Day After Report: Week 10

Well, that was easy.
The three Friday games featuring the 4A and 3A GSHL squads all won easily. Then on Saturday, Mountain View had an easy victory. In the 1A ranks, La Center rolled into the state playoffs, as well.
Unfortunately for our other Southwest Washington teams, they were easily dispatched in the state preliminary round.
Regardless, of the 17 teams in The Columbian’s “readership” area, five are going to state. That’s a fine showing.
So, to the notes from Week 10’s games. 

The Titans rushed for 352 yards and advanced to the state playoffs for the first time as a Class 4A program.

Brandon Brody-Heim rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns to lead the offense. Or did he lead the offense?
You see, he needed 12 carries for those 194 yards, which means he “only” averaged 16.2 yards per carry.
Now some of you might think that’s awesome, but his teammates Tanner Nelson and A.J. Anderson can give Brody-Heim some grief this week. After all, Nelson averaged 70 yards per carry and Anderson ended up with 23 yards per carry
Oh, Nelson and Anderson only had one carry apiece?
Details, details.
Nelson can always say that every time he got to carry the ball Friday night, he went for 70 yards. 
Seriously, this was one impressive performance by the offensive line and all of the Union ball carriers.
“We knew we were going to run the ball all night,” Brody-Heim said. “We had a great week of practice, focus.” 
In all, Union rushed for 352 yards on 24 carries — 14.7 yards per rush.

That had to smart.
Linebackers Brock Sparks and Brody-Heim got to the ball carrier about the same time late in Friday’s game. More accurately, and unfortunately for Sparks, Brody-Heim’s face mask and Spark’s fingers got to the play at the same time.
Sparks’ thumb got stuck in the very tiny space between the top bar of the mask and the upper part of the helmet. After the play, Sparks could be seen in obvious discomfort, his thumb getting pinched. 
Brody-Heim took his helmet off, while Sparks walked to the sideline — with the thumb still stuck. 
That meant the Titans were without two linebackers on the next play.
Brody-Heim is tough, but they wouldn’t let him play without a helmet. Sparks is tough, too, but they wouldn’t let him play with two helmets!
So the drama of trying to free Sparks’ thumb continued on the sideline.
“I was in excruciating pain for a while,” Sparks said. “Then I thought I was going to lose my thumb. There was no feeling.”
Equipment personnel ended up getting a screwdriver to take off the face mask.
While this was going on, Sparks and Brody-Heim missed a defensive touchdown. Matt Reeves picked off a pass and returned it 85 yards for a score. 
Most of the Titans were celebrating that play. Sparks was still hoping he was going to have 10 fingers. About a minute later, Sparks was free.
On the next defensive series, Sparks went back in the game and provided the hardest hit of the contest with a crushing blow to a Tahoma ball carrier.

Pick six:
Matt Reeves was trailing the Tahoma receiver, when the receiver not only failed to catch a pass but somehow the ball popped over his right shoulder and into the arms of Reeves.
It was a nice catch by Reeves, who could not have been prepared for a ball to take such a bounce. 
“Is this real life?” Reeves asked himself. “It is. I need to run now.”
So he took off down the sideline, going 85 yards the other way.
“I almost passed out,” Reeves said. “I was so tired. Bryson (Page) jumped on me (in the celebration). I was like, ‘Get off me. I’m too tired!'”

Union more than doubled Tahoma in offense, 458 yards to 223. Tahoma had 92 yards in the first half.
“We just plowed over them,” defensive lineman Nick Henderson said.

Next: Union will travel to French Field in Kent to face Kentlake at 6 p.m. Friday in the opening round of the 4A state playoffs.

Opportunistic Storm go for the ball, get the ball, then get the ball in the end zone — a lot.

Seen this before: 
The Skyview Storm are ball hawks on defense. They don’t want to just tackle an opponent, or knock down a pass. They are going after the ball.
Last week, there were two sack/forced fumble/recoveries in the game to win the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League title. Then this week, the Storm defense forced three turnovers on Issaquah’s first three possessions.
The Storm would eventually build a 24-0 lead. 
Mo Morrison and Jabari Marhsall had the early interceptions. Marshall, by the way, had one of the forced fumbles last week against Union. 
Nice stretch of defense there, Jabari, in a couple of crucial games.

No punt: 
When Issaquah wasn’t turning over the ball with turnovers, they were turning over the ball on downs. Issaquah went with a no-punt strategy.
After a field goal to get within 21 points at 24-3, the Issaquah defense stopped the Storm. But Issaquah’s offense stalled, too. Rather than punt, the Eagles went for it in their own territory. The fourth-down play failed, leading to a short field for the Storm. Two plays later, the Storm scored and the rout was on.

Kieran McDonagh was superb, completing 20 of 31 passes for 338 yards and four touchdowns. Forrest Russell had six catches for 105 yards and a TD. Morrison caught two touchdown passes. Parker Henry was solid once again, this time rushing for 123 yards with two touchdowns.

Next: Skyview will host Kentlake at 7 p.m. Friday at Kiggins Bowl in the opening round of the state playoffs. 

The Papermakers improved to 9-1 with yet another easy victory.

The Papermakers have won six in a row and have scored 55 or more points in their last five games. They have not given up more than six points in any of the six wins. Certainly, the competition will only get better from here on out, but the Papermakers have to be feeling confident.

Gennaro gets it done:
Quarterback Tony Gennaro has an “interesting” delivery of the football. It certainly looks different. But it does not matter how it looks if he get the ball to where it is supposed to go.
Friday night, Gennaro completed 14 of 20 passes for 319 yards and five touchdowns.
Those are awesome numbers. And, his completion percentage would have been better if not for a couple of dropped passes.
(Hey, those happen. Just like QBs sometimes miss their targets. My point is not to be negative to the receivers, just to let you know that Gennaro was spot-on in this game.)
“I came out really focused and really wanted to make a statement with this first game of the playoffs,” Gennaro told Columbian reporter Paul Danzer.
Gennaro is now 3-1 as a playoff starter. Last year, he got his first start in Week 10 after all-league quarterback Logan Grindy went down with an injury. The Papermakers went 2-1 under Gennaro, advancing to the quarterfinals. Add the 9-1 record this year, and Gennaro is an impressive 11-2 as a starter. 

More numbers:
Camas had 14 first downs to Bainbridge’s three in the first half. The final tally — with a running clock in the second half — was 17-8. Four of Bainbridge’s first downs came over the final seven plays of the game.

Better than that:
Bainbridge was not a bad team. Really.
“I know the score doesn’t indicate this, but we beat a very good football team,” Camas coach Jon Eagle said. “We saw them on tape play a lot of good teams very tough. They’ve got some exceptional athletes. We just happened to execute and play good defense.”
Well, it didn’t “just” happen. The Papermakers have the attitude that they must improve.
“We can always get better,” said Zack Marshall, who rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns. “That’s what we’re going to do this week in practice. We try not to look at who we’re playing. We’re playing against ourselves.”

Next: Camas hosts Kennedy at 7 p.m. Friday in the opening round of the Class 3A state playoffs.

Two-word Mountain View beats one-word Mountainview, so we now know that Mountain View is two words. This settles it.

Mentioned this in my game report but it must be said again. The Thunder rushed for 208 yards — in the first quarter!
I can say I have never seen a team rush for 800 yards in a game. Still haven’t, but that was quite the pace the Thunder had Saturday night. The Thunder also scored four touchdowns in the period, ending the game in a hurry.

Well, not really in a hurry:
Auburn Mountainview throws the ball — a lot. The Lions threw the ball 46 times, completing 25 passes for 176 yards. That’s only an average of 3.8 yards per attempt. But it also means the clock stopped a lot. The running clock did not happen until the fourth quarter, so the game took some time to play out.
But at no time were the Thunder in any danger of not advancing to state.

O’Dell is O’-so-difficult to tackle: 
Quarterback Riley O’Dell rushed for 53 yards on five carries. On two of the plays, it seemed like all 11 defenders were needed to take him down.
His signature play was a QB sneak on a fourth-and-1 from the AMV 27-yard line. He got the initial yard needed for the first down and was in the middle of a big pile of football players. Many of us figured he was down. Then we saw some legs still moving the pile. It was O’Dell, still moving, still advancing. He would end up with a 10-yard gain. 
Again, he was met about a yard from the line of scrimmage. He didn’t necessarily break a tackle. The Lions were all over him. He just wouldn’t go down for another nine yards.
“There were a couple of times he was dragging five or six players five or six yards,” senior running back Michael Rivers said.

Sophomore succeeds: 
Michael Rivers ended up with 129 yards and two touchdowns in his final game at McKenzie Stadium. The Thunder look to be in good hands in the future, though.
Sophomore Eddie Richardson rushed for 111 yards and three touchdowns.
“I wasn’t expecting that,” Richardson said. “I was just expecting to help our team win. That’s always nice, scoring. That always feels good.”

Run, run, run, run PASS!
The Thunder ran the ball on their first 29 plays.
So when they did pass, yep, it was open.
Riley O’Dell connected with a Cory Creagan for a 63-yard play that set up a Michael Rivers touchdown to make it 37-3.
Later, O’Dell found Creagan again, this time on a 39-yard touchdown pass. 

Next: Mountain View returns to the state playoffs for the first time since 2004. The Thunder will travel to take on Lakes at 7 p.m. Friday at Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood.

The Wildcats were in a battle for a quarter. Then they dominated the rest of the game to advance to the Class 1A state playoffs.

Spreading it around:
Five players — Gabe Bunker, Dylan King, Alex Meza, Mike Polyakov, and Patrick Mayolo — scored La Center’s five touchdowns. That’s been the team’s design all year, sharing the workload.

Close, then it wasn’t:
Tenino scored a touchdown to tie the game at 7 after the first quarter. The La Center defense was outstanding the rest of the way. In all, La Center outgained Tenino 424 to 250.

With two minutes left in the game, La Center coach John Lambert got a shower with the Gatorade bucket full of water.
“It was all in good fun,” Lambert said. “Luckily the water only got to my back.”

Next: La Center travels to Sumner to take on Cascade Christian at 7 p.m. Saturday in the opening round of the Class 1A state playoffs.

No close games for any of our teams. Five wins, five losses. All double-digit margins.

Heritage kept its postseason streak alive. New coach Jack Hathaway got to the playoffs in his first season. The Timberwolves have advanced to Week 10 the past five seasons.
Prairie had its first winning season and first playoff appearance since 1997. Congrats to the Falcons and coach Terry Hyde.
Hockinson won the 2A Greater St. Helens League a year after going 1-8. 
Woodland went to the playoffs and had a winning season a year after going 0-9.
Ridgefield made it to the playoffs under first-year head coach Matt Martin. 

Looking forward to Week 11 and the opening round of state. Write to you next week!

Tim Martinez, Paul Danzer, and Kate Zot contributed to this report.

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