Day After Report Part I (4A teams): Week 3
Well, this has to be one of the best weeks for the 4A Greater St. Helens League in recent years.
The league went 5-1 Friday night, with one win over a team that was ranked in the top five in the state, and three other wins against teams that made the playoffs a year ago. The only loss came by a team that scored 35 points and that game was tied in the fourth quarter.
Let’s start with the 3-0 teams.
CAMAS 45, AUBURN MOUNTAINVIEW 14
The Papermakers never let the Lions think they had a chance in this one.
Was it a 300-yard game? Yes, yes it was.
Even if The Columbian had Reilly Hennessey with a 299-yard game in Saturday’s paper. Here is what happened:
For starters, there was only one person in the press box Friday night. Me. Usually, there are two or three of us in there, and we can double-check what we just saw. But on this night, it was just me.
So late in the first half, Hennessey threw a completion to a Camas receiver who then fumbled the ball. According to the rules of stats, the passer and the receiver get credit to the point where the ball is recovered. From my vantage point, I could not tell if the recovery was at the Auburn Mountainview 35-yard line and then a short return of two yards to the 37-yard line OR if there was just a scramble to the ball and the ball was recovered at the 37. Trust me, this matters when determining yards. If the stat keeper cannot definitely see if it was a recovery and short return or just a recovery, the stat keeper goes with just the recovery.
This was late in the first half. I certainly was not thinking about the two-yard difference meaning much of anything. Until, of course, at the end of the game, when I had Hennessey at 299 yards.
I was going to ask the Camas coaches, in this very blog post, to review the video and get back to me. But before then, I asked our old friend Bryan Levesque. He got hold of the video, saw that the Auburn Mountainview player did recover the ball at the 35 and then advanced the ball two yards to the 37. That means Hennessey gets credit for a 20-yard pass to Connor Maloney rather than the 18-yard pass.
That means Hennessey threw for 301 yards.
Hennessey doesn’t mind: After the game, Hennessey did not seem to mind if he had 299 or 300 or whatever. He did like to hear that he was 20 of 26 passing, a 77-percent completion rate.
“That’s the stat I like to hear. I don’t care about the yards,” he said. “It means you’re doing the little things. The big plays will come if you’re patient. As long as I’m doing the little things I’m doing my job.”
Highlight run: OK, I admit it. I missed the very start of this play. Had my head down trying to figure out twitter and stats and texts at the same time. But I believe there was some sort of mix-up in the backfield, maybe during the QB-RB exchange. By the end of the play, none of that mattered.
Nate Beasley got hold of the ball, ran into a swarm of defenders at about the 10-yard line. The swarm pushed Beasley back a bit, and just about everybody in the stadium figured the play was about to end. But Beasley did not think so. He kept his feet moving and actually bounced backward away from the pile, emerged unscathed, and then bounced to the outside for a 13-yard touchdown run. One of those great 13-yard runs.
Zach Eagle can’t catch a break: OK, OK, no real need to feel sorry for the guy. He ended up with five receptions for 53 yards and he also had two first-quarter interceptions that set up Camas touchdowns.
But he also ran a long, long ways, twice, but to no avail.
First, he caught a quick pass from quarterback Reilly Hennessey, then weaved his way around defenders for a 65-yard play to the 1-yard line. It actually appeared he scored. The last defender to try to stop him was attempting to make the tackle when his knee hit the turf as Eagle jumped. From my vantage point, the first time Eagle hit the ground was in the end zone. But the official ruled his knee was down at the 1-yard line. I thought it was the defender’s knee that the official saw. It was all moot anyway. There was a penalty all the way back to where Eagle caught the ball. Illegal block in the back two yards from scrimmage.
Later in the game, Eagle had an electrifying punt return for what would have been a 79-yard touchdown. But again, a penalty brought back the play.
Boom! Those weren’t Air Force jets making those loud noises over Clark County on Friday night. That was the leg of Roldan Alcobendas.
He nailed what is believed to be a school-record 52-yard field goal. Right down the middle, too.
By the way, this did not surprise me. I saw him hit a 58-yarder in practice, right down the middle, last month. … Oh, OK. It surprised me a little. I knew he had the leg, but to do it under the pressure of a game, that’s impressive.
“Every kick is the same, just like practice,” Alcobendas said, recalling what he was thinking when he got the call to attempt the lengthy kick. “I have faith in my offensive linemen. Without them, I couldn’t get the kick off. I also have a great snapper, Troy Patterson, and a great holder, Zach Eagle.”
Camas is a dominating 3-0: The Papermakers have outscored their opponents 139-41 in the first three games. The defense has only given up 13 points in the first half, meaning the other 28 points have come long after the games were decided.
“It’s hard to say which one is the best,” Zach Eagle said of the Camas victories. “Every week, we’re trying to get better. We have little things we can improve on. It feels good to get some non-league wins.”
Linebacker Nick Gadbaw echoed those thoughts.
“I don’t think we every expect to have it easy,” he said. “We’re using these games for practice for the league games, which will be the big ones.”
BATTLE GROUND 56, DECATUR 20
The Tigers did not seem to mind the delay of game.
Look at those standings: Battle Ground Tigers. 3-and-oh. Undefeated. Three in a row. … Whoa.
Have you seen that before? Well, not if you were born after the fall of 1991. Yep. that’s the last time the Tigers have been 3-0 in football. The team has had several 2-0 starts in the past two decades, but not 3-0 starts. Until now.
By the way, that 1991 team won its first eight games. I know, I know, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Just sayin’.
What time is it? Decatur showed up late. Anyone who drives I-5 on Fridays would have told them to get an early start. Especially starting out in the Puget Sound area.
Besides the team showing up late, there also was a 30-minute delay for warmups because of lightning. The game started a little after 8 p.m.
Comeback again: While it turned into a rout, the Tigers trailed in this game in the first quarter. That means Battle Ground has trailed in all three of its wins this season.
Worth noting because the players themselves told me that one of the keys to success this season would have to be attitude. Last year’s team, they said, might have just buckled under the pressure of being down early in games. This year, the Tigers know they have it in them to bounce back and get back in the game.
SKYVIEW 35, LAKES 14
Lakes early and late, but all Skyview in the middle.
Give up yardage, not points: When Lakes drove 63 yards for a touchdown on its opening possession, Skyview looked as if it were going to be for a back-and-forth battle. But the Storm kept the Lancers off the scoreboard until 2:21 left in the fourth quarter en route to a 35-14 win.
Skyview had a bend-but-don’t break defense. The Lancers drove 44 yards on their next possession before being forced to punt. They drove 75 yards on the final drive of the second quarter before fumbling on the Skyview 1-yard line with 16 seconds left. Lakes went 48 yards to the Skyview 4 early in the fourth, but the Lancers failed to convert a 22-yard field goal attempt.
Scoring machine: When Jabari Marshall scored from a yard out for Skyview’s first touchdown Friday, the senior had scored all eight of the Storm’s touchdowns this season.
Jordan Berni’s 18-yard TD run late in the second quarter snapped the string.
Later, Marshall scored his ninth TD of the season on a 2-yard run in the third quarter.
Kizer on solid run after slow start: Steve Kizer’s first game as head coach at Skyview was a 48-21 loss to Lakes on Sept. 3, 2004. The Storm went on to drop their first four games under Kizer and seven of their first eight.
The Storm have gone 60-26 since then, including four consecutive 4A Greater St. Helens League titles.
ENUMCLAW 54, HERITAGE 35
Tied at 35 going into the fourth, the Timberwolves could not keep up in this shootout.
This has got to hurt: It was another excruciating loss for the Timberwolves, following a 40-34 defeat against Columbia River and a 49-46 loss to Kelso. That gives Heritage 115 points in three games and no victories.
The reason is a defense that allowed 438 rushing yards against Enumclaw. That included 268 yards and six touchdowns by junior Mauricio Portillo, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound bowling ball of a running back.
“He’s a good player,” Heritage coach Jack Hathaway said. “He’s a big, physical kid who runs downhill.”
Portillo rushed for 100 yards and three scores in the first quarter, then found little room to run in the second quarter. But Enumclaw wore down the Heritage defense in the second half, and Portillo provided the capper with a 10-yard score in the final minute.
They keep making plays: Heritage has two of the most dangerous receivers in the area in senior Tim Hergert and junior E’Lon Mack. Hergert returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score in the first quarter and caught seven passes for 133 yards, including a 65-yard TD. Mack had six receptions for 129 yards, including TDs of 33 and 11 yards.
When Enumclaw was focusing on the wideouts, tight end Robby Cueneta found room in the middle for four catches good for 93 yards. It was all part of an attack that saw quarterback Loren Standiford throw for 404 yards.
Here is some defense: Trailing 20-14 in the second quarter and having been unable to stop Enumclaw’s offense, Heritage came up with a key defensive stand. The Timberwolves tackled Portillo for a 2-yard loss on third-and-goal from the 1, then stopped him short of the goal line on fourth down. Heritage then went 99 yards in two plays — a 34-yard pass to Cueneta, and a 65-yard pass to Hergert. The extra point gave the Timberwolves a 21-20 lead, their only advantage of the game.
Missed opportunities: After Enumclaw scored to take a 48-35 lead with 5 minutes to play, Heritage showed it still had some life by marching to the Hornets’ 13-yard line. The key play on the 51-yard drive was a 33-yard pass to Hergert, but the Timberwolves eventually turned the ball over on downs with 3:17 to play.
Enumclaw then marched 87 yards for the final score.
After going into halftime with a 28-28 tie, Heritage just missed on a chance to seize the momentum. On the first play of the second half, the Timberwolves dropped a sure touchdown pass. On the second play, they threw an interception.
Enumclaw parlayed that turnover into a 53-yard TD drive for a 35-28 lead.
Strange scoring drive: Trailing 20-7 and taking over the ball late in the first quarter, Heritage turned in a most unusual touchdown drive. On third down, Standiford was sacked and fumbled but the Timberwolves recovered the ball. Heritage then converted a fourth-and-5 with a 13-yard pass to Mack.
Moments later, the Timberwolves faced a first-and-30 following a pair of penalties. They converted the first down thanks to a pass-interference penalty, then threw a 33-yard scoring pass to Mack.
EVERGREEN 28, PRAIRIE 14
The Plainsmen promised they would be better this year. They already have two more wins this year than last year.
A new team: Not only did Evergreen win this game, but the Plainsmen did it convincingly. Up 21-0 at the half.
After Prairie scored in the third quarter, Evergreen responded with a fourth-quarter TD for a 28-7 lead. That pretty much ended any hope of a Prairie comeback. That last drive took nearly nine minutes as the team marched 90 yards to put the game out of reach.
Interesting penalty: While I was not at this game, I was told there was a bad snap on a punt. The Evergreen punter got the ball and was scrambling for some room, with a bunch of Prairie Falcons chasing him. The punter found some space to get off a punt. Soon after the ball left his foot, a Falcon ran into the punter. It was a 5-yard penalty, and it helped Evergreen keep the ball.
An observer at the game wondered if that was the right call. We all know that defenders cannot rough or run into the punter. But most of us fans are just thinking about the traditional punt play. Not one that involves a bad snap and a wild scramble.
I spoke to an official Saturday night who told me that even on those plays, the punter is provided protection from roughing or running into as soon as he punts the ball. Just like a regular play. If he had punted the ball while he was being tackled or run into, then there would have been no penalty. But if the officials ruled he got the punt off before contact, the defense must let him be.
UNION 28, PENINSULA 21
The Titans waited until the fourth quarter to take the lead.
Rally times three: The Titans trailed three times in this game, but each time matched Peninsula. It was 7-0, then 7-7. 14-7, then 14-14. 21-14, then 21-21.
Big time: Ethan Beniga was credited with the play of the game for the Union defense. After Treve’ Ensley tied the game at 21 with a 69-yard run, Beniga forced a fumble and recovered the ball, setting up Union’s go-ahead TD.
Ensley, by the way, finished with 126 yards on six carries. A big-time average of 21 yards per attempt.
That’s it for Part One. I will be writing at least one more part, for the 3A, 2A, 1A, and B schools. Might break that into two parts. To be determined. At least one will be posted some time Sunday.
Thanks to Tim Martinez for the Skyview notes. Thanks to Greg Jayne for Heritage notes.