen at Eisenhower, 7 p.m.
Kelso vs. Union, 5 p.m. at McKenzie Stadium
Prairie vs. Fort Vancouver, 7 p.m. at Kiggins Bowl
Hudson’s Bay at Battle Ground, 7 p.m.
Mountain View vs. Heritage, 8 p.m. at McKenzie Stadium
Skyview at Camas, 7 p.m. at Doc Harris Stadium
Rainier, Ore. at Columbia River, 7 p.m.
Hockinson at Mark Morris, 7 p.m.
R.A. Long at Centralia, 7 p.m.
Washougal at Clatskanie, Ore., 7 p.m.
Scio, Ore., at Woodland, 7 p.m.
Ridgefield at La Center, 7 p.m.
Castle Rock at Stevenson, 7 p.m.
Ilwaco at Kalama, 7 p.m.
Toledo at White Salmon, 7 p.m.

King’s Way Christian at Lake Quinault, 1 p.m.

That’s it. I’m done. Thanks to Greg Jayne and Paul Danzer, who contributed to this report, as well. See ya next week.

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