Day After Report: Battle Ground 69, Mountain View 43
The final score says it was a 26-point win, a blowout. The final score doesn’t really tell the story, though. There were six lead changes in the first half before Battle Ground pulled away in the second half. Here is the Day After Report of a game that had just a wee bit more offense than defense.
BATTLE GROUND 69, MOUNTAIN VIEW 43
Gunner Talkington broke his own school record with 503 yards passing, and the Tigers scored touchdowns on nine consecutive possessions.
Numbers, numbers, more numbers:
Before shining light on Battle Ground, give a shout-out to Mountain View’s offense. The Thunder picked up 26 first downs and rushed for 459 yards. With the passing, Mountain View hit the 500-yard mark with 501.
Preston Jones rushed for 195 yards on 23 carries. Anthony Ramirez had 180 yards on 12 carries. Each rushed for two touchdowns for the Thunder.
Battle Ground ended up with 33 first downs. The Tigers threw for 503 yards and rushed for 220 yards.
Mountain View punted on its first drive of the game, then scored on its next seven possessions: six touchdowns and a field goal. For the game, Mountain View scored on 7 of 10 possessions after losing a fumble and then turning the ball over on downs in the fourth quarter.
“We finally figured out a way to stop them,” Battle Ground coach Larry Peck said. “It took us half-way through the fourth quarter, but we did it.”
Battle Ground punted on its second possession of the game, then the Tigers scored touchdowns on their next nine possessions. In all, the Tigers scored on 10 of 12 possessions. (They had two more possessions than Mountain View because they recovered a squib kickoff.) The Tigers were stopped once by Mountain View. They stopped themselves once, taking a knee three times to run out the clock
Gunner Talkington has played Mountain View two times in his career. He has set a Battle Ground passing record each time. Last year, he threw for 501 yards in a loss. This year, 503 in a win.
The 69 points are believed to be a school record, as well. It is the most points the Tigers have scored going back to at least 1959. My educated guess is the Tigers did not score 70 in any game prior to 1959. Could be wrong, but for now, I’m calling the 69 points a school record.
A little help:
I loved having Bryan Levesque at this game. He and his assistants were a big help. Levesque is an assistant coach with the Tigers and also runs the team video. With more than 1,200 yards to track, I loved having back-up. Bryan and his crew were not next to me, but close enough to holler at throughout the game. Then, after the game, I was able to see video evidence of a couple plays in question, which changed the final passing yardage for Battle Ground.
Two times, there were some close calls as to whether Talkington threw a forward pass to a running back or an overhand lateral. A lateral would mean rushing yards for the running back, not passing yards for the QB. I initially ruled both were laterals. One certainly was, but after reviewing the video on the second, it was a forward pass and a pick-up of three yards. So instead of Talkington finishing with 500 yards, he was credited with 503.
In another instance, the Tigers kept throwing to Max Randle, No. 25, but also threw a few to Cole Grossman, No. 15. There was one play I was not sure which receiver had the catch. Just a few minutes after the game, it was confirmed: No. 25. That gave Randle 10 catches for 102 yards.
We’ve all heard the old-school coaches who say the running game opens up the passing game. At Battle Ground, it’s the other way around.
The Tigers threw the ball on their first 11 plays. They only had six rushing attempts at halftime, and three of those came from Talkington. By the end of the night, though, it was a balanced attack. Talkington threw 39 times, and the Tigers rushed 34 times. Curtis Stradley ended up with a 100-yard game.
That’s some stat sheet: A 500-yard passing game and a 100-yard rusher from the same team in the same game.
Talkington, Randle, and Logan Hertner all tipped their caps to the linemen. As they should. Teams do not gain 700 yards of offense without them.
“I had all the time to throw the ball,” Talkington said.
“Credit to the big boys up front,” said Hertner, who had 115 receiving yards and a touchdown.
“I’ve got to give credit to all the linemen. They did great. Without them, we couldn’t have done anything,” Randle said.
The starting line for Battle Ground: Andrew Johnson, Brady Brick, Levi Fridriksson, Trenton Lapp, and Tristan Castaneda.
Battle Ground crowd witnesses signature win:
Players and coaches said they loved the environment at District Stadium.
“The crowd was huge. It’s the biggest crowd we’ve had in a long time. It was awesome to see,” Lapp said.
Then the Battle Ground crowd got to see one of, if not the biggest league wins in years. The Tigers have yet to beat a Big Three team, but considering Mountain View beat Union last week, and Mountain View beat Battle Ground last year, well, this counts as a victory over a team that has had more success in recent years.
“It’s fantastic. It’s what we needed in this program,” Hertner said. “It’s what we’ve been waiting for, the big win. It’s finally here.”
“I’m excited for our community,” Peck said. “They’ve been waiting for a big one like this.”
Tigers survive uh-oh moment:
The Tigers got a two-possession lead by scoring on the first drive of the second half to go up by 12 points. But then it was Mountain View’s turn to score, followed by Battle Ground, then Mountain View. You get the picture.
As long as Mountain View kept scoring, the Tigers had to respond or risk falling behind again.
Then, just when it looked like the Tigers had stopped Mountain View, a strange event occurred, giving Mountain View another shot.
Early in the fourth quarter, there was a tackle and fumble. However, just before the ball was recovered, there was an inadvertent whistle. Battle Ground recovered, but the play did not count. Two plays later, Preston Jones scored on a 38-yard touchdown run to make it 49-43. Still anybody’s game.
“That was a turning point for us,” Peck said. “We told the guys they had to respond to sudden change. And they did.”
In the past, that huge disappointment could have affected the rest of the game.
Instead, the Tigers scored four plays later and they were on their way.