Day After Report: Week 11 … And then there were three
I did not jinx anybody, got it?
One of my peers at The Columbian said I jinxed area teams with my column on Friday that noted what a great year it has been for Southwest Washington high school football. Remember, we had seven teams in The Columbian’s readership area that were alive in Week 10 preliminary or district playoff games, and all seven won. That left us with seven teams in the state tournament, a first for our area. That’s pretty good, right?
Well, our teams went 3-4 in Week 11. And I got the “jinx” label.
My pal was kidding, of course. We all know it is difficult to advance in the playoffs. These victories, even the blowouts, are not to be taken for granted.
So what was supposed to happen on Friday and Saturday, and what did happen?
Honestly, I thought we’d get four winners out of the bunch. Figured Camas and Mountain View would roll. The draws were very favorable to both schools. I also penciled in La Center. Did not know much about its opponent; just knew La Center was darn good. Those three teams did advance.
I also thought Union was going to win Friday night at Eastlake. Didn’t happen, but it was a spectacular football game between two evenly matched teams.
For our other three … most of you know that I do not make the predictions for The Columbian. (Can’t stand those things.) Still, if someone asks me how I think a team will fare, I will usually answer. In these cases, I figured our teams would be close, have a shot to win, but probably come up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. Skyview was, indeed, close, but fell to Richland. Sounds like Kamiakin’s defense handled Columbia River. Still, it was only a two-score game at halftime. A score here or a break there, and that game would have been close. And Woodland had a rough day in Bellingham against Mount Baker.
Regardless of the outcomes, as a fan of football living in Clark County, I’d take seven teams in the state playoffs every year.
While losing just plain feels terrible no matter what the circumstance, I will still say congrats to those four teams for their great seasons. And good luck to “The Columbian Three” who have reached the elite eight in their classifications. I will try not to jinx you in the next week.
CAMAS 63, CASCADE 28
Another game, another blowout for the Papermakers.
Using the pass to set up the run:
Camas’ first three plays of the game were running plays. So why did I write the subhead, “Using the pass to set up the run”? Because the Papermakers have been doing that all season.
With one of the best quarterbacks in the state, and with so many talented receivers, the Papermakers have shown all year they can pass.
Saturday night, it was mostly about the running game.
“The unsung guys, the offensive line, came in and tried to establish something on the ground,” Camas coach Jon Eagle said. “We were able to do that.”
And the award for Biggest Understatement of 2013 goes to …… Jon Eagle. Congratulations!
The Papermakers rushed for 446 yards. In a game that was running clock for the last 23 minutes. Nate Beasley had 217 yards rushing and four touchdowns … in the first half. Cole Zarcone carried the ball on 10 consecutive plays over two drives in the third quarter, rushing for 105 yards and a touchdown in that stretch. Brian Kelly added 56 yards on two carries.
Don’t worry, the Papermakers can still throw it, too:
Quarterback Reilly Hennessey got to throw it 11 times, completing seven passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns.
The only “drama” in the game for Camas came on the 45-yard TD pass from Hennessey to Michael DiGenova on the first play of the third quarter. DiGenova bobbled the perfectly thrown ball before securing it for the score. I told DiGenova I appreciated the extra little flair for dramatics. The game needed it!
One pass play in particular stood out for me, and it was a simple 13-yard gain to James Price late in the first quarter.
Hennessey dropped back to pass and … and … and … well, he dropped back to pass and I swear I saw him making a phone call to set up his post-game physical therapy session. He might have texted a message to his friends at Eastern Washington University. Then he took a selfie and posted it on Instagram. Not exactly sure what he was doing, but he had eternity to do it.
Seriously, I believe he had eight seconds in the pocket. Nobody came near him. Just a great performance by the offensive line.
Eventually, Hennessey put the phone down and found Price for a first down. The Cascade defensive backs had no chance.
“It’s hard to cover someone for eight seconds,” Jon Eagle said.
Goodbye to Doc Harris Stadium:
This year’s seniors were freshmen the last time a Camas varsity team lost on its home field. That means any of these seniors who have been on varsity since they were sophomores went undefeated at home.
“It’s such an amazing experience to play in front of this crowd, all of these people,” Beasley said.
The crowd will hit the road next week. Camas plays in Sammamish against Eastlake. If all goes to Camas’ plan, the team will play in the Tacoma Dome for the semifinals and finals.
Yes, this is a team made for a championship run. No one from Camas would be satisfied with anything short of a state title. But before we jump ahead to December, let’s take a moment to take all of this in.
The Papermakers have now reached the elite eight four consecutive seasons. That is a first for the region. If they win in the quarters, that will be three consecutive final four appearances. That’s never been done before by any of the Clark County schools.
“Keep building,” Hennessey said. “Coach Eagle always says we’re building a road someone else is going to drive on some day. We’re driving on a road that was built a couple years ago. Hopefully we’ll surpass where it’s been built to, add our little bit to the end of it.”
While the game turned into a mismatch, there was a least one great individual battle in Saturday’s game. Camas lineman Chris Durrett went up against Cascade’s Randin Crecelius, who is listed at 6-5, 280 pounds. He looked even bigger.
“It feels good to be able to go up against someone with that talent,” Durrett said. “He was a great player.”
A matchup like that, Durrett said, can only help him prepare for even better players in the quarterfinals, then, he hopes, the semifinals and finals.
“We’re going to focus on what we need to get better,” he said.
Freshman comes through for Camas:
Michael Boyle ended up scoring nine points for the Papermakers on Saturday. Not bad for a freshman.
Caleb Lightbourn, Camas’ starting kicker, was injured on the opening kickoff. So the Papermakers turned to Boyle, who was 9 for 9 on extra points.
It was not a perfect day for Boyle, though. Instead of scoring late touchdowns to push the score to more than 70 points, the Papermakers sent out the field goal team before it was fourth down on two occasions. Boyle missed both field goals, and I’m sure he’s disappointed.
Still, he recorded nine points in a playoff game, giving him another good memory from his first season of high school football. In a freshman game this year, he connected on a game-winning field goal on the final play of the game. That is rare in any high school game, at any level.
EASTLAKE 34, UNION 27
Nine touchdowns were scored and no team ever had more than seven-point lead.
The scores came in like this: 6-0, 6-7, 13-7, 13-14, 13-20, 20-20, 27-20, 27-27, 34-27.
“It was a great game,” Union coach Cale Piland said. “Obviously we wanted to come out on the other end of it, but that is how high school playoffs should be like. We were trading blows all night.”
By now you heard the lights went out with 4 minutes remaining in the game, Union trailing by seven. Now, technically, there is no way to definitively say that one team had an advantage over the other. No team expects the lights to go out during a game. No team prepares for a 20-minute delay.
Still, an honest observer would have to understand why the Union coaches were upset with the malfunction.
The Titans unleashed a formation they had not used all season. There was no video showing Caleb Browning in this wildcat, no way an opponent could see it coming. The Titans easily marched down the field with Browning carrying the load to tie the game at 27-all with 9 minutes to play.
Eastlake would respond with a touchdown, but the Titans came back with that wildcat thing. Then the lights went out.
Any good coaching staff would take that time to come up with a strategy to defend the new look. I’m not saying the Titans would have scored without the delay. Just saying that Eastlake got 20 minutes to take it all in, come up with a plan, or at the very least, just got a breather before having to defend the wildcat again.
Browning ended up with 102 yards on 11 carries in the game. Oh, did I mention he did not carry the ball until the fourth quarter? Yeah, so 102 yards in the fourth quarter. The Titans had something going their way.
By the way, I did not get a chance to ask this question of a Union coach, so this is just my humble opinion about the wildcat offense. I was told they had been working on it all season, since August, but did not break it out until the fourth quarter on Friday.
My guess is the Titans did it because they were trailing by seven at the time, and they needed something to try to save their season. Makes sense, right?
However, if they had the lead, or even if the game was tied, my guess is they never would have used it. They wanted to save it for Week 12, if they could, to give their quarterfinal opponent something to figure out. That opponent? It would have been Camas.
Oh, that would have been fun to watch.
I told some of the Union coaches that I was not ready to say that Union would have beaten Camas had those teams matched up in the quarterfinals, but I believe it would have been a more competitive game than the regular-season matchup. The coaching staffs know each other so well.
How cool would it have been to watch two Clark County teams play each other in the quarterfinals?
Lampkin can fly:
Now to my favorite moment away from the ball from this game. Union running back Leon Siofele got loose for a 73-yard touchdown run to give the Titans a 14-13 lead early in the second quarter.
The last Eastlake defender appeared to have the angle on Siofele, but never got to Siofele. Wide receiver Thomas Lampkin made sure of it.
And here’s the thing, Lampkin did not really block the defender. He just got in his way.
Oh, I wish you could see this play, too, but I’ll try to describe it. Lampkin was a few yards behind the defender and was closing in fast. My initial thought was, “Uh oh. Don’t block him in the back.” But Lampkin did not block the defender in the back. He was so fast, in fact, he just passed the defender. For a second, it looked like Lampkin was going in for the tackle on Siofele. (Just kidding.)
My point, though, is Lampkin knew not to touch the defender in the back. Instead, he just moved in front of him and slowed down. The defender could not get around Lampkin, and Siofele cruised into the end zone. Such a smart play by Lampkin.
Speaking of Leon Siofele … I have to say congrats on a great senior season. He broke Union’s single-season rushing record, going for 1,956 yards and 24 touchdowns.
RICHLAND 21, SKYVIEW 9
Storm had a 9-7 lead but Richland’s defense was too strong.
It sounds like Skyview’s passing game was slowed down by a mighty wind in eastern Washington. Still, Zac Shomler did throw for 137 yards.
Skyview’s Michael Knox scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to give his team a 9-7 lead early in the third. He finished with a team-high 80 yards.
Richland, though, got the final two touchdowns for the win.
Jacob Dennis finished with six catches for 49 yards.And while he cannot add to his stats, he finishes Week 11 as the leading receiving in the region, with 1,099 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also had a stretch of five games in a row with at least 100 yards.
MOUNTAIN VIEW 55, SEATTLE PREP 0
The Thunder hadn’t won a state playoff since 2002. They got one this year. Big time. 55-0?! (Thanks to Rene Ferran for these Mountain View notes.)
A whole lotta wins:
The Thunder reached nine wins for the third time in school history by crushing Seattle Prep at McKenzie Stadium. To match the school record of 10 wins, they’ll need to get past No. 2-ranked O’Dea, tentatively scheduled for 7 pm Friday at McKenzie.
How do you prepare to stop a running back like Prep’s Sam Kopf?
By not worrying about the football.
“During practice this week, we didn’t have a ball,” said senior linebacker Eddie Richardson. “All we did was read our keys, run to a spot and make piles.”
Piles? Thunder coach Adam Mathieson clarified Richardson’s explanation.
“On defense, we had to be sacrificial. Guys had to take on blockers rather than get out in space and blow up bubble screens,” Mathieson said. “It’s not pretty, but it’s what we needed to do to stop their scheme.”
Kopf came into Saturday’s game having gained 550 yards combined in a pair of wins that got Prep (5-6) into state for only the second time since 1991.
But with the Thunder staying disciplined, Kopf found few running lanes to exploit. His longest run on his 32 carries was 12 yards.
Mathieson especially liked how his team won the battle on first down most of the game. Prep averaged just 3.3 yards on its first-down plays, while the Thunder averaged 8.9.
“That was critical, because that team is so patient,” Mathieson said. “The defense just did an excellent job tonight.”
Richardson opened the scoring with a 32-yard interception return. He may have been the most surprised person at McKenzie Stadium to record the pick-six.
“I was just in the right spot,” he said matter-of-factly. “I read run, but then I dropped back into coverage. I caught the ball and just ran.”
MV’s defensive scheme didn’t lend to big tackle numbers for any individual. Richardson shared team-high honors with Avi Bharth, Phillip Rudolph, Reese Yenney and Nick Niedermeyer with five apiece.
Yenney and Niedermeyer each had two tackles for loss.
Now for some offense:
Senior Nicholas Wright continued to show off his big-play potential, averaging 15.6 yards on his nine carries, including a 37-yard touchdown run on a fly sweep in the third quarter.
Wright turned the corner and got down the left sideline, then made two stop-and-go jukes that left a pair of defenders grasping at air.
“I don’t know what happened there,” he said, smiling. “When I run, I just black out. It’s life or death, fight or flight. I just run for the end zone.”
Room for improvement:
Mountain View’s only issue was a maddening case of the dropsies. The Thunder had six fumbles, including one inside the Prep 5 on their opening drive and another on their next drive at the Prep 23.
“When you have a tempo offense, it’s important to get in a rhythm to sustain drives,” Mathieson said. “But when you drop the ball, have false start penalties, it’s hard to get into a rhythm. There was no magic wand to fix it. The players just had to look at each other and say, ‘We’ve got to do it.’”
Mountain View hadn’t won a state playoff game in 11 years before Saturday.
Its quarterfinal opponent Friday, O’Dea, has won 13 state games in that span. O’Dea has reached the state finals three times (2003, 07, 11)
Many teams would find itself behind the 8-ball already when facing a team of the Irish’s pedigree, but Mathieson thinks the Thunder’s lack of playoff experience may play to their favor.
“O’Dea means more to me, having coached up there (in the Seattle area),” he said. “Down here, they know Jesuit, Central Catholic, the powers in this area.
“I think with Mountain View not having been in these (playoff) situations, they don’t see teams like Bellevue and O’Dea, teams from Seattle, the same way as the coaching staff does.”
In O’Dea’s storied playoff history, the Irish have played a team from Southwest Washington only twice.
In 1989, O’Dea beat Prairie 17-15 in the quarterfinals.
In 2011, O’Dea beat Camas 21-13 in the semifinals.
KAMIAKIN 28, COLUMBIA RIVER 6
The Chieftains had a tough go against that defense.
Columbia River was held to 119 yards of offense. … This was the second consecutive appearance for the Chieftains in the state playoffs. … Their eight wins is their most in a season since 2005.
LA CENTER 35, BLAINE 14
As noted last week in the Day After Report, the Wildcats can pass!
Sure, the Wildcats only threw the ball twice. Oh, and only one was caught. But it was a big play.
Last week, La Center coach John Lambert told The Columbian that the Wildcats would have to be able to throw the ball in the playoffs to be successful. He did not say he had to throw the ball a lot!
This week, Wyatt Aguirre found Matt Braaten for a 65-yard touchdown that gave La Center a 21-14 lead in the third quarter. La Center’s defense would keep Blaine out of the end zone the rest of the way, and the Wildcats would add two more touchdowns to advance to the 1A quarterfinals.
Pretty in Pink:
Sorry, couldn’t resist. Whenever I see Blaine in a scoring line, I think of Duckie from Pretty in Pink: “His name is Blane? That’s a major appliance. That’s not a name!”
MOUNT BAKER 42, WOODLAND 7
Still a great season for the Beavers, especially after what these seniors endured when they were freshmen.
Woodland coach Mark Greenleaf, as reported by The Bellingham Herald, explained what happened.
“Two things can go bad when you go ahead and throw the ball, interceptions and dropped balls. We had both of those things tonight. We had too many momentum-changers that stifled our offense, and our defense was on the field too long.”
No excuses, though.
“When you get to this caliber, everybody has to execute and they executed better than we did, bottom line,” Greenleaf said.
A salute to the Woodland seniors:
Back in 2010, the Beavers suffered through an 0-9 campaign. The Beavers then bounced back, making the postseason in each of the next three seasons. Greenleaf appreciates all that the seniors have done for the program.
“As freshman they were thrown into starting positions. We went 0-9, and since their sophomore year, we went to playoffs their sophomore year, we went to first round the past two years, and they have a heck of a legacy,” Greenleaf said. “They really brought our program back into being very competitive. We can’t be more proud of our seniors.”
That’s it for this week.
(I wrote this before the NFL games, but we had technical problems.) But trust me, bet on the Raiders today. I gotta feeling!