Day After Report: Week 6

Oh, my eyes. My eyes.

Last night on Twitter, a colleague suggested someone should buy me a drink — iced tea, no lemon, of course — for what I had to endure as a sports journalist: A doubleheader at Kiggins Bowl with the combined score of 134-0.

Count the Thursday game I covered for The Columbian, and the combined score jumps to 181-0 in Week 6.

I feel like I should bring a scythe to these games.

On Thursday and then the first game on Friday, I watched two very good teams go against two teams that are struggling big-time. 

In the late Friday game, I watched two teams that came into the game with a combined record of 7-3.

Still, it was one championship quality program — Skyview — going up against a program that has won four games this year but is taking baby steps toward respectability. It’s great for Battle Ground to see some success — starting out 4-1 — but Friday showed the Tigers are not yet ready to contend in the 4A Greater St. Helens League.

They are not alone. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is getting wider. Yikes, the gap between the have-nots and the other have-nots seems to be getting bigger, too.

The scores have been attention-grabbing. Battle Ground put up 54 points just last week against Evergreen and won by 41, then lost by 76 this week to Skyview. Just a 117-point swing from one week to the next.

Heritage has lost to Skyview and Union by a combined 73 points this season. This year, three teams from the five-team league make the playoffs. That means Battle Ground, Evergreen, or Heritage will join Skyview and Union in the postseason.

In the 3A GSHL, Camas has already faced the quote-unquote “quality” league opponents. The Papermakers dispatched Mountain View, Columbia River and Prairie by a combined score of 104-20.

Camas just scored 51 in the first half against Hudson’s Bay en route to the 58-0 victory and next faces Heritage (1-5) in a non-league game before finishing with Fort Vancouver (0-6) and Kelso (3-3, with all three wins coming against winless opponents).

It is a recipe for disaster because the Papermakers have more than a league championship on their minds. They want to make a long run in the playoffs. So their starters need work. They cannot play for just a quarter each game for the last month of the season in preparation for the playoffs. That’s why the Papermakers were still working on their passing game in the second quarter Friday night, still playing with the first string. It’s not running up the score. It’s getting ready for bigger and better things.

Skyview and Union will have a Week 9 clash for the 4A league title. That No. 1 seed is a big deal in regard to home playoff games beyond Week 10. Those two teams cannot sit their starters too soon. They need work. Which is why Skyview put up 55 in the first half Friday. The Storm had three touchdowns in just five plays on offense. Their starters need more than five plays.

The Storm also play a hurry-up offense.

“We don’t want to slow down because that’s what we do,” Skyview coach Steve Kizer said.

His rule in a blowout is the starters get one series in the third quarter. Skyview did that last week, too, against Lincoln of Portland. In the Battle Ground game, the Storm did not pass in that one third-quarter series with the starters. Instead, Parker Henry rushed three times for 60 yards and a touchdown. Henry ended up with 202 yards with just 12 carries.

Thank goodness there is a running clock in the second half of any game with a margin of 40 or more points. 

Now to the games. We’ll start with what is one of the biggest wins in Prairie’s program in years. 

The Falcons give themselves a shot at the playoffs with an impressive defensive performance.

Mohawk in the future? Prairie coach Terry Hyde told his players that if the Falcons make the playoffs, he will sport a mohawk.
“I hope I get to pay off that agreement,” he said Saturday, the day after his Falcons beat Columbia River 19-9 to improve to 2-2 in the 3A Greater St. Helens League. 
The two losses have come against the top two teams in the league. If the Falcons can take care of business the rest of the way, well …
“A lot of things still have to happen, but it definitely still keeps us in that hunt,” Hyde said of Friday’s victory.
Hyde took over the program in 2006. The next year, the Falcons stunned then defending 4A GSHL champion Skyview.
He said this week’s win over Columbia River ranks right up there for him.
Of course, in 2007, the Falcons finished 2-7. So that win, while important to the program, did not advance any playoff cause.
Friday, the Falcons stepped closer to the postseason.
Hyde credited his defense and a new quarterback for leading the Falcons against the Chieftains.
“Once we eliminated our mistakes, the defense really shut them down,” Hyde said. 
Prairie held Remick Kawawaki to 50 yards rushing. Kawawaki was second in the region in rushing coming into the game.
Third-string quarterback David Taylor became the first-string quarterback this week. He ran the offense “perfectly,” according to Hyde, completing 9 of 15 passes for 148 yards.
“For him to come in and perform how he did, that was phenomenal, as well,” Hyde said.

Seitz update: Colin Seitz, who led the region in passing through four weeks but has missed the past two weeks after suffering a concussion, might return next week. Hyde said the team will know more on Monday. Hyde is hopeful Seitz will play Friday against Hudson’s Bay.

The Thunder rushed for 291 yards, mostly on short fields, to roll over the Trappers.

O’Dell’s big plays: Officially, Mountain View quarterback Riley O’Dell scored one touchdown Thursday night. He gift-wrapped another touchdown for running back Michael Rivers.
The Fort Vancouver defense sniffed out an option play, nearly getting O’Dell down in the backfield. The play was this close to being blown up by the Trappers, but Rivers eluded a would-be tackler, found a little space and then just when he was about to be tackled by another, made the perfect pitch to Rivers, who waltzed into the end zone.
Give credit to Rivers, too, for keeping the proper space behind his quarterback. Once the Trapper defenders altered the play, it would have been easy for Rivers to alter his assignment. Instead, he stayed true to the play, watched O’Dell keep the play alive, and then was rewarded with a touchdown.
O’Dell would get his score later in the game on a very long 15-yard touchdown run. It was long, as in it took some time to reach the end zone. Not that O’Dell is slow. He just needed time to go through and around just about every Trapper in the game.
I posted on twitter that it looked like all 11 Trappers had a chance at him, but he would not go down.

It was over early.

Camas held Hudson’s Bay to two yards in the first half. Two.
For the game, the Camas defense faced 27 non-throwing plays. The Camas defense forced negative yardage on 14 of those 27 running plays.

Prepare for anything: Camas coach Jon Eagle said no matter how much an opponent is struggling, a team must prepare the right way. Never go into a game thinking it will be easy, he said. 
“What if we throw two early interceptions?” he asked. 
“You just go into the game focusing on the things that they do good. They do some good things,” Eagle said of the Eagles. “They played (Columbia) River tough. They played Battle Ground tough. Their kids fight. Their kids have a lot of spirit.”

In Warner I trust: For the second game that I’ve covered Camas this year, Jonathan Warner appeared to be robbed of a touchdown with an “interesting” offensive pass interference call.
Anyway, in this game, a ball was slightly underthrown. The defender never appeared to look back for the ball, and Warner slowed, and jumped back over the defender. Not only did he catch the pass, but then he maintained his balance, broke the tackle, and got into the end zone.
The flag was thrown. Most observers figured it would be defensive PI; therefore a touchdown. Nope.
Sorry, Jonathan, if I’m bad luck for you.
It reminds me of the air traffic controller in Top Gun: “That’s twice! I want some butts!”

The Storm scored three touchdowns on their first five offensive plays.

Forrest breaks free: Already noted Forrest Russell’s big catch in the game story, but he also dazzled with an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Russell did a lot of things right on this play. First was just to field the punt. It was a low liner that Russell had race forward to, then catch. 
“I wasn’t even sure I was going to get it,” he said. 
Once he had the ball, there was one Battle Ground defender he had to outrun toward the sideline. Russell beat him there and was able to turn the corner and stay in bounds. From there, he picked up his blockers and was home free.
“There was just about this much room for me to stay in bounds,” he said, indicating not much room. “I cut back and turned it on.”

My favorite play of the night: Battle Ground’s Nathan Weeks deserves a game ball for his hustle play. Trailing 62-0, Skyview running back C.J. Vernon broke free for what appeared to be a long touchdown run. Seventy-four yards later, Weeks caught Vernon and stopped him at the 2-yard line. It did not matter that Skyview would score on the next play. I just thought it said a lot about Weeks’ character to keep playing hard regardless of the score. 

Titans score the first 28 points in an easy 4A GSHL victory.

Welcome back: Brandon Brody-Heim returned from a knee injury and looked solid, rushing for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
The Titans have had a lot of injured running backs this season, and it’s a credit to their offensive line that they continue to have success running the ball.
Still, with a talent like Brody-Heim back, the Titans are just a little bit better, a little deeper at the position.

They sound good, too: Four Titans were in the choir that sang the national anthem prior to the game.
Then they soundly defeated the Timberwolves.

Jacob Reagan caught a 32-yard TD pass from Jess Krahn on a fourth-down play midway through the final quarter to score the winning points.

Pink: To recognize the school’s Cancer Awareness Night, the Hockinson players wore pink socks and pink long-sleeve undershirts, and cheerleaders were seeking donations from fans. The school’s fund-raising efforts were part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month across the nation. (Other programs, including Skyview, also highlighted pink.)

Stuffed: Hockinson stopped Mark Morris several times on fourth-down attempts. On one occasion in the first half, the Monarchs had a fourth-and-12 at the Hockinson 38-yard line, and Jacob Reagan sacked quarterback Hayden Tilton for a 16-yard loss. 
Reagan, who caught the game-winning touchdown pass, later threw running back Nikko Asbell for a 6-yard loss on fourth down with 3:41 to play in the fourth quarter.

Hawks win in spite of themselves:
Here are some of Hockinson’s miscues.
— The Hawks botched a punt return in the first half, attempting to pick up a bouncing ball only to fumble it. Mark Morris’ Aaron Gorman recovered at the Hockinson 34.
— Hockinson allowed the second-half kickoff to roll down the middle of the field to the 1-yard line. By the time the Hawks picked it up, they returned it out to the 5. Following a punt, compounded by a personal-foul penalty against the Hawks, Mark Morris started at the 30.
— The Hawks lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions. One of the fumbles ended a drive that had reached the Mark Morris 1-yard line.
— Trailing 13-7 and facing a fourth-and-13 with eight minutes to play, the Hawks completed a 23-yard pass to inside the Mark Morris 5. It was called back because of an ineligible receiver downfield. 

Which led to … 

… The game-winning touchdown: The 32-yard TD pass came one play after the nullified fourth-down pass. Hockinson was facing a fourth-and-18.

That’s better: Midway through the third quarter, Krahn found receiver Beau Sparks for a 30-yard gain. The play was a demarcation point in the game. Up to that point, Hockinson’s offense had gained 68 yards on 28 plays. Over their final 26 plays, the Hawks amassed 205 yards.

Look who’s in first place in the 2A GSHL.

Beavers top standings: Woodland improved to 3-3, but more importantly, 2-0 in the 2A Greater St. Helens League. The Beavers take on 6-0 Washougal next week. The Panthers are 1-0 in league play. I would venture to guess that the Woodland-Washougal game will be our game of the week for the paper. Can’t guarantee it just yet, but looking at the schedule, that’s the biggest game among the 4A, 3A, and 2A GSHLs.

Brother power: Cy Whitmire rushed for 195 yards and three touchdowns and Eli Whitmire had 85 yards — on just six carries — with a touchdown.


We hope to have full stats of this game later in the week.

The Wildcats get a late defensive stand for the victory.

Nothing easy: La Center, in its season-long attempt to never make anything look easy, turned the ball over three times. Otherwise, the Wildcats would have been in control of this game.
Instead, Castle Rock had a chance to take the lead late in the game, driving into the red zone. The La Center defense got tough again, and Tyrone Kulla knocked down a fourth-down pass to seal the victory.
La Center improved to 3-1 in Trico League play, a game behind first-place Kalama. 

That’s it for this week.

Greg Jayne and Kate Zot contributed to this report.

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