Day After Report: Week 6 (All in one post)
It can be difficult to comprehend that Skyview and Camas were not always really good at football.
Sure, we see Skyview as a perennial power, the four-time defending Class 4A Greater St. Helens League champion. We see Camas as the two-time 3A GSHL champion now in first place and looking like world-beaters in the 4A GSHL. But trust me, there have been rough seasons in the not-too-distant past for the these two programs.
Camas did not win a game in 1996 nor 1997. The Papermakers were 3-6 in 1999. In 2003, 2004, and 2005, Skyview won a combined nine games.
What I’m getting at is that struggling programs are not destined to struggle forever. Things can change. True, teams that have been struggling in recent years might never become as good as Skyview and Camas are right now, but they can improve their lot in football life.
Exhibit A: The Battle Ground Tigers.
In 2010, the Tigers went 1-8, giving them a three-year record of 6-21. But last year, the Tigers gained a bit of confidence in the non-league schedule and ended up 4-5. This year, the Tigers started the season 5-0 before losing to another of the local power teams, Union, on Friday night. The game was tied at 7 late into the third quarter before Union pulled away for a 28-7 victory.
Don’t think anyone outside of the Battle Ground program is going to predict that the Tigers are a playoff team this season. Not with Skyview, Camas, and Union in the league. But the Tigers are turning things around, they are demanding that good opponents pay attention to them.
It can happen.
Battle Ground coach Larry Peck, his assistants, and most importantly, the players should feel good about themselves for the work they have put in these past few years.
Two years ago, the Tigers needed a double-overtime win over a 2A program that did not win a game that year to avoid going winless.
Now, the Tigers are giving the Union Titans a scare.
Now to this week’s recap of the games …
UNION 28, BATTLE GROUND 7
A tie game late in the third, Union takes over in the fourth.
A close one: A lot of teams have a difficult time running the ball against the Union defense. Battle Ground’s Kevin Haynes was being contained much of the night. So early in the second half, the Tigers found another way to get Haynes the ball. A screen pass went for a 70-yard gain to the Union 2-yard line. Later, Haynes cashed in on a 1-yard plunge on a fourth-down play to tie the game at 7 three minutes into the third quarter.
The Battle Ground defense would force a Union punt in its next possession, giving the Tigers the ball with the chance to actually take the lead. It did not happen, though. The Union defensive players figured the game was on their shoulders, and they went out and won the game.
The Tigers reached the Union 26-yard line before linebacker Matt Reeves, on a second-and-5 play, sacked the Battle Ground quarterback for a 7-yard loss. After an incomplete pass, the Tigers were looking to go for it on fourth down. A delay of game penalty pushed them back, though, and they opted to punt. By the time they got the ball back, they were trailing 14-7.
Battle Ground’s next drive stalled after Kevin Grimsted got a sack for a 9-yard loss. Two plays later, Grimsted tackled a receiver for a 2-yard loss, forcing a punt.
Union would score again, and then Union’s Bryce Evans intercepted a pass to set up another Titans touchdown.
“I hope we earned a little respect tonight,” Battle Ground coach Larry Peck said.
“Our kids had to fight and battle,” Union coach Cale Piland said. “They made us earn the victory.”
Haves and have-nots: One of the biggest differences between the power teams and the others is depth. Peck acknowledged his players wore down a bit against Union, which helped the Titans close out the game with three consecutive touchdowns.
“When you start playing the top three teams, they don’t have depth issues,” Peck said, noting Union, Skyview, and Camas have enough talent that many of their players specialize on one side of the ball. “They’re really fresh, and they can keep going.”
Numbers: Union rushed for 272 yards, led by Leon Siofele’s 170 on 23 carries. Treve’ Ensley had 75 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Nolan Henry was held in check by the Battle Ground defense. He finished 8 of 16 for 63 yards, giving Union 335 yards of offense. Battle Ground was held to 57 yards rushing. Quarterback Ian Humphrey found some success through the air, completing 13 of 20 passes for 157 yards, giving the Tigers 214 yards of offense.
CAMAS 77, EVERGREEN 28
That might be a school record for points scored.
That’s a lot of points: Bryan Levesque, our friend from gshlfootball.com who has researched and found most of the scores from decades of football in Southwest Washington, said the 77 points is the most he has seen from a Camas team. So as far as we know, it’s a school record.
Touchdown maker: Last week, John Norcross had an interception against Skyview, then scored on offense on the very next play. He did that again this week, then topped himself. He intercepted an Evergreen pass, then scored on offense. On Evergreen’s next series, Norcross again intercepted a pass, but this time returned it for a defensive TD.
More numbers: Camas outgained Evergreen 376-180 and scored nine touchdowns in the first half. … The two teams combined to threw 53 passes in the first half. … Evergreen went back to its running game in the second half and had touchdown runs of 80, 56, and 53 yards.
Clarification: Couple week ago, I wrote that Camas was playing its first league game as a member of the largest classification in the state. I should have been more specific. It was their first game at the largest classification since Washington went up to a Class 4A system in the 1990s. Camas was a 3A program in 1970 and 1971 when 3A was the top classification. Thanks to Bryan Levesque for pointing out this miscue.
Next week: Camas, 6-0, 2-0 4A GSHL, takes on Union 5-1, 2-0. While on Seattle radio last night, the on-air talent said this would be the game for the league title. I said not so fast. OK, if Camas wins, then yes, it probably will mean a league championship. But if Union wins, the Titans will still have to face Skyview in Week 9. (And, of course, we already mentioned Battle Ground is not backing down from the power programs this season.)
SKYVIEW 46, HERITAGE 7
Storm bounce back from Week 5 loss to rip Timberwolves.
Deeee-fense: It was a stellar night for the Skyview defense, which held Heritage to a season-low seven points.
The Timberwolves completed a 19-yard pass to Tim Hergert on their first play from scrimmage for a first down. Heritage’s next first down did not come until halfway through the second quarter, and that was on a Skyview penalty.
The Timberwolves punted three plays after that completion to Hergert, then went three-and-out on their next three possessions.
Heritage got something going on the first drive of the second quarter, moving from its own 28 to the Skyview 21. But that’s when Skyview’s Gianni Carbone picked off a pass and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown and 27-0 Skyview lead.
Heritage quarterback Loren Standiford completed 5 of 13 passes for 60 yards in the first half, and Hergert had two catches for 22 yards at intermission. He finished with eight catches for 132 yards.
It wasn’t a completely perfect night for the Skyview defense. The Storm were flagged for five penalties for 65 yards on defense. All five penalties gave Heritage first downs.
Effective: Meanwhile, Skyview quarterback Jordan Berni was 11 for 13 passing for 148 yards and two touchdowns by halftime. He hit on his first eight passes to six different receivers.
COLUMBIA RIVER 27, KELSO 20, 2 OT
Chieftains lose lead, but not their fight, and then prevail in overtime.
Highs, lows, and highs: The Chieftains scored 20 first-quarter points and appeared to be on their way to a lopsided win.
Kelso’s defense got better, shut out the Chieftains the rest of regulation. Then, Kelso, trailing by six, scored a touchdown with 32 seconds remaining. Columbia River got new life when the extra point sailed just a bit wide to the right.
In the first overtime, the Chieftains made a goal-line stand. Kelso had the ball, first and goal from the 1-yard line. The Chieftains stuffed two running plays. Kelso was penalized five yards and then lost another yard on third down. River forced a fumble on fourth down.
River quarterback Clayton Frank found Duante Coleman for a 24-yard touchdown pass in the second overtime. That was on a fourth-down play. And David Snuffin ended the game by sacking the Kelso quarterback on a fourth-down play.
Seen this before: Earlier in the week, Columbia River coach John O’Rourke showed his team video of the 1997 game in Kelso. The Chieftains had to overcome a lot of obstacles that night, then kicked a field goal with 17 seconds left to win the league title.
“We’ve always had some really great games up here in Kelso,” O’Rourke said.
MOUNTAIN VIEW 49, FORT VANCOUVER 0
Thunder have won their first two league games by combined score of 98-21.
Playing time: Once you hit the grind of the league season, it can be hard for backups to make a case for increased playing time.
Most of the time, they get to play only the final minutes of a blowout, against fellow backups.
That’s what made the Thunder’s rout of Fort Vancouver so critical for players such as junior Nicholas Wright and sophomore Corey Davis, who got three quarters of playing time against the Trappers’ first-stringers to prove to the coaching staff that they deserve more meaningful snaps as the Thunder head into the homestretch of the season.
“We tell the kids, every time they get a chance to play on Friday night, it’s on tape,” Mountain View coach Adam Mathieson said. “Any chance you get on tape, you get evaluated by the coaches. It’s harder to take a job away in practice, but if you do it on Friday night, you’ll get rewarded.”
Both Wright (6 carries, 98 yards, TD) and Davis (8 carries, 62 yards), along with defenders such as Colby Graf (4 tackles, 2 for loss) and junior Grant Hardy (3 tackles, forced fumble), made strong cases for themselves, albeit against a Fort team that is in the midst of a 21-game losing streak.
“This game gave kids and opportunity to be in a competitive situation,” Mathieson said. “And it allows Eric’s kids (Fort coach Eric Ollikainen) a chance to develop as well.”
Fort highlight: One of the few highlights for the Trappers was the play of senior tailback Marquis Radford, who had seven carries for 40 yards in his first significant playing time of the season.
Radford missed the first half of the season, improving his grades, but he had had several strong runs backing up senior Jaquan Thomas (15 carries, 48 yards).
“He’s a great runner, a hard runner,” Olikkainen said of Radford, who also had three tackles while playing linebacker.
PRAIRIE 54, HUDSON’S BAY 6
The Falcons roll to their second win of the year.
Spread it around: The Falcons had six players score touchdowns: Nick Gawley (2), Jacob Austin, Jason Bracken, Tyler Duncan (2), Colton Prestwich, and Jordan Marti.
Yardage: The Falcons outgained Hudson’s Bay 362-88.
RIDGEFIELD 56, WASHOUGAL 3
It was close at halftime, but then all Ridgefield.
That got out of hand in a hurry: The Spudders quickly turned a 14-3 halftime lead into a rout, scoring three touchdowns in the first five minutes of the second half:
— Washougal attempted on onside kick to open the third quarter. The Panthers recovered the kick but were penalized for touching the ball before it traveled the requisite 10 yards. On the second play, Ridgefield completed a 48-yard pass from Gunnar Long to John White. That set up a 1-yard TD run by Clayton Farr.
— On the ensuing possession, a Washougal fumble was recovered by Ridgefield’s Dallas Wells. Moments later, a 9-yard run by Farr made it 28-3.
— On the next possession, Washougal went 3-and-out. Ridgefield started at its own 33, and a 25-yard pass to White was the key play in another TD drive.
Numbers: Ridgefield finished with 250 yards rushing and 146 yards through the air for a total of 396 — 183 in the first half and 213 in the second half.
Their yardage didn’t increase by much, but their production did. That’s because the Spudders had two drives stalled by lost fumbles in the first half, and because the defense frequently gave them a short field to work with in the second half.
Washougal struggles: Of Washougal’s 41 rushing attempts, seven lost yardage (including sacks) and eight went for 0 yards. The Panthers finished with 82 yards on the ground and 44 yards through the air.
Brandon Bea took over at quarterback late in the game when the outcome was no longer in doubt, and completed 2 of 5 passes for 34 yards.
That’s improvement: Gunnar Long’s first three completions for Ridgefield went for 0, 4, and minus-5 yards — three completions for minus-1 yard. His four completions the rest of the way went for 40, 34, 48, and 25 yards. Long finished 7 of 13 for 146 yards with no interceptions and no touchdowns.
Three of his long completions helped set up TDs. The other came on the final possession of the first half, when Ridgefield took over on its own 25 with 30 seconds to play.
Long found Sam Gillenwater for 34 yards into Washougal territory. Moments later, as time ran out, the Panthers were called for pass interference, giving Ridgefield one more play from the 26-yard line, but the Spudders were unable to convert.
Big quarter: The game had been decided, but Michael Knox’s fourth quarter still was noteworthy. With Ridgefield leading 35-3, the Spudders turned in a one-play scoring drive when Knox ran 69 yards for a touchdown.
On its next possession, Ridgefield went 25 yards in two plays — a 13-yard run by Knox and a 12-yard run by Knox.
After stopping Washougal again, the Spudders got a 37-yard punt return from Knox that set up the final score of the night.
MARK MORRIS 41, HOCKINSON 9
Hockinson scores first, but all Mark Morris from there.
Ouch: Hockinson was held to 20 yards rushing.
Touchdown: The Hawks did get a touchdown late in the contest when Jess Krahn found Nick Guinett on a 42-yard pass. Krahn threw for 233 yards to lead the Hawks.
WOODLAND 35, TOLEDO 12
Beavers get defensive to improve to 5-0 in league.
Strong performances: This game was not decided until the fourth quarter. Toledo scored first in the period to make it 20-12, but Woodland scored the final two touchdowns to pull away for the road win. … Eli Whitmire, Cy Whitmire, and Ryan Preston were credited with strong defensive games by Woodland coach Mark Greenleaf.
LA CENTER 40 TENINO 6
Wildcats improve to 6-0 and look as good as their record.
Over by halftime: La Center scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 28-6 lead. That was more than enough.
Where’s the passing game? A couple weeks back, we wrote about La Center’s strong passing attack. Friday night, the team did not attempt a pass. Did not need to; the Wildcats rushed for 493 yards.
No passing, no problem: A.J. Myers, one of the top receivers on the team, had other things to do besides not catching any passes Friday. Playing defense, he sacked the quarterback to force a punt in the first half. Later, he deflected a fourth-down pass to set up La Center’s offense on another scoring drive.
STEVENSON 46, ILWACO 0
Another shutout for the Bulldogs.
Best of the rest: There are a couple of levels of talent in the Trico League. You got some really top-heavy squads. Stevenson is proving to be the best of the other teams right now. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even get up into top-heavy range with the way the Bulldogs are playing. This marks the third consecutive shutout for Stevenson.
Wow: Zach Irwin rushed for 200 yards and a touchdown and also threw a touchdown pass on a trick play in the first quarter. Nice night.
WHITE SALMON 50, SETON CATHOLIC 10
Cougars had a lead in this one.
Big play: Drew Fuller recovered a fumble and ran 50 yards for a Seton Catholic touchdown in the second quarter. The significance? It gave the Cougars a 10-7 lead, their second lead of the game after Erik Powell’s first-quarter field goal.
That’s the first time this varsity program has had two different leads in one game. It also was the first lead in the second quarter.
Every little bit counts as progress.
“The kids are still fighting. They’re still playing hard,” Seton coach Dan Chase said. “They’re kind of discovering what they have the potential to do.”
That’s it for this week. Thanks to Greg Jayne for Ridgefield/Washougal notes, Rene Ferran for Mountain View/Fort Vancouver notes, Tim Martinez for Skyview/Heritage notes, and Jeff Klein for tracking down some info, as well.