Friday football: Prairie’s season comes to an end in overtime

Ridgefield falls to Steilacoom; six Clark County teams set to play Saturday

The Prairie Falcons went down in defeat Friday night in the Class 3A state football playoffs but they also earned a whole lot of respect.

The program that had not made it to state since 1992 was seconds away from advancing to the state quarterfinals.

Prairie’s A.J. Dixson, shown here earlier in the season, threw three touchdown passes Friday night. Marysville-Pilchuch, though, tied the game on the final play of regulation, then beat Prairie 37-30 in overtime in the opening round of the Class 3A state playoffs. Photo by Mike Schultz
Prairie’s A.J. Dixson, shown here earlier in the season, threw three touchdown passes Friday night. Marysville-Pilchuch, though, tied the game on the final play of regulation, then beat Prairie 37-30 in overtime in the opening round of the Class 3A state playoffs. Photo by Mike Schultz

Instead, Marysville Pilchuck hit a 39-yard field goal on the final play of regulation to tie the game, and then MP scored the lone touchdown of overtime for a 37-30 victory.

“That’s one of the best football games I’ve ever been a part of as a player or a coach,” Prairie coach Mike Peck said via phone as the Falcons were on their way home late Friday. “I told them just be proud. They will remember this season for the rest of their lives. What they did for this community and Prairie football, nobody can ever take that away from them.”

The Falcons trailed 21-8 at one point but kept fighting for their season.

A.J. Dixson threw three touchdown passes, including one to Ian Davis with 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give the Falcons a 30-27 lead.

“Our kids fought incredibly hard,” Peck said. “Travel four hours and they just kept battling back and battling back. An incredible, gutsy performance by our guys.”

A celebration penalty on that Prairie touchdown would hurt the Falcons on the ensuing kickoff. Marysville-Pilchuck took advantage, got great field position, and nailed the field goal with no time left on the clock.

Prairie finished the season 9-2, tying the program record for most wins, a mark set in 1985. 

The Falcons won a share of the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League title and earned the league’s No. 1 seed to the Week 10 state preliminary round game. The Falcons advanced to state last week with a 73-35 win over Capital. 

At 9-1, the Falcons received an 11-seed in the 16-team tournament. Then came seconds from topping the No. 6 seed. 

“At the end, things didn’t go our way,” Peck said. “What an incredible effort by our guys and an incredible season.”

Class 2A 

No. 2 Steilacoom 42, No. 15 Ridgefield 21

Steilacoom scored on the first play of the game, returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, setting the tone for the rest of the half.

Steilacoom would end up with a 42-0 lead at the break.

Ridgefield, making its first appearance at state since 2005, did get three second-half touchdowns to finish the game on a high note.

Hunter Abrams scored on a 70-yard touchdown run as the highlight for the Spudders.

Ridgefield had won four games the past two years combined. Under new coach Scott Rice, the Spudders went 6-5 overall, including a 4-2 mark in the 2A Greater St. Helens League and the No. 2 seed to the district playoffs. 

Saturday’s games:

There are six high school football playoff games featuring Clark County teams on Saturday. 

1 p.m.: Connell at La Center, Class 1A

1 p.m. Union at Lake Stevens, Class 4A

2 p.m: Eastmont at Camas, Class 4A

2 p.m.: Washougal at Clarkston, Class 2A

3 p.m.: Ellensburg vs. Hockinson at Battle Ground HS, Class 2A

5 p.m.: Skyview vs. Woodinville, at Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell

For more information, see our previews: 

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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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