Here’s 15 years of memories: Favorite games
Now that the high school football season is officially over in Washington, I figured it was time to post my 15 favorite games/moments from the past 15 years. Yes, this was my 15th season covering high school football for The Columbian.
In case you missed it, here are the records for every team I’ve covered in 15 years. I’ve covered 312 games for The Columbian.
So for my favorite memories list, I gave myself a rule: A Southwest Washington team had to win the game. Of course, that’s easy when most of the games I’ve covered are local. But for a playoff game to count, a local team had to win. Which is why you won’t see Ferris, Bellevue, or Chiawana wins on this list, even though they played some memorable games against Clark County opponents.
Also, remember, these are games that I covered for The Columbian. There are a number of other great games that were covered by other journalists at The Columbian the past 15 seasons. So those are not listed. It’s just my list.
15) MOUNTAIN VIEW 10, CURTIS 7, 2001
Brian Boles kicked a short field goal with 20 seconds left, sending Mountain View to the Class 4A state semifinals. Ben Warren, who would become The Columbian’s All-Region player of the year, had 14 tackles in this defensive game. Mountain View’s trip to the semifinals was the first for a Clark County team since 1995. Since then, the county has not gone more than three seasons in a row without a semifinalist. So yes, a signature victory for Mountain View plus the beginning of a pretty cool stretch for SW Washington.
14) CAMAS 16, CHIAWANA 14, 2014
Not revenge. Can’t call a regular-season win revenge for a loss in the state championship. Still, this had to feel good for the Camas Papermakers.
Chiawana had shocked the state, rallying from 13 points down with less than two minutes to play to beat Camas in the state title game in 2013.
The two teams then opened the 2014 season against each other.
Camas, with 21 new starters on offense and defense, got this victory. The Papermakers would go on to win 10 in a row and earned another league title with that new set of starters.
13) SKYVIEW 38, LAKE STEVENS 14, 2011
The state semifinals. The last victory for the great 2011 Storm. Quarterback Kieran McDonagh threw for 339 yards and two TDs and rushed for two more scores. Parker Henry also scored in this game. Those two had moments this year, too, helping Portland State and Washington State, respectively, to successful seasons.
12) SKYVIEW 37, UNION 34, 2010
Union had won back-to-back 3A GSHL titles and Skyview had won back-to-back 4A GSHL titles. With Union moving to the 4A GSHL, something had to give. The Titans gave, and Skyview walked away with its third title in a row. The Storm led by 17 early, Union rallied to make it close, but Skyview held off the Titans.
11) CAMAS 29, SKYVIEW 22, 2015
This was the first time two Clark County teams played each other in the state playoffs. And then the Skyview defense gave fans a game. The two teams played in the regular season, with Camas winning by 31 points. This game went down to the wire. Skyview led 22-21 before Liam Fitzgerald found Jared Bentley on a TD pass in the closing minutes. The Camas defense would get a turnover to secure the victory. (By the way, perhaps this game is not ranked high enough. I just don’t want to be one of those guys who thinks whatever happened “this” year is better than “that” year. Plus, it’s my list. Who cares?)
10) CAMAS 20, JUANITA 13, 2010
The Papermakers had been good for years now, but until this game, they had never won a state playoff game. The Papermakers’ defense stopped a fourth-and-5 play inside the 10-yard line with 21 seconds left, preserving a 21-14 victory. Since that first victory, the Papermakers have won eight more state playoff games from 2011-15.
9) CAMAS 40, KELSO 14, 2005
The game itself was nothing special, but the result of the game certainly was memorable. This was the first league title for Camas football since 1969. It was one of those signature moments that would lead to bigger and better things for the program. Played in Kelso, players and fans didn’t want to leave. Long after the game had ended, the lights were turned off, and Camas was still celebrating on the field.
8) SKYVIEW 34, HUDSON’S BAY 16, 2006
Micah Lape only stopped running on this night because the game ended. Nothing else could stop him. Lape rushed for 415 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Storm to victory. Hudson’s Bay had taken a 16-13 lead late in the third quarter. From then on, the Skyview strategy was simple: Give Lape the ball. Then he ran forever. His performance made him a “Face in the Crowd” in Sports Illustrated.
7) EVERGREEN 28, SKYLINE 14, 2004
The state championship game. The Plainsmen trailed by 14 but never worried. Seriously, the players said they were joking around at halftime, knowing they were going to win. Taylor Rank and the offensive line took over in the second half, and the Evergreen defense, led by Greg Peach, crushed Skyline. The 2004 Plainsmen remain the only unbeaten state champion big school (Class 4A or 3A) from Clark County. (Why isn’t this ranked higher? Because this game wasn’t even the most important game from the 2004 Plainsmen. See below.)
6) HOCKINSON 24, BLACK HILLS 21, 2014
The Hawks had never won a playoff football game until this game. And it sure did not look like the Hawks were going to win this one, trailing 21-0 in the fourth quarter. Seriously, a three-TD deficit in the final quarter. Joe Davis scored two touchdowns, then Austen Johnson scored to tie the game. Kedrick Johnson had an Odell Beckham Jr. kind of a catch to lead to one of the scores. Quentin Bodenhamer nailed a 23-yard field goal to win it for the Hawks.
5) EVERGREEN 19, MOUNTAIN VIEW 15, 2002
The Brig Walker Game. Another final week game with a league title on the line. Score was 5-0 after three quarters. Then two receivers took over the contest: Brig Walker of Evergreen and Matt Hoss of Mountain View. The lead changed four times in the final four minutes. Hoss scored two touchdowns, while Walker would score one and set up the game-winner with a 32-yard reception on a fourth-down play to the 1-yard line. Walker finished with eight catches for 153 yards.
4) CAMAS 47, JESUIT 14, 2013
This was the first game of the season for Camas. Just a non-league game. But not your average non-league game. This was a powerhouse from Oregon, a team that had reached at least that state’s semifinals the previous four seasons. And the Papermakers made it a running-clock on the Crusaders. Yes, Camas led 47-7. That was unheard of, and it proved to everyone just how good that 2013 Camas team was right away. Reilly Hennessey was 14 of 17 for 277 yards and four touchdowns. Nate Beasley scored five TDs. Camas. Crushed. Jesuit. That doesn’t happen. But it did.
3) UNION 35, CAMAS 31, 2009
Final week of the regular season, with the 3A Greater St. Helens League on the line. Camas took a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter. Then Union scored three touchdowns in the final 9 minutes, including the game winner with 17 seconds on the clock. Nathaniel Penaranda caught a 13-yard TD pass from Brandon Weller after Union recovered an onside kick with 1:50 to play. This was the first time in my career — at The Columbian and in my earlier years — I had ever seen a team needing an onside kick late in the game recover it and then score a touchdown to win. (As a journalist, this is what we call a “Select All, Delete” game. Meaning select all my copy I’ve written for my story, then delete and start all over. Union made me start my story from scratch after that finish.)
2) EVERGREEN 31, GONZAGA PREP 30, 2004
Officially, the Class 4A state semifinals. Years later, though, players from this game said they knew this was the championship game. The winner of this one would win the state title.
Taylor Rank scored the go-ahead touchdown, then the Evergreen defense got an interception from Bryan DeAngelo and another from David Reinikka in the final five minutes to preserve the victory on a cold day in Spokane. One week later, the Plainsmen would win a state title. They knew they were going to win that title once they beat GPrep.
1) UNION 21, FERNDALE 14, 2008
Dex Homer blocked the kick, Mitch Saylor returned it for a touchdown, east Vancouver roared, and the Union Titans had arrived.
It was the Class 3A state quarterfinals. Second year of Union’s program. Ferndale was attempting a long field goal with just seconds left in a tie game.
Dex Homer blocked the kick, Mitch Saylor scooped up the ball and cruised 65 yards for the winning touchdown.
The roar from the McKenzie Stadium crowd was heard from more than a half-mile away, and the play would catapult Union to back-to-back appearances in the Tacoma Dome.
(I had a hard time deciding on this or the Evergreen-Gonzaga Prep game. I went with this one because it was played in Clark County. Because those who were there will remember that roar. It was the loudest I’ve heard a stadium in Clark County.)