Day After Report: What if I told you this really happened?

Perhaps one day the video productions teams from Battle Ground Public Schools and Evergreen Public Schools will create a documentary about this game.

What if I told you that Battle Ground’s Gunner Talkington threw for 501 yards … and his team lost?

What if I told you that in the same game, Mountain View rushed for 515 yards?

What if I told you that the winning coach sat on the bench after the game, shaking his head, in disbelief?

What if I told you that some of the losing coaches were on Twitter later in the night congratulating their players for one incredible effort?

What if I told you there were 1,242 yards and 98 points scored?

“When the Thunder rolled and the Tigers roared”

The Thunder ran all night, while the Tigers passed all night.

Statistically speaking: OK, those of you who know me know I love football statistics. You also know how much respect I have for Bryan Levesque, formerly of fame. Well, now Levesque is on the Battle Ground coaching staff, working video for the Tigers.

Just so happens the visiting team’s video crew was in the same press box as us media nerds. So Bryan and I “worked” the game together. He manned the camera, plus kept running stats, thanks to his assistant, his son Corbin, who was a spotter.

This means we had three sets of eyes (and a camera) tracking every play. And when something magical happens in a game, it is always good to have people backing up your work.

Years ago, I was on the sideline when Skyview running back Micah Lape rushed for more than 400 yards. As Lape was approaching 400 yards, I was busy going back over every play, trying to make sure I didn’t mess up with my math. After all, that’s incredible. Well, it turned out that the Skyview stat keeper also had the same number as I did. Sure enough, Lape did break the 400-yard mark that night.

Well, this game reminded me of the Lape game. But in this game, there were two huge milestones. So there were two things I was checking my math on, and then hoping that the Levesque team had the same numbers. Sure enough, we were all on the same page.

Gunner Talkington ended with 501 yards passing. The Mountain View Thunder had 515 yards rushing.


And when adding the Battle Ground rushing yards, the Tigers had 619 yards of offense. Add the Mountain View passing totals, and the Thunder had 623 yards.

Individually, here are some more big numbers:
Battle Ground:
Gunner Talkington 34 of 47 for 501 yards, 3 TDS
Chris Waters 11 catches, 167 yards, TD
Parker Randle 8 catches, 131 yards
Bailey Buckner 14 carries, 105 yards, 2 TDs

Mountain View:
Garrett Jones 22 carries, 191 yards, 4 TDs
Preston Jones 20 carries, 175 yards, 2 TDs and 2 catches, 68 yards, 1 TD
Jesus Familia 11 carries, 86 yards
Lex Reese 5 for 8 passing for 108 yards, 1 TD.
Anthony Ramirez 2 carries, 52 yards, 1 TD

Mountain View coach Adam Mathieson just laughed when I told him the numbers. What else could he do?

A video game broke out at McKenzie Stadium on Friday night.

(Sunday night update: I couldn’t read my own handwriting! I had added 155 yards from one line for one team when it should have been 105. So instead of 1,292 yards, it was 1,294 yards. I made the changes above. Forgive me. Still, the passing yards remained the same for Battle Ground: 501.)

Young lineman: Mountain View left tackle Ethan Tonder was impressed when he heard he and his fellow linemen paved the way for a 500-yard rushing game.

“It’s new for me since I’m a sophomore,” Tonder said. “I just think it was a lot of fun.”

Guess so!

I enjoyed the fact he said it was new to him because he is a sophomore. As if he expects this will happen a lot in his career.

Of course, the Thunder hope this happens a lot. But trust me, Ethan, 500-yard rushing games are not the norm!

A win is a win: It does not matter that there was not much defense in this game for the Thunder. They will take a win. After starting the season with three consecutive losses, they needed this one.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Preston Jones. “Now we can just continue winning, keep it rolling. It really boosted our confidence.”

“One-and-three sounds a lot better than oh-and-four,” added Garrett Jones. “It is a lot better than oh-and-four.”

There was some defense. Not much, but some: It was early in the game, but already, it appeared there would be very few defensive moments in this game.

After all, the Tigers went 80 yards on six plays to open the game, looking like they were running their offense against air and space in practice. Then the Thunder went 62 yards on six plays on their first drive, looking like they were running their offense against ghosts in practice.

The Tigers then moved the ball with ease again on their second possession, getting to the 3-yard line.

That’s when we scientists, er, statisticians, found proof that defense did exist, in one form or another.

Mountain View’s Jake Ryan, playing close to the line of scrimmage, jumped up, looking like he was going to knock down a Talkington pass. Instead, Ryan caught the ball. This was a “bad luck” interception for Talkington. Usually, when a defender near the line of scrimmage is in position to make a play on a slant pass, the ball is simply batted down. Not this time. Ryan caught it.

Mountain View would start from its 14-yard line, then go 86 yards on six plays to take a 14-7 lead. The game would be tied two more times, but Mountain View never trailed again.

After the score reached 21-all, Mountain View lost the ball on downs in the second quarter. This was Battle Ground’s chance to regain the lead. The Thunder had other ideas, though. Sophomore Troy Pacheco intercepted a pass, returning the ball to the Battle Ground 36-yard line. Three plays later, Garrett Jones was in the end zone for a 28-21 Mountain View lead.

The Tigers tried to tie it again, but their ensuing drive was in trouble. On a fourth-down play, Mountain View’s Kimball Elliott and Taj Albeck scheduled a meeting at the quarterback, and together sacked Talkington to end Battle Ground’s drive.

The Thunder received the second-half kickoff, then scored easily to take a 35-21 lead. With Battle Ground trying to remain within shouting distance, Garrett Jones picked off a Battle Ground pass, setting up another Mountain View TD.

Of course, the game was far from over. The Tigers scored right away to cut the deficit back to 14 and then Battle Ground defensive back Curtis Stradley swatted a fourth-down pass away to give the Tigers the ball back late in the third quarter.

The Battle Ground offense could not convert, though.

And that was the final display of defense. Both teams combined for four more touchdowns in the final six minutes of the game.

(By the way, I just named six players who had big defensive moments in a game that had 1,292 yards and 98 points. Pretty sure I should win a Pulitzer for that!)

Another week, another Titans victory

No big numbers; just a big team output: Unlike the Mountain View-Battle Ground game, there were no big individual numbers from this game. Union was just too good. The defense gave the Titans the ball in great field position. Great field position actually is not good for piling up a bunch of stats. Short fields mean smaller gains on the ground or through the air. Plus, Union scored so often that the starters came out of the game early. Oh, and then there was that running clock thing.

Caleb Browning led Union with 86 yards rushing on 15 carries with two touchdowns.

Nolan Henry was solid, throwing for 78 yards and two touchdowns. But he didn’t even lead his team in passing. Back-up quarterback Jordan Lawson ended up with 96 yards passing.

See? That’s what happens in blowouts. Henry and the Union offense did not need huge numbers to put up 49 points against Spanaway Lake.

Still, in all, the Titans had 372 yards of offense and held Spanaway Lake to 166.

Starts up front: The Union defensive line made its presence felt early, holding Spanaway Lake to negative-21 yards in the first quarter.

“When they’re bigger than you and you’re still able to get past them, that’s a great feeling,” said Union defensive lineman Austin Holloway.

Pick Six: Union’s Kyle Vermeulen scored the first touchdown of the second half, intercepting a pass and returning it 64 yards.

“A big guy can run fast sometimes, you know,” he said.

Vermeulen was getting a little sick of Spanaway Lake finding some success in the second and third quarters with its short passing game. Vermeulen saw this play developing, so he went “underneath” the receiver and snagged the ball and was gone.

He credited Holloway with the interception, though, because of Holloway’s pass rush.

“You can mess up the quarterback’s thoughts and get him to throw the ball away or you can get him to throw a pick-six,” Holloway said.

Did you see that? The play of the game from Union’s point of view might have come on the second-to-last play of the game. It was already 49-7 and there was no doubt who was going to win. Still, the Union reserves wanted to make the best of their time on the field.

So on a fourth-down play, the Titans went for it. Not to run up the score. Simply to get experience on a fourth-down play. If it went well, they could get a first down and then run out the clock. Back-up QB Jordan Lawson found Marco Sotelo for a 26-yard gain for the first down. I was told it was a fine throw and a stellar catch.

But what made this play was the block by running back Abe Smith. He destroyed the pass rusher who never expected to get crushed by a 5-foot-10, 165 pound “skill” position player.

A couple of us in the press box, including one of the Union coaches, did not see the pass and catch because we were all watching the aftermath of Smith block. Pretty sure it registered on the Richter scale.


Thank you to all football players: We do not always have time or space in our stories to highlight every important player from a football game. Especially the guys from the losing squads. Sometimes, it is all about making the print deadline, which can mean just the facts: This team won and this is how this team won the game.

But we also appreciate all varsity athletes, no matter the record, no matter the score of the game. Columbian Sports editor Micah Rice witnessed this from Heritage. He reports:

In sports, it is easy to celebrate the winners.

We often forget that there are many instances of grace and perseverance after a loss. One of those took place after Heritage lost to Skyview 49-0. Heritage senior Jarod Luedecker gathered the Timberwolves seniors for a pep talk.

“I told the seniors that all the underclassmen are going to be looking up to us. We need to be confident so they can be confident as well. I think that will be something that puts us over the edge.”

Even in a loss, Luedecker provided an example of senior leadership worth celebrating.”

Thanks Micah. And last week, there was an editing error in the Day After Report, and this gem from Hudson’s Bay was left out of the report. Freelance reporter Rene Ferran gave a shout-out to one of the Eagles.

Hudson’s Bay co-coach Andy Meyer singled out for praise senior linebacker Nehemiah McDougal, who recorded five tackles for loss in the second half.

“That’s what we talked about after the game, his senior leadership,” Meyer said. “He didn’t have one ounce of quit in him.”

Not every team can be ranked in the top five in state. For every great team, there is a team struggling to find wins. The athletes on those teams are working, too. They are working to turn things around on their teams. We salute you, too.

The Storm get ready for a big game with another blowout

Not much more to say about this one. The Storm have outscored two league opponents 93-9. Next week, it’s Camas. It is always special when two of the “Big Three” in the 4A GSHL play each other. Looking forward to it.

The Papermakers are 4-0, with the last three wins coming via the blowout. (These notes courtesy of Columbian reporter Paul Danzer:)

Defense first: The Camas defense was aggressive throughout the game, making 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage. The longest runs for the Plainsmen were scrambles by quarterback Jerrin Williams.

“Those D linemen get a lot of pressure so it allows us to fill holes and fly around and have fun,” linebacker Bryan Kelly said.

Trust issues: Evergreen coach Don Johnson, Jr., said trust, not talent, was the big difference between the teams.

“The difference is they trust each other and they’re a family. We’re growing together, and we’re starting to trust each other, but we need to become more of a family,” the coach said.

“We’re going to clean things up and try to make the playoffs. We feel like talent-wise, speed-wise and physically we competed. But mentally we didn’t.”

Not all perfect for Camas: After his team was penalized 12 times, several of those possession altering, Camas coach Jon Eagle said his team needs to be smarter.

“I thought we misfired a little bit and had a little bit of lack of composure and poise, which contributed to us misfiring and not playing like we can play,” Eagle said. “We’ve got to clean up the penalties. At this time of the year, we shouldn’t be making those kind of penalties.”

Deadline killer: The first half took 1 hour, 45 minutes to play because of points, penalties and a combined 23 incomplete passes. Throw in several turnovers – including a fumbled handoff on Evergreen’s first snap – and 24 minutes of football took more than four times that long to play. Fortunately for reporters with deadlines, Camas scored three touchdowns in the last 6 minutes of the first half and forced a running clock in the second half.

Chieftains just keep winning by a lot. (These notes from freelance reporter Rene Ferran.)

Just playing what the schedules says to play: The Columbia River players hear the whispers.

“We know people are thinking, ‘Oh, they’re just playing 2A teams,'” said senior receiver/cornerback Jacob Bystry, whose team improved to 4-0 with a fourth consecutive win over a 2A opponent. “But just look at the size of our school.”

Indeed, the Chieftains’ net enrollment of 957.5 fell just below the 3A cutoff, but the school decided to opt up to remain in the 3A ranks, where their undefeated start has moved them to No. 7 in the latest Associated Press rankings.

“We want to get as much momentum as we can so we’re at full force going into league,” Bystry said. “We know we haven’t put up the perfect game yet. We just strive to get better and better, so when we get to league, we just run right through it.”

Before they open league play in Week 6 against Fort Vancouver, though, they’ll face their biggest test to date when they host two-time 2A state runner-up Tumwater, the 2010 state champs who are ranked No. 2 in the AP poll.

“We needed to prove to ourselves tonight that we’re able to come out fast in a game,” said quarterback Gabe Evenson, who overcame an early interception to toss four touchdown passes and run for another score. “That’s going to be very key when we play teams like Tumwater.”

I remember this dude! The last time I saw Evenson was last season, when he came on in the fourth quarter of a 36-13 loss to W.F. West of Chehalis.

You could see then flashes of the dual-threat quarterback he’s become this season, as he led a couple of scoring drives against the Bearcats’ second-string defense.

“He has all the ingredients that a good quarterback needs to have,” coach John O’Rourke said of his now-starting QB. “He had real good improvement over the spring and summer, and it’s kind of transferred over to this year.”

However, Evenson said the part of his game he’s worked to improve the most won’t be seen between the hashes.

“I’ve really tried to develop being a stronger leader,” the 5-foot-10, 178-pound senior said. “To me, the most unappreciated people on the field are the linemen, so I always want to show them as much love as I can.”

And befitting a player who until this season saw most of his action under the Friday night lights in mop-up time, he talked up the play of the second-stringers who finished off the rout of the Wolves.

“People stop paying attention to the game, but they’re the next guys up, and we need to support them,” Evenson said. “I’m always making sure everyone gets my full support.”

O’Rourke added, “Gabe has all the personal qualities you want. He’s a good leader, and he’s one of the hardest working kids on the team. He’s also real resilient. Any errors or bad plays he makes, he comes back and plays well.”

That was in evidence against Black Hills, when he threw a fourth-down pass that was picked off in the red zone. He led the Chieftains to touchdowns on five of their next seven possessions to take a 38-0 lead into halftime.

Tough call against River: About the only negative to come out of Friday’s game for the Chieftains was the ejection of senior defensive back Nic Briggs late in the second quarter.

Briggs was flagged for a blow to the head when he blasted Wolves running back Jordan March to break up a pass.

As March lay on the ground for several minutes, the officials conferred before signaling the personal foul for illegal helmet contact and the ejection.

O’Rourke appealed the play, which didn’t allow Briggs to stay in the game but does allow the school to argue against the automatic one-game suspension given to ejected players in high school football.

After the game, though, O’Rourke did not sound optimistic that Briggs would be able to play against Tumwater.

“You have to prove a misapplication of the rules,” he explained. “And (helmet-to-helmet hits) are a big point of emphasis now. They’ve been stressing that to coaches and officials. It happens so quickly, sometimes it’s hard to tell, though.”

Close to the shutout: The Chieftains were 2 minutes, 22 seconds away from posting a third shutout in four games this season. They picked off Black Hills QB Jaydon Troy three times and broke up another 10 passes, with senior Holden Fielding registering three pass breakups.

Senior Vincent Daniels led the team with six tackles, while senior Nathan Hawthorne had a solid all-around night – six catches for 58 yards and two TDs, and five tackles from his defensive back position.

Corrections have been made to the boxscore and the game story.

Note: Prairie coach Terry Hyde said we misidentified some of the scoring plays for the Falcons. I made the changes online. I have not yet spoke to the reporter we had at the game, so I can only guess as to what happened. There are times it is difficult to read the numbers from way up in the back of District Stadium. We apologize for the miscues.

Woodland “rallies” to improve to 4-0.

First time for everything: This was the first time Woodland trailed in a game this season. Just so happens it’s the first time another team has scored on Woodland. Ridgefield scored first, then Woodland scored the next 48 to roll to victory.

(The rest of the notes come from Columbian reporter Erik Gundersen:)

Record performance? Wyatt Harsh is really good and not just for a freshman. He threw 6 TDs, no picks and had more touchdowns than incomplete passes. Woodland coach Mike Greenleaf wasn’t all the way certain but was pretty sure the 6 TDs is a school record.

Spudder positive: Ridgefield made a plan to take away the Woodland running game, and for the most part, the Spudders did just that. Woodland’s Eli Whitmire was held to 53 yards rushing. The problem is the Beavers have such a strong passing game, too. Greenleaf knows that teams are going to key in on Whitmire. Harsh gives the Beavers another dimension.

Beavers just too strong: Woodland’s defense played with its typical dominance, taking advantage of Ridgefield’s mistakes. The Spudders had three fumbles in the third quarter and the Beavers capitalized on all of them behind Harsh’s arm and Whitmire’s legs as he got going in the second half.

Hawks as impressive as any team so far this season

This and that: Through four games, the Hawks have yet to allow a touchdown. They gave up a field goal in the first game of the season and followed that with three consecutive shutouts. … As noted in the game story, Mark Morris is a traditional power in this league. Not this year. The Hawks were up 35-0 at halftime. … Not to get too far ahead of ourselves … wait, what do I care? I’m not playing in the games. As a journalist, I can look as far ahead as I want … Anyway, Hockinson and Woodland play each other in Week 8. Right now, it is difficult to see any other team beating them on the way to that clash. That would be epic, a Week 8 game featuring two 7-0 teams.

Congrats to the Wildcats

Class 1A La Center had a tough, tough schedule to open the season, losing three games to ranked Class 2A teams. The Wildcats got the best of Hudson’s Bay in this one, though. Pretty sure this means every varsity team in The Columbian’s “readership area” (north to Woodland, east to Stevenson) has a win this season. Mountain View and La Center experienced their first wins this week. Well done.

That’s it for this week.



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