Day After Report: Week 9
Say it ain’t so. The regular season is over? Nooooooo! It just started. It can’t be done.
At least we have the playoffs to look forward to now, but darn, I wish the season would last just a little longer.
So as we say goodbye to the regular season, here are a few shout-outs.
Camas is boss. The Papermakers are 9-0 and have won three consecutive league titles. This year, they picked up the 4A Greater St. Helens League title in their first season as a 4A program. Oh, and their closest game was a 22-0 win over Union.
Columbia River runs 3A GSHL table. After starting the season 1-3 in the non-league schedule, the Chieftains won all five league games to claim the title.
La Center is the real deal. The Wildcats have answered the call all year, finishing the regular-season 9-0, including 8-0 in the Trico. Hey, the Trico has its share of easy games on the schedule but the top four teams are all good. The Wildcats excelled in every challenge.
Now, a few shout-outs to teams that did not make the playoffs.
Prairie pride. The Falcons had to win Friday night to extend their season. It did not happen. However, trailing 14-0 to Kelso, the Falcons rallied to tie, only to have Kelso score in the fourth quarter for the win. Prairie just missed.
Fort Vancouver (and Hudson’s Bay, too). It is difficult to endure through such a tough season. The Trappers ended a 23-game losing streak with their win Friday over Bay. And while Bay went 0-9 this year, the Eagles did rally from a 14-point deficit Friday to tie the game. After losing eight in a row, to trail by two touchdowns can be discouraging. The Eagles made it a game. Last year, the Eagles won this Week 9 game. This year, it’s the Trappers who celebrated. Here’s hoping both programs can have a little more success in the coming years.
Now to the game notes:
CAMAS 49, BATTLE GROUND 21
Papermakers complete undefeated regular season.
Unbeaten times three: In the post-game excitement, Camas coach Jon Eagle told our reporter it was the second time Camas has completed an undefeated regular season. Actually, it’s the second time under Eagle, but the third time in the program’s history dating back to 1960. (Thanks to our friend Bryan Levesque of gshlfootball.com fame for letting us know.)
The Papermakers went 9-0 in 2005 under Bob Holman. That team won the next week in the preliminary playoff round to make it 10 in a row before losing in the first round of the 3A state playoffs.
Camas also went 9-0 under Eagle in 2010. That year, the Papermakers won their first 11 before losing in overtime in the 3A state quarterfinals.
Spread it around: Six Papermakers scored touchdowns Friday night. Nate Beasley had two, while Zach Eagle, Vincente Huber, John Norcross, Connor Maloney, and Dylan White found the end zone, too. Quarterback Reilly Hennessey threw two TD passes.
Haven’t forgotten you: We had a season-preview story on Camas, then another feature in the middle of the season. Plus we had the Papermakers as our “game of the week” three times during the year. However, we haven’t been at Camas as one of our big games since Week 7. Blame the schedule. After topping Skyview in Week 5 and then Union in Week 7, we pretty much knew the Papermakers would win the next two weeks. We hope to have more Camas coverage in the near future.
Finishing strong: Battle Ground’s Kevin Haynes picked up 95 yards against the top defense in the region. That gave him 1,272 yards in nine games. He also rushed for 12 touchdowns in 2012.
SKYVIEW 35, UNION 17
The Storm take second place in the 4A GSHL.
Berni leads the way on offense: In the game story, I focused on the Skyview defense. After all, this game was close at half and even closer late in the third quarter. Yet the Skyview defense destroyed Union’s game plan in the second half, holding the Titans to 36 yards of offense in the final two quarters.
That does not mean Skyview did not have some strong performances on offense. I noted Jabari Marshall and Kyle Ponciano for their two touchdown runs. But the real leader came from the natural leadership position: the quarterback.
Jordan Berni did not put up spectacular numbers. In fact, no one in this game put up spectacular numbers. But Berni completed passes to five receivers, and he also picked the right times to keep the ball and run. He finished his night 8 of 12 passing for 131 yards and he had 10 carries for 33 yards and a touchdown.
Again, those numbers are deceiving. He was so much better than that.
On Skyview’s second touchdown drive, Berni rushed three times. Two went for first downs, including a third-down conversion, and the other went for a touchdown.
With Skyview up 21-17 and facing a crucial third-and-3 play, Berni had the option to hand off the ball to a running back or keep it himself. He read the defense perfectly, kept the ball, and picked up the first down. A few minutes later, Skyview scored to make it a two-possession game again.
Don’t need big numbers to have a big game.
After it was over, Berni said he wanted to make sure his linemen got the credit they deserve. That’s fitting. Linemen are never measured by individual numbers. In this game, Berni’s individual numbers did not tell the story of his outing.
The story angle: My lead in the game story read something like Skyview sends Union packing. It was meant as a play-on words, because the loser of this game would have to travel for the first week of the playoffs.
I promise it would have said the same thing had Union won, with Union sending Skyview packing. Let’s face it, nobody plays “for second place.” But that is what was on the line Friday night in this 4A GSHL game. Because both teams already clinched playoff berths, really, all this game was about was home field for the first playoff game. That’s why I wrote what I wrote.
The players understand. The Titans wanted to ensure at least one more home game at McKenzie Stadium. Didn’t happen. Instead, the Storm get at least one more game at Kiggins Bowl.
“It’s my senior year. I’d give anything to play here again,” Skyview’s Kyle Ponciano said. “The fact that we get to play here one more time, I couldn’t ask for more than that.”
Acting coach: Julian Williams took over as head coach this week for Skyview’s Steve Kizer, who was serving a one-game suspension. Williams is also the defensive coordinator. When told that the Storm held Union to 36 yards in the second half, he smiled.
“It means Kizer won’t yell at me tomorrow in films,” he said.
Don’t forget about the Titans: OK, we all know Camas is good. Probably top three in the state. Skyview is good, too. A top-10 team, most likely. Well, Union trailed by six at the half against Camas and was down just four going into the fourth quarter against Skyview. Union has lost two league games for the first time since their first season in 2007, but we aren’t counting them out.
If the Titans are this close against Camas and Skyview, they can compete with the rest of the state, too.
Last year, Skyview and Camas got most of the attention. Rightfully so. The Storm played in the Class 4A state championship game. The Papermakers made it to the 3A state semifinals. But remember, the Titans reached the Elite Eight in the 4A playoffs. They can still do something special this season.
EVERGREEN 29, HERITAGE 17
The Plainsmen, Timberwolves, and Tigers finish in a tie for fourth place.
Improvement: The Evergreen Plainsmen looked better all season, even when they were losing. So finishing with a 4A GSHL win, ending up with three wins in 2012, has to make them feel good. The Plainsmen were 0-9 last year.
Justin Straup and Justice Murphy combined to rush for 331 yards for Evergreen against Heritage.
Receiving leader: Heritage’s Tim Hergert finished the regular season as the region’s leading receiver. He caught 51 passes for 1,061 yards.
COLUMBIA RIVER 15, MOUNTAIN VIEW 7
River knows how to finish, takes the 3A GSHL championship.
So close, so clutch, so Columbia River: The four teams fighting for the three playoff spots in the 3A GSHL all knew they had two wins going into the league season. That’s not meant as a knock on Fort Vancouver and Hudson’s Bay, just a reality of the times we live in. So the league title (and other playoff berths) would come down to the other three games.
Columbia River got a double-overtime victory over Kelso, surviving an extra point in regulation just to get to OT. Then the Chieftains scored in the final minute to beat Prairie. And on Friday, the game was close all night. River never trailed and it was never tied after River scored late in the first half. Heck, as difficult as Friday’s game was, it was the easiest of the three games.
This means, of course, that there is a lot of parity in the 3A GSHL. It also means that Columbia River is the best in the league. Yes, they were close games, but each and every week, it was the Chieftains that got the job done in the end.
River shout-outs: Columbia River’s Clayton Frank had 131 yards rushing and passed for 173 yards. His third-quarter touchdown run gave the Chieftains a 12-0 lead. … Remick Kawawaki was slowed in the first half, but not in the second. He finished with 107 yards rushing, 104 in the second half. … And the entire Columbia River defensive unit.
KELSO 20, PRAIRIE 14
Kelso ends up second, ends Prairie’s season.
Close: Prairie quarterback Tyler Armstrong threw for a TD and ran for one, leading the Falcons to a tie in the fourth quarter. The Falcons needed to win to tie for second place in the 3A GSHL and force a tiebreaker. Yet Kelso got the final touchdown of the game. Still, as noted above in this report, it was a fine effort from the Falcons.
FORT VANCOUVER 24, HUDSON’S BAY 14
It was the Trappers’ year in this rivalry.
Something had to give: This was the second year in a row that the two teams came into this game 0-8. And for the second year in a row, it was a good game between the programs.
Fort took a 14-0 lead on fine passing touchdowns from Jordan Suell to William Doty and another to Gaquan White. But Bay responded with touchdown runs from Joey Bomers and Devon Casey to tie the game in the third quarter.
Suell, though, scored on a 1-yard keeper, and a field goal from Babacar Secka sealed the victory for the Trappers.
HOCKINSON 41, WASHOUGAL 12
The Hawks go into the playoffs with some momentum.
Didn’t need the win, but got it anyhow: It turned out the Hawks did not need to win Friday in order to make the playoffs because R.A. Long lost. But the Hawks wanted to feel good about going forward.
Hockinson faces a tough challenge against Tumwater next week.
“The last three weeks have been our best games of the year,” Hockinson coach Rick Steele said. “It will be a tough game, but we are playing well.”
Tough end for Washougal: The Panthers went 3-1 in the non-league schedule but 0-5 in the 2A GSHL.
ABERDEEN 15, RIDGEFIELD 9
Maybe the Spudders were just looking ahead to the playoffs?
Locked in: The Spudders were already locked in as the No. 2 team from the 2A GSHL before Friday’s game. They take on Capital next week in the playoffs.
LA CENTER 29, WOODLAND 21
The Wildcats complete undefeated regular season, win Trico League title
Greg Jayne has a fine game report plus these notes:
Strange drive: La Center’s time consuming, ball-control offense outdid itself during the third quarter. Taking the second-half kickoff, the Wildcats burned almost seven minutes off the clock while managing to go backward. Here’s how it worked:
Jeremiah Arn returned a short kickoff 33 yards, setting up La Center at the Woodland 29-yard line.
Four plays and 11 yards later, the Wildcats had a first down. That’s when the fun started.
La Center was called for a false start.
And another false start.
And another false start.
And another false start. It was now first-and-30 at the Woodland 38-yard-line. Meanwhile, the clock had been restarted after each penalty. Finally getting a play off, La Center completed a pass, but the play went for a 6-yard loss.
Then the Wildcats got sacked. That made it third-and-41. Rather than risk having their offense wind up back in La Center, the Wildcats decided to do a quick kick. Wise move. The punt rolled dead at the Woodland 11.
After Woodland went three-and-out, the Beavers shanked a punt. La Center took over at the Woodland 20-yard line. A few plays later, La Center was in the end zone and had a 21-7 lead.
“I’ve never seen that before,” La Center coach John Lambert said of those back-to-back-to-back-to-back penalties. “Hopefully, that was an anomaly.”
Finding the right style: Woodland’s first three possessions: 3-and-out, fumble on the first play, and then fumble on the second play. The Beavers then put together a 63-yard touchdown drive and finished the first half with 65 yards of offense.
In the second half, trying to make up a deficit, Woodland went to a hurry-up offense and found its rhythm.
Hunter Huddleston finished 13 of 16 for 125 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for a team-high 58 yards.
At one point in the second half, Huddleston completed eight consecutive passes for 83 yards.
Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug: La Center’s passing attack was hit or miss. The Wildcats completed four passes: A 17-yard touchdown pass, a 25-yard touchdown pass, a screen pass for minus-6 yards, and a throwback to the quarterback for minus-10.
Both TD passes came on fourth-down plays.
Learning from (recent) history: La Center coach John Lambert credited a tough game the week before, a 35-32 win over Toledo, with grabbing his team’s attention for the Woodland game.
Quarterback Dylan King agreed: “That definitely showes us that we had to practice harder.”
That’s it for this week.
We hope to have all the playoff matchups, times, dates for Week 10 by Monday afternoon, if not sooner.