Class 2A/1A football notes: Columbia River celebrates coach’s first victory

King’s Way Christian to open new stadium; plus tidbits from around the county’ small-school football teams

Here are our weekly notes from the Clark County teams from the 2A Greater St. Helens League and the Trico League.


Week 3: Columbia River 35, Ridgefield 18

Congrats to Coach Smedley:
Brett Smedley picked up his first win as the head coach at Columbia River.

Columbia River coach Brett Smedley was thrilled for his players for picking up their first win of the season. His players celebrated Smedley’s first win as head coach at River. Photo by Mike Schultz
Columbia River coach Brett Smedley was thrilled for his players for picking up their first win of the season. His players celebrated Smedley’s first win as head coach at River. Photo by Mike Schultz

Still, he preferred talking about his players first, noting how most of the team consists of juniors who are still figuring out how to play on Fridays and what it takes to win.

“It was good for those kids. It was awesome for them,” Smedley said. “A lot of things to learn still. Hopefully they keep learning from mistakes and gaining confidence.”

Smedley said he knew the team was improving, even after the 0-2 start. The schedule was tough, too. Centralia is averaging 40 points per game, and Skyview is among the top Class 4A programs in the state.

Still, getting a win feels good. And the players appreciate their coach. They gave Smedley a Gatorade bath.

“It was a cool moment at River, to share that with the kids and the coaches,” Smedley said.

He also said that perhaps getting a Gatorade bath in Week 3 was premature. But it was a kind gesture for Win No. 1. 

Next: Columbia River will play at Hockinson at 7 p.m. Friday.

So if the Chieftains can manage to beat the two-time defending state champions, that would probably deserve a big celebration, too.

“They’re really good. We feel we have a pretty good gameplan,” Smedley said. “We’ll go out there and do what we do and see what happens. We’re excited about the challenge to play the best team in the league and one of the best in the state. It’s a cool opportunity for our kids.”


Week 3:
Hockinson 62, R.A. Long 14


The Hockinson Hawks have now won 29 of their past 30 games. Yes, the 28-game win streak ended in Week 2. The Hawks got back on track in Week 3.

“All winning streaks start with one game,” Hockinson coach Rick Steele said with a laugh.

This was a tough one for R.A. Long. The program is struggling this season and then had to take on a Hockinson team that is not only talented, but also ticked off from the previous week.

Steele said the week started off a little quiet. The Hawks just aren’t used to having to come in on a Monday after a loss. Hasn’t happened in a long, long time.  

There were a few injuries, too, so the Hawks were going to go into the R.A. Long game without some starters. The coaches made lemonade out of the situation, announcing that the team would start 22 different players against R.A. Long. They went with the “college or pro plan,” if you will. Eleven players started on offense. And 11 different players started on defense.

“The kids got excited,” Steele said. “They knew a lot of people were going to play. The excitement grew. We wanted to use it as developing second-teamers and third-teamers to add some depth for later on in the season. They all performed.”

This is a great time to note that last year, two freshmen were instrumental in the state championship game. So reps in September for back-ups could lead to big-time moments later on in the campaign. 

Next: Hockinson hosts Columbia River at 7 p.m. Friday


Week 3: Columbia River 35, Ridgefield 18

Learning experience:
The Spudders almost beat La Center in Week 1. They got a win in Week 2. So they were feeling pretty good about themselves. Maybe too good.

“We did a lot of growing up this week,” Ridgefield coach Scott Rice said. “Coming off that King’s Way win, I don’t know if we overlooked Columbia River, but we rested on our laurels.”

It was an abrupt wake-up call.

“River is a good team, and they punched us right in the mouth in the first half,” Rice said. “We have to understand nobody is going to give us anything. If we’re going to want to do it, we have to do it ourselves.”

Trey Knight had another great week, the coach said. The team moved him to tight end on offense and that move is paying dividends. 

Wyatt Bartroff is the team’s center. A freshman, he plays more like an experienced junior. “Every day he gets reps, he gets better,” the coach said.

Even in the loss, Hunter Abrams made quite the impression on the opposition, on offense and defense.

“He single-handedly caused two fumbles, and he had a pick,” Columbia River coach Brett Smedley said of Abrams’ defense.

Then on offense, he did so much as a running back, rushing for more than 140 yards.

“He’s faster than you think, and he has incredible balance,” Smedley said.

“He’s a pretty special kid, that’s for sure,” Rice said. “Glad he’s on our team. We don’t have to tackle him.”

Next: Ridgefield hosts Mark Morris at 7 p.m. Friday.


Week 3: Washougal 47, Woodland 21

Be good, or Bea Awesome:
Brevan Bea just could not be blocked on Friday night. It seemed like he was in the middle of every big defensive play for the Washougal Panthers.

I lost space on my “defensive notes” part of my football stats page. 

The radio guys kept saying, “Guess who?” when Washougal got another stop.

The Washougal coaches went back and looked at HUDL and came up with 20 tackles for Bea. I had him for seven total tackles-for-loss, including two sacks. Oh, and he caused a fumble.

On offense, he “only” scored three touchdowns. Slacker!  

By the way, for highlights of this game, check out of video we posted on Monday:

Speaking of stats:
Here is a little “behind-the-scenes” for a reporter. Woodland’s space for the media was filled. Four people, including two radio guys. 

Just so happened, it my chair, I could not see the clock. And I could only see half the scoreboard. Hey, it happens. If you are in the business of reporting on high school sports, one must be flexible. These are not major college or professional stadiums. Woodland has a great stadium. But it just so happened, where I was sitting, a big pole blocked by view of the scoreboard.

After every score, I had to get up, walk behind the radio guys, and then lean over to see the clock. 

Anyway, I’m out of shape, so I blame the fact that I messed up on my stats that night because I was out of breath!

Here’s the fun part. Even when I mess up, I don’t mess up for long. I keep a play-by-play, and I tally the stats after every play. So if my totals are messed up at the end of the game, I simply go back to the play-by-play and redo my stat sheet. 

That’s what happened Friday. I wrote down the 62-yard touchdown pass, but I forgot to add the passing yards to Dalton Payne’s totals. (Fortunately, I found that mistake before I wrote my story.) But unfortunately, I added the 62 receiving yards to another receiver. I had the correct receiver scoring the touchdown in my story, but not in my stats. (I fixed that the next morning.)

By the way, Nos 6, 8, and 9 look alike from way up in the press box. It’s not just me, though. The radio guys were having trouble, too. We had some fun up there with that all night.

Anyway, those of you who have been following me for years know that my football stats are important. If I’m at a game and you think I made a mistake, let me know. I’ll double-check the notes or explain why my numbers might differ from yours. 

But I promise you, if a stat is off, it was not intentional. I literally lose sleep when I think I’m off.

Next: Washougal travels to face W.F. West at 7 p.m. Friday.

Woodland Beavers, Woodland, Class 2A Greater St. Helens League, high school football, Jason Bowman, Michael Karchesky, Isaiah Flanagan, Hunter Smith, Garrett Lutgen


Week 3: Washougal 47, Woodland 41

Signs of improvement:
The Beavers struggled in slowing down Washougal on Friday, but they kept battling. 

Besides all the tackles, and the forced fumble, Washougal’s Brevan Bea also knocked down this pass Friday against Woodland quarterback Isaiah Flanagan. Photo by Mike Schultz
Besides all the tackles, and the forced fumble, Washougal’s Brevan Bea also knocked down this pass Friday against Woodland quarterback Isaiah Flanagan. Photo by Mike Schultz

In the first quarter, Isaiah Flanagan made a great escape. In danger of being sacked, he changed direction, then threw a pass right on the money to a diving Mark Morales for the team’s first touchdown.

We had that play in our Monday highlights package:

But my favorite play from Woodland came from junior defensive lineman John Arocan. 

If you read my Washougal note, Brevan Bea was clearly the best defensive player in this game. It was Arocan, though, who had the biggest hit in this game.

He brought down the Washoual ball carrier for a 5-yard loss and the crowd went “Oooooh.” Plus, this was late in the game.

Woodland might be 0-3, but the Beavers are still playing hard, even late in the game, down by a lot. That says a lot about the Beavers. 

Next: Woodland hits the road to face R.A. Long in Longview at 7 p.m. Friday.


Week 3: La Center 48, Hoquiam 14

What a difference:
A year ago, the Wildcats were 0-3.

This year, same schedule, but 3-0.

“Last year was a painful year, but it was good in the sense we had to experience the pain to feel the joy of winning,” La Center coach John Lambert said. “We’re not going to be complacent of anything. We know how fleeting it can be.”

That young team last year has returned on a mission.

“They believed in the process,” the coach said. “They came back this year bigger, faster, stronger, and more experienced.”

Lambert said the Wildcats had one of the best Week 3 performances he could remember. In other words, this year’s squad has arrived a little earlier than some of the other teams in the past. 

Next: Oh this should be a fun one. La Center hosts the defending Class 2B state champions from Kalama at 7 p.m. Friday.

In 2015, Kalama beat La Center on the last play of the game to win the league title – back when Kalama was a Class 1A team.

Last year, Kalama scored in the closing seconds to win. 

“I think we’re better than we were last year,” Lambert said. “Our guys are excited.”


Week 3: Seton Catholic 20, Fort Vancouver 12

Another thriller:
For the second week in a row, the Seton Catholic defense saved a victory. In Week 2, it was a stop on a 2-point conversion to win by a point. In Week 3, the Cougars stopped the Trappers on the 1-yard line on the final play of the game.

“We had a good idea where the ball was going to, and (linebacker) Isaac Washington stepped up and filled the hole, and his teammates rallied to the ball,” Seton Catholic coach Dan Chase said. “It was a team effort. That’s how Seton Catholic has been handling their games: team effort.”

Washington finished with 10 tackles. He also scored a touchdown in the win.

Quarterback Luke Pitzer rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown, plus he threw a touchdown pass.

Next: Seton Catholic gets to celebrate its 3-0 start for a little longer. The Cougars have a bye this week. They will play again Oct. 4 at Stevenson.


Week 3: King’s Way Christian 41, Bellevue Christian 14

The losses helped:

King’s Way Christian went up against Elma and Ridgefield in the first two weeks, two teams that had big guys up front.

The King’s Way Christian stadium, shown here under construction in July, is finished and ready to host its first football game Friday. Photo by Mike Schultz
The King’s Way Christian stadium, shown here under construction in July, is finished and ready to host its first football game Friday. Photo by Mike Schultz

“That helped us this week because we won in the trenches,” King’s Way Christian coach Brian Rodriguez said after his team got its first win of the season.

“We owned the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.”

The Knights were able to run the ball effectively, which made things a lot easier for them when they went to the air.

“It was nice to be hitting on all cylinders offensively,” the coach said.

Kemper Shrock threw four touchdown passes. Bryson Metz caught 10 passes for 110 yards and three of those scores.

Alec Charlton moved from receiver to running back and had 75 yards and a touchdown in his first game at that position. Connor Delamarter rushed for 78 yards and a score. That will give the Knights quite the combination moving forward. 

Tastes good:

This game was played on a Saturday afternoon, giving the Knights more time to celebrate. Many of them went to Five Guys Burgers and Fries. 

“That burger tasted a lot better knowing we had a good victory under our belt,” Rodriguez said. “And you don’t feel as guilty having that burger.”

Next: One of the biggest nights in program history. The Knights will host Riverside of Boardman, Ore., at 6 p.m. The highlight: The grand opening of the new stadium at King’s Way Christian.

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