The non-league schedule is over for teams in the 4A Greater St. Helens League. Here is a quick look at what we’ve seen from the six teams in Southwest Washington’s biggest classification.

Camas might be better than we thought. And we thought Camas was the best in the state.

Skyview certainly is better now than at the beginning of the season.

Evergreen already has as many wins this season as it did last season.

3-1 Union hopes it got its one bad outing out of the way (in Week 2) and impressed with a 50-point performance Friday.

Battle Ground has some momentum with a two wins in a row.

Heritage got its second win of the season Friday and the Timberwolves also look improved over last year.

As far as the 3A GSHL, congrats to the Hudson’s Bay Eagles for picking up a non-league win Friday night.

Still, until further evidence, we’re sticking with our preseason story that said it’s a four-team race for the three playoff spots. And looking at the non-league records, it would appear Kelso will be the odd team out.

That’s why they play the games, I suppose. Because nobody will care about any preseason predictions.

Anyway, until next week, here are some notes from Week’s 4 games. (A reminder, we do not have notes from every game every week this season. I will always have notes from the game or games I cover, and we try to track down notes from other contests. But no guarantees.)

Really? 28 points in the first quarter? This is starting to get ridiculous.

The Papermakers scored 47 points in Week 1 against Jesuit, the superpower from Oregon. It turns out, maybe Jesuit was pretty good. That’s the lowest point total of the season for the Papermakers! Camas has now outscored its four opponents 213-45. That’s an average of 53 points per game. Hard to lose that way.

After the game, I told quarterback Reilly Hennessey his numbers. He went 11 for 17 for 279 yards.

He acted disappointed that he didn’t get 300 yards. Don’t worry, he had a smile on his face. Wasn’t serious. Or, he wasn’t too serious anyway.

I reminded him that he only played half the game.

Oh yeah.

More numbers … last night I messed up on one of my tweets. I wrote Camas was slowing down because it took the Papermakers seven plays to score on their third drive of the. Whoops. It was only six plays.

In all, Camas scored six first-half touchdowns. The Papermakers did it in 2 plays, 3 plays, 6 plays, 6 plays, 2 plays, and 6 plays. The only drive the Papermakers did not score came when Lakes intercepted a pass that should have been caught by a Camas receiver. Bad luck for Hennessey and Camas, right? Sure, but you know, those breaks, those bounces of the ball, have a way of working themselves out.

Because ….

…Best penalty of the night:
Reilly Hennessey did throw a ball that was destined to be an interception. I’m talking, the ball was going right toward a Lakes defensive back.

All of a sudden, the defensive back was on the ground. He was pulled down by Camas wide receiver James Price. It was a 15-yard penalty for offensive pass interference. And it was a thing of beauty.

As a football fan, one of the most frustrating things I see while watching the NFL is receivers not trying to help their quarterbacks out on bad throws. Hey, they happen. Just like receivers drop balls from time to time.

Price, though, played this perfectly. It is always better to take a penalty than lose the ball. Price knew he had no chance at catching the pass, but he had a chance to make sure the ball was not intercepted. He did that.

The very next play, Hennessey found Michael DiGenova wide open for a 75-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-0 midway through the first quarter.

By the way, I saw DiGenova after the game and wondered if he had ever run that far in his life.

“Only for touchdowns,” he said.

That touchdown does not happen without Price’s decision to take a penalty for the team on the previous play.

Price is rewarded:
Call it karma, if you want, but Price was rewarded later, scoring on the game’s sweetest looking play.

He caught a wide receiver screen, ran toward the middle of the field, worked around a block, then made two guys miss with his moves, got back to the outside and was gone for a 54-yard touchdown, his fourth TD of the season.

“As soon as I got the ball, it was just a great feeling knowing my teammates were doing all the right things to get me to the end zone,” Price said. “It felt pretty good. I broke loose a little bit, got into the open field, and I was home free from there.”

Kicker Krushes!
There was a lot of defense in a shutout, but the biggest hit of the night might have come from the special teams unit. Camas kicker Caleb Lightbourn destroyed the Lakes returner around midfield. It was one of those “whooooooahhhh” moments from the crowd.

Now, in the NFL, players get mocked for being tackled by the kicker, even slowed down by a kicker. Of course, most NFL kickers are not built like Lightbourn. He is listed at 6-3, 190 pounds. He is a sophomore. Looks like a linebacker, not a kicker. Tackles like one, too.

Just stop blocking:
OK, I’ve seen enough of Zach Eagle returning punts. He is simply awesome. He is slippery. He makes at least two or three guys miss before anyone brings him down.

And because of this, if I were coaching, I’d just tell the other 10 guys to get in the way of the other team but don’t try to really block anybody. What’s the point?

You see, Eagle started the game with a 39-yard punt return to the Lakes’ 16-yard line. Great return. Set up a touchdown.

The rest of his returns? Oh, they were great. Even spectacular. But all the strong returns were called back by penalties.

New strategy on punt returns: Zach, you’re on you own! Just make ’em miss.

Next up:
The Papermakers are at Skyview for the 4A GSHL opener.

Hennessey said he and his teammates are trying to find a goal each week of the season, in order to not look past anybody. For this week: The Papermakers have yet to beat Skyview at Kiggins Bowl.

“We have something to work toward,” Hennessey said.



Here come the Storm. Jacob Dennis had three touchdowns on offense and an picked off a pass while playing defense.

Well done, Skyview:
As a journalist, I don’t care who wins the games I cover. That’s true. I have a job to do, no matter the result. But I’ve always said that when Clark County teams face squads from outside of Clark County, I want the Clark County teams to win. I’m selfish. It makes for a better story!

This was especially true for the Storm the past two weeks, playing non-league competition. I just felt the Storm deserved some team success after what happened at the end of the Columbia River game.

The players told Columbian Sports Editor Micah Rice that they used the River game as a way to become closer, to become a better team. And the Storm rebounded with wins over Lakes and Enumclaw.

Rice was at the River game, too. He said it is clear that Skyview is a lot better than it was just two weeks ago.

Skyview lineman Garrett Lawler and I caught up with each other Saturday on Twitter. He agreed.

“Hands down, our experience level has increased majorly, and we are playing like we are taught,” said Lawler, who had eight tackles, including two sacks, against Enumclaw. “When you do exactly what your coaches tell you, you will do good things.”

Now, it’s time for league play. Skyview gets the ultimate test with the top-ranked 4A team in the state coming to Kiggins Bowl.

“Camas is a great team. Excited for next week,” Lawler said.



Tigers get their second win a row.

Smalley goes big:
Battle Ground running back Justin Smalley rushed for 234 yards and four touchdowns, giving him 364 yards in the past two weeks.

“The line definitely stepped up. They have been working hard at practice, and it showed,” Smalley said.

Smalley got the call 34 times Friday night.

“Just run downhill, and keep going fast,” he said, referring to his thoughts on the workload.

Name game:
Quarterback Colston Vukanovich threw two more TD passes, giving him 11 this season. We were told that we had been spelling his name wrong, at least earlier in the season. Promise it was not on purpose. In fact, the first roster that was given to us shows Vucanovich. Oh, newspaper problems!

Regardless, really great start to the season for the BG QB.



Timberwolves get a shutout and second win of the year. Heritage had two wins all of last season.

The record:
According to Twitter, E’Lon Mack’s touchdown catch was the 15th TD of his career, which would be a school record.

That’s deserves a Day After Report shout-out!



Plainsmen get to 3-1.

The Plainsmen rushed for 451 yards. That’s impressive, of course. So, too, were the total yards of the Evergreen touchdowns.

The eight TDs went for a total of 291 yards, an average of 36 yards per score. Big play Plainsmen for sure.



Eagles score 23 fourth-quarter points for the victory.

Not too many notes because …:
Sports Editor Micah Rice was there, and he found too many good things to save for the Day After Report. Instead, he put it in the game story. How a player loves his new jersey, his new number. How a QB threw for more than 300 yards. How the Eagles never gave up and ended the longest losing streak in Clark County. It’s all in there.

By the way, Micah has had quite a run. He was there for Columbia River’s freakish win over Skyview. He was there last week when Evergreen rallied to beat Battle Ground in a close game. Then he had this sports miracle of a finish, two touchdowns in the final two minutes to end a long losing streak.

Fans of exciting games should beg Micah to be at their games.



Chieftains suffer first loss of the year

Flush it:
That’s the expression some teams use after a missed assignment or a bad game. Just flush it and go on to the next one.

“We need to be resilient,” said River coach John O’Rourke after his team lost its final non-league game. “The first part of the season is the non-league season, and it was just about working to be the best team we can be. It was about getting the type of varsity experience that a lot of these guys were lacking (before the season). Whatever positives came out of that were a real benefit.”

Now, it’s on to the second part of the season and the business of defending its 3A Greater St. Helens League title.

That starts Friday night against Fort Vancouver.

“We didn’t come out and play our game tonight,” said senior linebacker Nathan Jaskierny, who had a hand in two of River’s five sacks. “We need to get back to focusing on what we do.”

Bird in hand:
W.F. West converted on three third downs on its first two drives in building a 14-0 lead. River finally got a third-down stop on the Chehalis school’s third drive, but the Bearcats also committed a holding penalty on the play.

Rather than taking fourth-and-7 around midfield, the Chieftains chose to accept the spot foul, setting up a third-and-27 from the West 33.

The Bearcats made them pay. Quarterback Tanner Gueller escaped trouble a couple of times, buying time for Rogelio Sevilla to work himself free for a 45-yard completion on the final play of the first quarter.

Sevilla then opened the second quarter with a 22-yard TD run, putting River in a three-touchdown hole.

Second string shines:
O’Rourke had to like how his second-stringers performed once the game’s outcome had been settled.

Their first play didn’t go so well, as River fumbled the ball away at its 24-yard line. But after West cashed in with a touchdown for a 36-0 lead, the River reserves made their mark.

Junior Gabe Evenson led a pair of touchdown drives in relief of starter Jonathan Branson. Evenson showed his own elusiveness with a 47-yard scramble on the first one and finishing 6-for-9 passing for 84 yards.

“It’s been real close between the two of them all year,” O’Rourke said of the competition between the two quarterbacks. “There’s not a great deal of separation between the two.”

Better than never!
The Columbia River notes came in late because our excellent freelance reporter, Rene Ferran, lost power at his house during Saturday’s storm. Once the power came back on, he sent his notes. Thanks for the effort, Rene.



Wildcats keep rolling.

Defensive stats:
We got the scoring summaries in the paper and I’ll have the individual stats listed soon. But here are a few defensive highlights that were called in late Friday night.

Jacob Livingston had four solo tackles, Connor House had five total tackles. Conner Fulton had three tackles. Max Hiller had a sack. And Isaiah Block had an interception. Naturally, Block also had a block, blocking a punt.




Beavers destroy defending state champions.

Mr. 100:
Another shout-out to Woodland coach Mark Greenleaf, who recorded his 100th career win. The 64th win at Woodland came against the defending state champion. Sure, Montesano lost a ton of talent from last year’s team, but it still is Montesano. Great program. Which makes this win extra sweet for the Beavers.




Prairie looks ahead to league play.

The bad, first:
Prairie was held to 126 yards of offense. Seriously. This from a team that had three different 100-yard rushers in the first three weeks of the season. That stretch included two wins over Class 4A competition.

Then this happened, against a 2A program. Sure, Mark Morris is a solid 2A program but the Falcons had to be disappointed with their results Thursday night.

Even in all that, though, the Falcons still almost had another 100-yard rushing performance. Ronnie Evenden finished with 97 yards on 22 carries. Of course, that means the rest of the team combined to gain 29 yards.

Not an excuse, but:
The Falcons were without five starters due to injury, illness and the like. Now, a dominant Class 4A program might be able to handle five starters out of their lineup, depending on the opponent. However, a 3A program that might not have the most depth, going up against a quality opponent, well, five starters certainly changes things.

Mark Morris took advantage, gaining 286 yards of offense. And that’s after subtracting 50 yards for two bad snaps that went for negative-48 yards and two kneel-downs for negative-2 yards.

Interestingly, the Falcons were still in this for most of the game. And the Monarchs did not just run down and over the Falcons on their way to their touchdowns. In fact, Prairie’s defense was bend-but-not break on Mark Morris sustained drives. Instead, the Monarchs scored three touchdowns on three long plays — going for 51, 69, and 56 yards.

The final score looked bad for the Falcons. Considering the variables, it could have been a lot worse.

Prairie coach Terry Hyde said he was pleased with the effort of all the new guys who had to step up and play quality varsity minutes for the first time.

By the way, I found out the next day that Mark Morris was without a few starters, as well. Got a call from a Mark Morris fan disappointed that I did not mention that. Well, for one, our focus is on the Clark County squads. Two, I did not write it as an “excuse.” Three, what’s the point? Football teams have injuries. I’m not going to compare injury to injury. The game itself was rather uneventful. So I turned the story into a bit of a preview for league play. From Prairie’s perspective, the team is excited about league and hopeful all or most of their players will be back next week. Plus, I interviewed a Mark Morris player, to get his thoughts on the 2A GSHL.

Good luck to both teams the rest of the way.

Don’t see these calls everyday:
Before the opening kickoff, Prairie was hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. I saw what happened but did not want to Tweet it until I confirmed the reason for the penalty. Sure enough, it was taunting before the game.

The Prairie team did a rally cry/dance on the field. Nothing wrong with that, right? A lot of teams do that. However, teams must direct their passion to their own fans, their own sideline.

In the middle of the chant Thursday night, some Prairie players walked and motioned toward the Mark Morris sideline. Even a Prairie parent I was sitting by acknowledged it looked bad. Not sure if there was any intent, but it certainly was perceived to be unsportsmanlike. Apparently, the officials agreed.

Late in the game, there was a Mark Morris incomplete pass. The ball was clearly past the intended receiver, and a Prairie defender might have taken an extra step before delivering a blow to the Mark Morris player. Just after that hit, a flag was thrown in the direction of the collision.

All of us thought it was going to be a late hit. (Not saying it should have been. Just saying it was close enough that no one would have argued.) Seconds later, the officials ruled offensive pass interference.

Huh? What?

True. But it was not against the intended receiver.

I spoke to the officials after the game and the reason for the late flag was the official had to determine if the ball was thrown beyond the line of scrimmage. He was calling PI for blocking downfield, which would have been OK had the ball been thrown behind the line of scrimmage. So after the throw, after the hit, the flag came down. The official just had to make sure the ball was where he thought it was.
No one from Prairie questioned that call!

Defensive highlights:
Prairie got tough in the first quarter after allowing Mark Morris to march into the red zone. The Monarchs got a first down on the 11-yard line, but then had a rush for no gain. On second down, Prairie’s Hayden Perrins got a sack for a 6-yard loss. Good pressure forced an incomplete pass on third down. The Monarchs went for it on fourth down, and again, the Falcons got pressure on the quarterback, who scrambled for a meaningless four-yard gain.
Prairie ball.


That’s it for now.

Going to the Seton Catholic game tonight.




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