3A GSHL football notes: Evergreen finishes strong even in defeat

Plus more information from Mountain View, Prairie, Hudson’s Bay, and Fort Vancouver

Here are the weekly football notes from the Clark County teams in the 3A Greater St. Helens League. 

Evergreen Plainsmen (0-1)

Week 1: Heritage 35, Evergreen 28

If there is such thing as a good loss, this was a good loss.

Carter Monda and the Evergreen passing game struggled early, but he completed 9 of his last 16 passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns. Photo by Mike Schultz
Carter Monda and the Evergreen passing game struggled early, but he completed 9 of his last 16 passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns. Photo by Mike Schultz

The Plainsmen trailed by 21 and managed to tie the game — twice — before Heritage got the final touchdown of the game.

“I walked away from the game feeling good about where we are,” Evergreen coach Christian Swain said. “Our kids are locked in and working hard. I feel this team is only going to get better.”

He saw resiliency after a tough first half. 

“We are a work in progress,” Swain said. “We are a rough diamond right now.”

But he knows things are heading in the right direction. He said he has had almost 100 percent attendance through camp. It was a shock to the system to fall behind by three touchdowns, but then his Plainsmen showed they will not give up. 

Zyell Griffin was amazing with his seven catches for 179 yards and three touchdowns, including his 99-yard pass from Carter Monda.

Oh, and Monda looked a lot better than his completion percentage. The senior has not played football since the eighth grade. In the first half, he had a lot of overthrows — clearly adrenaline as he was trying to showcase his talents. He also was the victim of a lot of dropped passes. It kind of snowballed on the Evergreen passing game early. 

But in his final 16 throws, he completed nine passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns.

“Amazed at how much he improves on a daily basis,” Swain said. “I told him, ‘Football is addictive. You’re going to get hooked.’ He said, ‘Coach, I already am.’”

Next: Evergreen travels to Centralia for a 7 p.m. game Friday. 

Prairie Falcons (1-0)

Week 1: Prairie 52, Parkrose 33

The Falcons put up a 50-burger in their opener. 

“The truth is Parkrose is a very good football team. They are fast and physical. It was a great challenge for us,” Prairie coach Mike Peck said. “To put up 52 points … it was a good start to the season for us.”

A.J. Dixson, left) and Zeke Dixson were a powerful combination in Prairie’s 52-33 win over Parkrose. Photo by Mike Schultz
A.J. Dixson, left) and Zeke Dixson were a powerful combination in Prairie’s 52-33 win over Parkrose. Photo by Mike Schultz

A.J. Dixson threw six touchdown passes. Zeke Dixson had a 73-yard kickoff return for a score and also scored on an 80-yard screen pass from his brother. 

Big numbers all night long. 

Parkrose did a lot of things right in the third quarter, too, scoring a couple touchdowns to let Prairie know the game was not over.

“Our kids were able to adjust to that, and they kept playing. We played four quarters of football,” Peck said. “That was really cool to see.”

Peck said both the offensive and defensive linemen had strong performance. Communication was key, the coach said. They understood their assignments. 

Next: Prairie has its home opener at District Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday against Washougal.

“Excited to have our first home game and have an incredible atmosphere,” Peck said. “Excited to see what type of steps we can take from Week 1 to Week 2.”

Mountain View Thunder (0-1)

Week 1: Union 20, Mountain View 10

The last time the Mountain View Thunder lost a close, low-scoring game to Union, the Thunder went on to win 11 in a row and reach the Class 3A state semifinals.

Riley McCarthy of Mountain View scored his team’s lone touchdown Friday night. Photo by Mike Schultz
Riley McCarthy of Mountain View scored his team’s lone touchdown Friday night. Photo by Mike Schultz

Now no one is guaranteeing a run like that this year, but the Thunder coaches are feeling good about their guys after watching the video from Friday’s loss to the Titans.

“For me, it’s the educational process. I’m proud of the group. They played hard for 48 minutes,” Mountain View coach Adam Mathieson said. 

Mountain View has 21 new starters this season and opened the year against the defending Class 4A state champions.

“These are the games we seek,” Mathieson said. “These are the game we believe we need in order to get better.”

Statistically, Union had a really strong night, especially on the ground.

Statistically, Mountain View struggled on offense, with the exception of one or two plays.

But there were the Thunder, just a couple of plays away from changing the outcome of this game. The Thunder were competitive at all times.

“Let’s say we make two plays, and we win the game, it still doesn’t change the process,” Mathieson said. 

1-0 is the same as 0-1 in this point of view. 

“It’s still a picture of growth throughout the season. Regardless of whether we win the game or lose the game, our standard needs to remain the same.”

As a coach, Mathieson said he really enjoys the period between Week 1 and Week 2. For a lot of the players, this was their first real action under the Friday night lights.

“This is where the fun begins,” he said of the improvement he expects to see in the coming weeks.

“Don’t bury us yet.”

Mathieson also pointed out how impressed he was with his defensive secondary. Union does have a talented new starting quarterback but on this night, the Titans only got 82 yards through the air. Mathieson noted the play of Kevin Chen, Kyle Chen — a freshman — Alex Hoang, and Alec Cann. 

Next: Home against Juanita at 4:30 p.m. at McKenzie Stadium. 

Hudson’s Bay Eagles (0-1)

Week 1: Washougal 40, Hudson’s Bay 0

A lot of new faces in the starting lineup this year, and the first game did not go as planned. Still, the Eagles will be better than that showing, their coach believes.

“It was a little eye opening experience for a lot of them,” Bay coach Ray Lions said. “It took awhile for them to get used to being under the lights. Overall, a lot of learning, a lot of teaching we’ve got to do.”

Lions was impressed with the play of safety Kevin Navarro, who had an interception and made a lot of tackles. Defensive end Derek Barnes also showed off his skills. 

The goal for Week 2 is for the Eagles to play their game, Lions said, adding he wants his players to show poise. 

The Eagles will be going up against an offense that will be tough to stop. Heritage rushed for more than 400 yards in Week 1. The Bay defense will have to prepare for a physical game. 

On offense, just better execution is needed by everyone, the coach said.

Next: Road game against Heritage, the second game of the doubleheader at McKenzie Stadium. Tentative start time: 7 p.m. 

Fort Vancouver Trappers (0-1)

Week 1: R.A. Long 43, Fort Vancouver 16

Fort Vancouver is playing an independent schedule this year, looking to gain some confidence. It might have been another loss, but there are positive signs from this game.

For one, the Trappers did not score in the first three weeks last year. 

Mason Mongold had more than 160 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on Friday night.

The Trappers also scored in the final minute, proving that they were not just playing through the motions. These Trappers are playing to make improvements, playing for the future of the program.

Next: at Winlock, 7 p.m. Friday.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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