Undefeated Union takes on Camas for league title
Union Titans (8-0, 3-0 4A GSHL)
Week 8: Union 49, Battle Ground 7
Next: vs. Camas, 7:30 p.m. Friday at McKenzie Stadium
Lincoln Victor is expected to return to action for the game of the year in the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League.
Victor, Union’s quarterback, has missed the last two weeks after an injury in Week 6.
“I feel pretty confident he is going to go,” Union coach Rory Rosenbach said. “You’d have to cut off some legs or something to keep him out of this game.”
Victor likely could have played in Week 8 against Battle Ground. The coaches preferred to rest him for another week.
“Just sit tight. If we need you, we’ll call you,” Rosenbach said.
The Titans did not need him, pulling away from Battle Ground in the second half to get to 8-0. Union started 22 seniors on Senior Night. Yes, the Titans celebrated their seniors in their second-to-last home game. With Camas coming to town, Rosenbach did not want any pre-game distractions in Week 9.
This week, it’s all about taking on Camas for the league title.
“It’s pretty fun,” Rosenbach said. “This group has a chance to do something pretty special, something that hasn’t been done here in a while.”
That would be a 9-0 regular season. Union did go 9-0 in 2009 and 2008.
“These guys have a different mentality than a lot of teams I’ve coached in the past,” Rosenbach said. “They know the big picture. It is just one game, but it’s not just one game. Bragging rights are bragging rights.”
Rosenbach said years from now, these seniors will be talking about this game with the seniors from Camas.
“You always like to be on the right end of that conversation,” he said.
“Everybody’s locked in, ready to go, laser-focused. We have a great opponent across the field. Great coach. Great tradition. I think it’s going to be a great game.”
Blair expected to start at QB for injured Boyle
Camas Papermakers (5-3, 3-0 4A GSHL)
Week 8: Camas 48, Skyview 35
Next: vs. Union, 7:30 p.m. Friday at McKenzie Stadium
Camas is coming off a big win but a huge loss and now must face undefeated Union for the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League title.
Andrew Boyle, the team’s starting quarterback/safety/kicker who had an incredible first half last week, is done for the year after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee. Sophomore Jake Blair, who has seen plenty of action at quarterback while getting several possessions in a shared role with Boyle, is expected to step into the starting role. He was out last week with an injury.
As far as Week 9, there is something special about Camas-Union. Expect a great atmosphere at McKenzie Stadium.
Union has “lots of weapons on offense with a playmaker QB,” Camas coach Jon Eagle said. “Great team speed on boths sides of the ball. They play physical. Lots of players with high football IQ.
“They appear to have strong leadership among the players. They play with confidence. At times they get themselves into trouble but find a way to win the close games — sign of a good team.”
In fact, that started last season when Union rallied from 13 points down against Camas to win the 4A GSHL crown.
Eagle also likes the staff at Union.
“You don’t get to 8-0 without some good coaching,” he said.
Skyview looking for winning season, playoff berth
Skyview Storm (4-4, 1-2 4A GSHL)
Week 8: Camas 48, Skyview 35
Next: vs. Heritage, 8 p.m. Friday at Kiggins Bowl
The Storm are in a must-win situation to secure the third and final playoff spots for the 4A GSHL. Naturally, just about everyone expects the Storm to win this game against a struggling Heritage squad. But still, it is very much like a playoff game already for Skyview.
A loss would mean a three-way tie for third place and a tiebreaker.
The Storm don’t want to worry about any tiebreaker, though. Win and in. That’s simple.
It will be a little more difficult, though, without running back Jalynnee McGee. He announced via Twitter that his season is over after tearing ligaments in a foot last week. He had more than 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the first half against Camas but was on crutches on the sideline in the second half.
Skyview is trying to get to five regular-season wins. If the Storm win on Friday, they will have secured their 13th consecutive winning regular season. And they will return to the playoffs after missing out last year.
Gonzalez gets his shot, then shines for Heritage
Heritage Timberwolves (2-6, 0-3 4A GSHL)
Week 8: Emerald Ridge 31, Heritage 14
Next: vs. Skyview, 8 p.m. Friday at Kiggins Bowl
Celebrating the small victories: Raul Gonzalez, a back-up for much of the year, had to take over at a cornerback position this past week due to injuries. Then he had the game of his life for the Timberwolves with 11 tackles.
“He played his tail off,” Heritage coach Matt Gracey said. “The kid busted his butt in the weight room and worked hard all year. So happy to see him play well. That’s what high school football is about. It was fun to see somebody who is just a worker, got his chance, and he made the most of it.”
Big game: The record shows it has been a struggle. There was the 2-0 start, then a rash of injuries, and the Timberwolves have been on the bad end of a streak.
With all that, they have a chance at the playoffs. If they shock the rest of the 4A GSHL with a win over Skyview on Friday, they will be in a three-way tie for third place with the Storm and Battle Ground. Then those three teams will have to play a tiebreaker Monday for the final playoff berth.
Is it going to happen? Even the Timberwolves know it is a tough task. Could it happen? Sure. It’s still competition.
“We’re planning to give them the best show we can,” Gracey said. “If we improve on execution, there’s always a chance. It’s a chip and a chair. That’s how we’re looking at it.”
Chip and a chair is a poker reference. If a player has a seat at the table and at least one chip left in a tournament, then mathematically, there is a chance.
“They have everything to lose and we have nothing to lose,” Gracey said.
Improved Battle Ground looks for a win in final game
Battle Ground Tigers (2-6, 1-3 4A GSHL)
Week 8: Union 49, Battle Ground 7
Next: South Kitsap at Battle Ground, 7 p.m. Friday at District Stadium
It was close for a half. The Tigers gave the undefeated Titans a strong effort in the first half. A seven-point game, even, until a pick-six just before halftime gave Union the momentum. Sure, it was all Union in the second half, but there is something building at Battle Ground. This team is better than a year ago.
The Tigers finished their 4A GSHL season last week. They will finish fourth, or if Heritage stuns Skyview, will tie for third. (If that happens, there will be a tiebreaker for a playoff berth.)
Now the Tigers get to finish the regular season with a home game against South Kitsap. It’s a chance to show their fans how much they have improved and get a third win this campaign. That would be two more than last year.
Yes, the Tigers are better. They had a strong showing against Skyview, scored four touchdowns against Camas, and gave Union a tough half of football.