Day After Report: Week 9

Week 9 is in the books. Here are some shout-outs:
Congrats to Skyview, Union, Heritage, Camas, Mountain View, Prairie, Hockinson, Woodland, La Center, and Ridgefield. You all made the playoffs.
Congrats to Skyview, Camas, Hockinson, and La Center. You all won league titles.
Congrats to Hudson’s Bay. You finished your season with a victory.
Congrats to Washougal: You ended up 6-3 after a 6-0 start, but you clearly are the best of the 2A GSHL teams not going to the playoffs. You lost two overtime games and another on a last-second touchdown. You were right there. 

To find out what we know about playoff opponents, dates, and times, click here.

Now to a few notes from some of the games Friday. (And Saturday, too).

Didn’t we see this last year? Union turning the ball over. Skyview taking advantage like championship teams do. Skyview winning another league title. This is Skyview’s fourth consecutive 4A GSHL title.

First, a shout-out to a couple players on the losing end of this game:
Brandon Brody-Heim was a beast for the Titans, rushing for 104 yards on 22 carries with three touchdowns. 
Hope you all got to see the stories about Brody-Heim in The Columbian as well as on during the week. I went with the angle of what happened to Brody-Heim this year in regard to his knee surgery and comeback to the field. Michael at gshlfootball had a long piece on Brody-Heim’s life and how he became the player he is today.
What I enjoyed most about talking to Brody-Heim is his maturity level and his respect for his opponents. He told me last week that both Union and Skyview had great players with a lot of heart. There was no trash talk. In fact, he went as far as to say that both teams were so evenly matched that the game would be determined by turnovers. He was right. Unfortunately for his team, it was the Titans who made most of the mistakes in this one.
Tanner Nelson also shined for the Titans. He carried the ball nine times for 72 yards, most of his carries coming as the quarterback in a wildcat-sytle offense. 
The Titans know that if they can keep from making mistakes, they have the potential to go far in the playoffs.
“We have not come close to playing our best game,” Union coach Cale Piland said. “In a lot of ways, we played well tonight. Just some unfortunate breaks. Skyview played excellent. They’re a great football team, and you can’t do what we did against a great football team.”

Count those mistakes:
1) Union muffs a punt in the first quarter, leading to a Skyview touchdown to make it 14-7 Skyview. 
2) Union’s bad snap over the punter’s head turned into a safety and a 16-7 Skyview advantage. Then, Skyview scored on the ensuing drive, pretty much making it a nine-point series of events for a 23-7 lead. 
3) Union driving in final moments of first half, now trailing 23-14. However, Titans get sacked and lose ball on a fumble. 
4) Union had cut a 16-point deficit to 10 and had the ball midway through the fourth quarter. However, another sack/fumble ended the drive, pretty much sealing the Skyview victory. The Storm would score on ensuing drive to make it 44-27.

Forcing those mistakes, then making them count:
It was no
t just Union making unforced errors. Sure, there were a couple, but on both sack/fumbles, the Union quarterback had evaded the initial pressure. The Storm defenders did not quit on the plays and kept coming after the signal-caller. Jabari Marshall got that last sack/forced fumble to secure the victory.
The Storm got 14 points off the three turnovers, plus the safety on the bad snap for another two points. 

Parker Henry gets it done… again: The running back with the lawyer’s name won his case for offensive player of the year in the 4A GSHL. (Officially, the coaches have not voted on that yet, but if I had a vote, well, I’d go with Henry.) All he did in the game for the title was rush for 180 yards and three touchdowns, plus he caught a 67-yard touchdown pass from Kieran McDonagh. Henry now has more than 1,500 yards rushing with 22 rushing TDs — in nine games.
And here is how Skyview opened the game.
Henry rushes for 12 yards.
McDonagh keeps for a yard.
Henry rushes for 14 yards.
Incomplete pass.
Henry rushes for 30 yards.
McDonagh keeeps for 5 yards.
Henry rushes for 4 yards.
Henry rushes for 6 yards and a touchdown.
That’s five carries for 66 yards and a TD before Union even saw the ball.
“That was amazing. That’s the best way you can ever start a game out,” Henry said. “It felt good to come out on that first drive and get it done.”

More on the offensive line:
I believe Columbian Sports editor Greg Jayne is going to write his Sunday column on Skyview’s offensive line. The link is not up, as of me posting this report. But I’m sure you can find it at some time Sunday.

This game was so big, one day wasn’t big enough to hold it.

Weird situation:
A strange scenario led to the second half being played Saturday afternoon after the lights went out at McKenzie Stadium at halftime Friday night.
The Chieftains were leading 21-20 at the end of Friday, but the Thunder quickly took over on Saturday, scoring before two minutes went off the clock in the third quarter. The Thunder then got a defensive touchdown. The Chieftains pulled within six, but the Thunder defense held River without a score on its final three possessions.

What it means:
Mountain View c
linched second place in the 3A GSHL. Prairie ended up third. Columbia River’s season came to an end. The Chieftains were hoping to create a three-way tie for second place and then a Monday tiebreaker to determine the playoff teams.

River’s end to the year:
Columbia River n
early stunned Southwest Washington with a win over Skyview in Week 8. The Storm got a late touchdown for the victory. Then, in Week 9, the Chieftains once again nearly got a victory. This one would have prolonged their season. Instead, they had to settle for coming close.
“I’m really proud of the effort the kids put into it,” Columbia River coach John O’Rourke said. “We challenged the kids to be as competitive as they could.”

O’Rourke has been here before:
This is the second unscheduled Saturd
ay that John O’Rourke has been a part of in his tenure with the Chieftains. Many years ago, game officials failed to show for a Columbia River home game. A scheduling snafu. So the teams came back the next day to play the game.

Nice call:
Mountain View’s Riley O’Dell made a nice move and broke free for a long run early in the fourth quarter. The play was run to the right side of the M
V offense. Downfield, though, a MV player went low for a chop block. (O’Dell ended up being credited with a 12-yard run, to the spot of the penalty, and then Mountain View was penalized 15 yards.)
Those of us in the press box saw the penalty but the nearest official to the play did not. Just as I was wondering if anyone on the field saw it, I noticed the side judge on the other side of the field, some 30 or so yards away, throw his flag.
There are a lot of fans who think that if an official far away, he should not be making the call. For many penalties, this is true. However, if it is a personal foul, a 15-yarder, a safety violation, then any official, anywhere on the field, can throw the flag.
It looked pretty obvious from up in the press box. And it should not matter if the official who threw the flag was a long way from the infraction. He saw it. He made the call.

Timberwolves win to clinch playoff berth.

New coach gets to Week 10: Jack Hathaway took over the Heritage program after being an assistant at Evergreen. His Timberwolves had to top Evergreen in order to make the playoffs without a tiebreaker. Done.

Big Mack attack: I have to admit I’m a fan of E’Lon Mack’s. I met him for just a few minutes during our preseason previews, and he came across as a genuinely likable person. Then, to watch him move. A tall receiver with speed. Only a sophomore, too. Hey, I thought, this guy could be special one day.
So it was fun to track his progress throughout the season. 
And in the biggest game of the year, he caught six passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns. 
Well played.

The Wildcats create a three-way tie for first place. They will take the share of the title and the No. 2 seed to the playoffs.

Special teams:
La Center reco
vered two onside kicks, keeping the ball away from what was the most potent offense in the league this season.

The Papermakers got the shutout and completed the perfect 3A GSHL schedule for the second year in a row.

Next week: We hope to have a feature in The Columbian on a Camas player for Friday’s paper. Still efforting this with the Camas coaches. We wrote features on Union and Skyview for Week 9’s preview, with the plan of getting a Papermaker in Week 10. 

The Falcons weren’t satisfied with just making the playoffs. They wanted to beat their rivals in a non-league game. Then they did it.

Prairie coach Terry Hyde was sporting his mohawk. He got the cut earlier in the day, a reward for the Falcons having a winning regular season. It was the first time the Falcons had won at least five games in the regular season since the late 1990s.

BG improves, too:
The Tigers finished 4-5, three more wins than in 2010.

Someone had to win. In a battle between two 0-8 squads, this competitive matchup was decided by a gutsy call to go for two after a touchdown. Richard Carter scored on a 39-yard run to cut the Fort lead to one at 7-6, then Carter ran in for two points and the lead.

The Hawks completed a perfect 2A GSHL season a year after winning one game.

The Beavers had already earned a playoff spot. But this non-league win gave them a winning record in the regular season. The Beavers did not win a game last year.

The Spudders are mudders. They took care of Ilwaco on a wet field to claim the final playoff berth in the Trico League.

Looking forward to the playoffs. We have 10 teams in Week 10. History tells us only a few will make it to Week 11. Here’s hoping Southwest Washington has at least five. Please don’t make me have to get ready for basketball too soon. Don’t get me wrong, basketball is fine. But there is nothing like covering playoff football.

Kate Zot contributed to this report.

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