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Week 8 • HS football reports: Class 3A Greater St. Helens League

Mountain View ThunderPrairie FalconsEvergreen PlainsmenHudson’s Bay EaglesFort Vancouver Trappers


So many scenarios with Evergreen, Prairie, and Hudson’s Bay

Evergreen Plainsmen (3-5, 1-3 3A GSHL)

Week 8: Hudson’s Bay 42, Evergreen 21

Next: vs. Prairie, 4:30 p.m. Friday at McKenzie Stadium

Well, Week 8 did not go as planned for the Plainsmen. Now, they have to win in Week 9 and hope Kelso can beat Hudson’s Bay to force a three-way tie for third place with Bay and Prairie. Sound familiar? That three-way tie has happened the past two seasons.

Evergreen quarterback Ryan Blaize, shown here earlier this season, and the Plainsmen still have a shot at the playoffs. Photo by Mike Schultz
Evergreen quarterback Ryan Blaize, shown here earlier this season, and the Plainsmen still have a shot at the playoffs. Photo by Mike Schultz

“Here we go again, right?” Evergreen coach Terry Hyde asked.

Evergreen needed to win its final two games to assure a playoff spot. Now, the best it can do is get in a tiebreaker.

“The thing is, with this game, you gotta play the game,” Hyde said. “When you find yourself in a fight, you gotta fight.”

While all coaches would prefer to be undefeated at this time, Hyde did say the 3A GSHL is a lot of fun for a lot of fans and players.

“I think it’s exciting when the league doesn’t get figured out until the last week. There is hope for more kids, a lot of kids still fighting. It’s better than having everything decided by Week 5 or 6. There are more opportunities for more kids.”

Interestingly, going into the final week, the only seed that is a lock is Mountain View at No. 1. Then there is Kelso, Bay, Prairie, and Evergreen battling for the two other spots.

Evergreen knows it has to win Friday for a shot.

“Prairie’s a really efficient team, extremely efficient,” Hyde said. “We’re going to have to come out and play solid, assignment football.”


Prairie looks to accomplish its goals

Prairie Falcons (4-4, 2-2 3A GSHL)

Week 8: Prairie 41, Fort Vancouver 8

Next: vs. Evergreen, 4:30 p.m. Friday at McKenzie Stadium

At stake: A win Friday assures Prairie of playing beyond Friday. Does not necessarily guarantee a playoff spot but does guarantee at least a tiebreaker, with two chances to take a playoff spot.

The Prairie Falcons have a belief system that has put them in position for a winning season and a playoff berth. Photo by Mike Schultz
The Prairie Falcons have a belief system that has put them in position for a winning season and a playoff berth. Photo by Mike Schultz

Of course, it is entirely possible that a win will lock up the No. 3 seed, too. If Prairie wins, and Kelso beats Hudson’s Bay, there will be no tiebreaker. Kelso will be No. 2, Prairie will be No. 3.

Plus there is that scenario for a three-way tie for third place. If Prairie loses to Evergreen and Hudson’s Bay loses to Kelso, all three would finish at 2-3 in league play.

“Coming into the season our goals were to have a winning record and go to the playoffs,” Prairie coach Mike Peck said. “We are excited to be in that position heading into Week 9.”

A win on Friday, though, starts earlier in the week.

“We must continue to have great practices and prepare the same regardless of opponent or situation. These kids understand that, and they are a blast to coach,” Peck said. “We are just trying to have fun and get better each day. The rest will take care of itself.”


Hudson’s Bay still very much alive in playoff race

Hudson’s Bay Eagles (3-5, 2-2 3A GSHL)

Week 8: Hudson’s Bay 42, Evergreen 21

Next: vs. Kelso, 5 p.m. Friday at Kiggins Bowl

At stake: Win and finish at least in a tie for second place in the 3A GSHL. A win and a Prairie loss would make Bay the No. 2 seed. A win and a Prairie victory would mean a three-way tie for second place, and only two of those teams could make the playoffs.

If Bay loses, there would be a three-way tie for third place if Evergreen beats Prairie. But if Bay loses and Prairie wins, Bay would be out of playoff talk.

Big Week 8: Before they could think of those scenarios in Week 9, the Eagles had to win in Week 8. They took care of business.

“Of course a win feels good, but it was the fact that we finished in every aspect that made a difference,” Hudson’s Bay coach Ray Lions said. “The Hudson’s Bay team we saw on Friday is the team we knew we had.”

Lions credited the play of underclassmen Levi Mikaele and Hayden DeGrandpre for stepping up their performances.

“The great news about a must-win situation is that the team never talked about it,” Lions added. “No question, continuing the success of the program is on everyone’s mind, but we didn’t put that pressure on ourselves. The players continued to get the best out of practice, and it showed on the field.”

Other standouts: Lions took the time to praise several Eagles for their efforts in getting Bay into this position. He noted the “original beasts” of Akilotoa Kaumatule, Carter Morse, and Derek Barnes for continuing to elevate their play, bringing their football IQ with them to every practice, every game.

The defensive secondary of Devontay Moore, Trent Palen, Treyce Teague, Morse, and Josh McDonald has made big strides. Lions said it is difficult to believe it is a new secondary with just how much they have improved in the past two weeks alone.

The offensive line won the battle of the trenches in Week 8. That would be Levi Grahnert, Logan DeGrandpre, Victor Montes, Gabriel Ortega, and Malek Mabrouk.

Week 9 mentality: Lions said it would have been easy for the Eagles to fold during the tough times this season, which would have made Week 9 irrelevant.

“Instead, just like the character of our players, they’re fighters,” Lions said. “That’s what we expect Friday. There is a lot of respect for Kelso and what they bring each game, but it’s going to be up to us to not only match the physicality but the quality as well. … We’re excited for the opportunity and happy that there is some highlight happening behind the efforts of our players and program.”


3A GSHL champions prepare for playoffs

Mountain View (7-1, 4-0 3A GSHL)

Week 8: Mountain View 49, Kelso 7

Next: vs. Fort Vancouver, 7 p.m. Thursday at McKenzie Stadium

Champions: The Mountain View Thunder won the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League with a dominating second half last week at Kelso.

Tied at 7 at the half, the Thunder scored four third-quarter touchdowns and ended up getting the game into a running clock in the fourth quarter when they went up by more than 40 points.

“We JV O’d them. We JV D’d them,” Mountain View’s Jack Mertens said, referring to putting in the junior varsity offense and defense.

He said it in a way that was not bragging. More like he was stunned. It was, after all, a 7-7 game at the half.

While most expected Mountain View to win, there was no indication it would have been a 42-point game, not after those first two quarters.

The Thunder take on winless Fort Vancouver this week, meaning they will get some extra time to work on the playoffs. Mountain View will host a Week 10 state preliminary round game. Win that, and they are pretty much assured a great seed at state. That would give them a 9-1 record with the only loss coming against the top-ranked team in Class 4A.


Thanking the Trappers for their efforts

Fort Vancouver (0-8, 0-4 3A GSHL)

Week 8: Prairie 41, Fort Vancouver 8

Next: vs. Mountain View, 7 p.m. Thursday at McKenzie Stadium

Here is my weekly salute to the Trappers. To those seniors who are playing their last games this week, thank you for being there, for putting in the effort. There were no positive results in the win-loss record, but trust me, there is honor in the effort. You will be better people for enduring such a tough stretch. For the juniors, sophomores, and freshmen in the program, keep on keeping on.

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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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