Hawks have back-to-back games that will determine league title; plus tidbits on all the small schools from Clark County
Here are the weekly football notes from the Class 2A and 1A football programs from Clark County.
HOCKINSON HAWKS (6-1, 4-0 2A GSHL)
Week 7: Hockinson 21, Kelso 20
Quite the finish:
The Hockinson Hawks got the finishing touchdown last week to win a close non-league game against a bigger program.
And they get to finish off the regular season with a couple of big games, too.
In fact, if you like championship games, you’ll love this schedule. Hockinson, in a way, is playing in back-to-back league title games.
The Hawks, who have won the past five league titles and the past two Class 2A state titles, will host Washougal this week. Hockinson, at 4-0 in the 2A Greater St. Helens League, and Washougal (3-1 in league) kick off at 7 p.m.
In Week 9, Hockinson will play Ridgefield, which is 4-1 in league and does not play a league game this week.
If the Hawks beat Washougal, they would be assured of at least a tie for the league title but would have to beat Ridgefield the next week to win it outright.
(This is where some fans might be chuckling, thinking there is no way Hockinson is going to lose to Ridgefield. Some might think it will be improbable for Hockinson to lose to Washougal. But my guess is Washougal and Ridgefield are going to show up anyway and try to accomplish something special. As Herm Edwards would say, “You play to win the game.”)
Regardless of how it goes down, Hockinson coach Rick Steele said he is thrilled to have such a schedule in preparation for the playoffs.
This stretch started with the non-league game against Kelso.
“It was very evident last week … it was a playoff atmosphere,” Steele said. “I heard one of the kids say, ‘We have to bring it tonight.’ It’s a big deal when your kids know they have to bring it,” Steele said.
After all, the Hawks had won their previous four games by a combined score of 208-26.
“Several games this year, we just had to show up,” Steele said. “That’s never good for a football team.”
Against Kelso, though …
“We knew we had to play our best, or we’d have lost that football game. We had to get off the bus and bring it, and that’s what we did,” Steele said.
And now, there are no more gimmes on the schedule.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. It is quite possible Hockinson could roll over Washougal and Ridgefield. But it won’t be by “just showing up.”
“We want to be the No. 2 team in the state when they do that (state) bracket,” Steele said. “We can’t afford to slip up in any of these games. The (players) know what’s at stake.”
Thoughts on Washougal:
“They scare me,” Steele said. “I can tell they’re very well coached. The thing that really scares me is their defense. They are tough. They don’t make very many mistakes. They’re physical.”
Next: Hockinson hosts Washougal, 7 p.m. Friday
WASHOUGAL PANTHERS (4-3, 3-1 2A GSHL)
Week 7: Washougal 40, Mark Morris 7
At stake: The Panthers thought they would have a better record than they do. At least 5-2, and certainly they expected to be 4-0 in league at this point.
They are frustrated, too.
Well, all that will not matter if they put together the perfect game plan and can stun the state and top the champions.
It’s Hockinson week.
If the Panthers do, indeed, get the shocker, they will move to 4-1 in league with a game against last-place R.A. Long in Week 9.
If that happens, no one will care about the three-loss regular season.
“We’ve been getting better week by week,” Washougal coach Dave Hajek said. “We feel pretty good about the team we have. Everyone’s trying to close the gap on Hockinson. How close have we come to Hockinson? Are we like last year, where lose lose by 40? Or is it a closer game? Where are you at?
“How good have we become the last 10 weeks? More importantly, how good have we become in the last three weeks?”
Those questions will be answered Friday.
Next: Washougal travels to Hockinson, 7 p.m. Friday.
RIDGEFIELD SPUDDERS (5-2, 4-1 2A GSHL)
Week 7: Ridgefield 34, Woodland 6
The Spudders have a non-league game this week but then finish with a game against Hockinson. Yes, the Spudders will be playing in Week 9 for a league championship.
No matter what happens this week or next, though, this is a successful season for the program. New coach Scott Rice as led the team to five wins this season, the most for Ridgefield since 2015.
Next: Ridgefield hosts Class 3A Prairie at 7 p.m. Friday.
COLUMBIA RIVER CHIEFTAINS (3-4, 3-2 2A GSHL)
Week 7: Columbia River 48, R.A. Long 0
The Chieftains have a big game this week as well. Oh, on paper, they expect to win, taking on Woodland. But still gotta play the game. And if the Chieftains do win, they will finish 4-2 in league and will be assured a playoff spot.
In fact, if Hockinson runs the 2A GSHL table with wins over Washougal and Ridgefield, and River does its part this week in its final league game of the year, then River would tie for second place.
(By the way, if three teams tie for second place, there will be a tiebreaker competition to determine seedings. More on that next week, if it looks likely.)
Look for the Chieftains to continue to feed Isaac Bibb-O’Neill. He had a career night last week, rushing for three touchdowns and more than 180 yards.
Next: Columbia River at Woodland, 7 p.m. Friday.
WOODLAND BEAVERS (1-6, 1-3 2A GSHL)
Week 7: Ridgefield 34, Woodland 6
The beauty of a league having four playoff teams is it takes a while to be eliminated from playoff contention.
The record shows the Beavers seem far from a playoff berth. However, there is a path. If Woodland can put together its best game of the season and beat Columbia River this week, then top Mark Morris in Week 9 (all three teams have losing overall records), then Woodland would sneak into that fourth spot.
Next: Woodland hosts Columbia River, 7 p.m. Friday
KING’S WAY CHRISTIAN (3-4 1-2 Trico League)
Week 7: King’s Way Christian 26, Columbia-White Salmon 16
This might have been a program-changing victory.
The King’s Way Christian Knights, who did not get a league win last year, scored the first 26 points, capitalizing on turnovers, and then held off Columbia-White Salmon.
“I’m more focused on the fact we went into the gorge and played a really tough game,” King’s Way Christian coach Brian Rodriguez said.
It was pouring. They played on a grass field. It turned into a mud bowl. The coach said it was like being a kid again.
He noted the play of Mason Packer and Kobi Cason on offense, and on defense, Bailey Meek was a “beast,” the coach said. He also gave a salute to, who leads the team in tackles.
“To go to the gorge and win, it was a huge win for our program,” Rodriguez said. “I was really proud of our guys.”
It sets up the Knights for the stretch run and a possible playoff berth. That’s right. Record-wise, King’s Way has already played the top teams in the league. The Knights finish with Stevenson (also 1-2 in league) and Stevenson (also at 1-2). If the Knights get those victories, they would finish in third place.
Next: King’s Way Christian hosts Stevenson at 6 p.m. Friday.
SETON CATHOLIC COUGARS (4-2, 0-2 Trico League)
Week 7: Seton Catholic 33, Morton-White Pass 0.
Strange situation here. The Cougars had taken La Center off the schedule months ago, not knowing about the number of players they would have for football.
The Cougars were able to find a non-league game, got some experience, and a win.
There was some confusion over whether this would be a league forfeit. I was told no. It just means Seton Catholic and La Center will have one less league game than the rest of the league.
Next: Seton Catholic hosts Castle Rock at 1 p.m. Saturday.
LA CENTER (6-0, 2-0 Trico League)
Week 7: Bye
As noted above, the Wildcats’ league game with Seton Catholic was scratched months ago. La Center was unable to find a Week 7 opponent.
I was told today that the game is not considered a forfeit in the league standings. So La Center is 6-0 and 2-0 in the Trico League with two games to play. La Center will end up playing one less league game than most of its Trico opponents.
La Center is looking to top Columbia-White Salmon this week, then take on Castle Rock in Week 9 for the Trico League championship.
Next: La Center hosts Columbia-White Salmon at 7 p.m. Friday