Day After Report: Battle Ground 48, Mountain View 26

Admit it. For a minute or two, you wondered. I know I did.
The game was six minutes old and there were 20 points on the board.
Was this going to be 2014 again? Or 2015?
As noted in my game story, when these two teams played each other the past two seasons, defenses were an afterthought.
Not anymore. Battle Ground figured out a way to stop the Thunder on Friday and came away with a 48-26 victory. It was a 41-6 game at the half.
Sure, Mountain View ended up with four touchdowns. But the Battle Ground defense came to play.¬†Of Mountain View’s 37 running plays, 16 went for 2 yards or less.

A few defensive highlights: Spencer Matz had a sack, another tackle-for-loss, and a pass pressure that led to a sack for a teammate. Bailey Buckner knocked down a pass. Prince Grotte had a sack. Blake Harris and Buckner shared a sack. Curtis Stradley forced two fumbles.

“Only” 359 yards: Battle Ground’s Max Randle called his quarterback a slacker after Friday’s game.
After all, Gunner Talkington “only” finished with 359 yards and five touchdown passes.
As Randle pointed out, Talkington had thrown for more than 500 yards the previous two seasons against the Thunder.
Mountain View fans might want to turn away for the next line or two.
Here are Gunner Talkington’s stats against Mountain View. Three games (2-1 record):
86-113 (76 percent) for 1,363 yards and 14 TDs.

Thunder will be just fine: OK, so the Thunder have now lost two in a row. But those losses have come against a resurgent Union program and a Battle Ground team that made it to the Class 4A state playoffs. Those also are two Class 4A teams. Remember, Mountain View is in the 3A Greater St. Helens League.

So the new Thunder players are going through some growing pains. But here is what I’ve seen: The Thunder were within a point of Union at halftime. And this week, when the game was all-but-lost, they scored three second-half touchdowns.
Don’t sleep on Mountain View because of the 1-2 record. The Thunder know, come league time, they should be good to go after testing themselves with such a tough non-league schedule.

So young, so good: Darien Chase, a sophomore, continued his impressive season for the Thunder, scoring in his fourth¬†consecutive game. (Yes, he scored on varsity in the final game of the 2015 season, so it’s now four in a row, not three.)
Chase had five catches for 118 yards and a TD for the Thunder.

Too good in the first half? Spencer Matz said he was worried at halftime. Not because the game was close. Because it wasn’t close enough. The Battle Ground offensive lineman and linebacker who did not see much varsity action until this season does not want to take any time off now that he’s shining.
“I was a little scared I wasn’t going to get any playing time” in the second half, he said.
That’s a good problem to have.

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