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Mountain View, Union piling up the wins

Thunder blasts Evergreen; Union blanks Heritage

VANCOUVER — They played each other way back in Week 1 so one team had to lose.

Since then, it has been all victories.

The Union Titans and Mountain View Thunder hope this is just halfway through the season, now seven weeks into the 2018 campaign.

On Thursday night, Union got the shutout over Heritage 34-0 to remain undefeated. Earlier at McKenzie Stadium, Mountain View won its sixth consecutive game, taking down Evergreen 55-14.

The two teams are a combined 13-1.

Michael Rogers (16) of Union tries to bring down Daniel Barrera (4) of Heritage during Thursday's game at McKenzie Stadium. Union got the shutout, beating Heritage 34-0 to improve to 7-0 this season. Photo courtesy of Heather Tianen
Michael Rogers (16) of Union tries to bring down Daniel Barrera (4) of Heritage during Thursday’s game at McKenzie Stadium. Union got the shutout, beating Heritage 34-0 to improve to 7-0 this season. Photo courtesy of Heather Tianen

There are 14 weeks in Washington high school football for teams that make it to state championship weekend. Union is ranked No. 1 by The Associated Press in the Class 4A poll. Mountain View is No. 5 in the 3A poll.

So yes, seven weeks into the season, it is not such a crazy notion to believe two teams from Evergreen Public Schools could be making long playoff runs.

“Our goal is to win every game by winning every week in practice, 100 percent,” Union defensive back Justin Chin said. “Each rep, go 100 percent.”

“It feels like we’re unstoppable, like nothing can get past us,” Mountain View linebacker Andrew Gulliford said.

The Thunder have outscored opponents 335-38 since losing to Union 17-14 in Week 1.

Union is 7-0, playing a crazy tough schedule but figuring out ways to win a number of close games.  

Union's Jojo Siofele rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown, helping the Titans beat Heritage 34-0 Thursday night. Photo courtesy of Heather Tianen
Union’s Jojo Siofele rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown, helping the Titans beat Heritage 34-0 Thursday night. Photo courtesy of Heather Tianen

The Mountain View defense had given up less than 1,000 yards in their first six games.

Still, the Thunder know they cannot take anything for granted. They certainly will not be thinking beyond next week when they take on undefeated Kelso in the game of the year in the 3A Greater St. Helens League.

“It feels great right now but we have to prepare every week. It doesn’t matter who we play. Kelso or Fort, it doesn’t matter,” Gulliford said. “Every week we work hard, every practice we work hard.”

Union has not had the luxury of too many blowouts. Even Thursday’s game was close at halftime.

Of course, the Titans suffered through a tragic week following the death of offensive line coach Mark Rego. There was a moment of silence before the game in Rego’s honor.

“We were grieving the loss of a friend and a coach,” Union coach Rory Rosenbach said.

At the same time, Rego would hope the Titans learned a lesson.

“You’ve got to prepare every week,” Rosenbach said. “If you don’t prepare every week or show the same hunger you had earlier in the season, teams will sneak up on you. Hopefully they got the message.

“I’m proud of how they came out after halftime.”

The Union defense got its first shutout of the year, too.

“It’s just practice,” Chin said. “We always focus on the details, all the little things. The little things matter in the end.

“And then we just played as a team.”

The Union defense set up the first score of Thursday’s game, recovering a fumble at the Heritage 1-yard line. The next play, the Titans gave the ball to lineman Giovanny Rojo for a touchdown run.

The Titans made it 14-0 when Alishawuan Taylor, normally a wide receiver, found Jojo Siofele for a 30-yard touchdown pass. Taylor started at quarterback for the injured Lincoln Victor. Taylor was one of five Titans who played quarterback in the game.

“We got a lot of guys a lot of reps,” Rosenbach said.

Victor, by the way, was held out for precautionary reasons. He expects to return to the field soon.

Siofele scored on a 62-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half to make it 21-0. Darien Chase caught a TD pass from Ryan Rusumny. Nile Jones capped the scoring with an 18-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Mountain View put on its usual show on offense in the early game at the stadium.

Jordan Cook (21) and Phillip Earnhardt (9) of Mountain View close in on Zyrell Griffin (2) of Evergreen in Thursday's Class 3A Greater St. Helens League football game. Mountain View won 55-14. Photo courtesy of jkgulli photography
Jordan Cook (21) and Phillip Earnhardt (9) of Mountain View close in on Zyrell Griffin (2) of Evergreen in Thursday’s Class 3A Greater St. Helens League football game. Mountain View won 55-14. Photo courtesy of jkgulli photography

Jack Mertens rushed for 150 yards on just nine carries and scored three touchdowns. Quarterback Garrett Moen threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another.

Gulliford and Mountain View coach Adam Mathieson said the Week 1 loss to Union has been beneficial.

“We had to find out the grit of this team, and how we work as a team,” Gulliford said. “It will help us out a lot when we’re in the playoffs, too. That’s a really good team.”

“That’s why you want to play games like that,” Mathieson said. “I was troubled that we lost, but I got belief that night that we were who we thought we were.”

The Thunder are good. The Titans are good. There are no guarantees from any player on any team, but they are so good, in fact, that it is possible that they have only reached the halfway point of the season at Week 7.

Mountain View's Andrew Gulliford (35) and Rodolfo Montiel (85) team up to tackle Evergreen's Eli Vaa-leiataua (3) Thursday at McKenzie Stadium. The Thunder get a lot of publicity for their offense, but the defense has been exceptional, as well. Mountain View beat Evergreen 55-14. Photo courtesy of jkgulli photography
Mountain View’s Andrew Gulliford (35) and Rodolfo Montiel (85) team up to tackle Evergreen’s Eli Vaa-leiataua (3) Thursday at McKenzie Stadium. The Thunder get a lot of publicity for their offense, but the defense has been exceptional, as well. Mountain View beat Evergreen 55-14. Photo courtesy of jkgulli photography

MOUNTAIN VIEW 55, EVERGREEN 14

Evergreen 0 7 0 7 — 14

Mtn. View 14 28 6 7 — 55

First quarter

MV — Makai Anderson 29 pass from Garrett Moen (Jude Mullette kick)

MV — Moen 25 run (Mullette kick)

Second quarter

MV — Jack Mertens 26 run (Mullette kick)

Eve — Eli Vaa-leiataua 4 run (Eli Del-Angel kick)

MV — Mertens 25 run (Mullette kick)

MV — Phillip Earnhardt 60 pass from Moen (Mullette kick)

MV — Michael Bolds 6 pass from Moen (Mullette kick)

Third quarter

MV — Mertens 35 run (kick blocked)

Fourth quarter

MV — Malikiah Batties 6 run (Mullette kick)

Eve — Vaa-leiataua 5 run (Del-Angel kick)

Individual statistics

RUSHING — Evergreen: Vaa-leiataua 19-81, Zyell Griffin 3-12, Cam Smith 1-3, Ryan Blaize 1-(minus 1). Mountain View: Mertens 9-150, Moen 7-93, Bobby Shepard 1-8, Batties 6-36, Xavier Mayo 2-19, Alec Cann 5-20, Juan Jimenez 1-(minus 4), Team 3-(minus 8).

PASSING — Evergreen: Blaize 14-22-2-201. Mountain View: Moen 8-12-1-180, Kury Santiago 2-2-0-47.

RECEIVING — Evergreen: Vaa-leiataua 2-6, Tae Marks 3-18, Griffen 5-101, Jaylen Fite 1-24, Isaijah Griggs 3-52. Mountain View: Anderson 1-29, Bolds 2-27, Earnhardt 4-125, Colton Drake 1-(minus 1), Dominic Stephens 2-47.


UNION 34, HERITAGE 0

Union 7 7 13 7 — 34

Heritage 0 0 0 0 — 0

First quarter

U — Giovanny Rojo 1 run (Alex Koga kick)

Second quarter

U — Jojo Siofele 30 pass from Alishawuan Taylor (Koga kick)

Third quarter

U — Siofele 62 run (Koga kick)

U — Darien Chase 5 pass from Ryan Rusumny (kick failed)

Fourth quarter

U — Nile Jones 18 run (Koga kick)

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About The Author

Paul Valencia

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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