Falcons circle playoffs

Third-string QB guides Prairie to win over Columbia River

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

Published:

 

Prairie vs. Columbia River

Terry Hyde is two wins away from a mohawk.

The Prairie football coach promised his team he would sport the hairstyle if the Falcons made the playoffs for the first time this century, and after Friday’s 19-9 win over Columbia River, the clippers have inched that much closer to his not-so-golden locks.

But while the idea of Hyde shaving the sides of his head is shocking, it may not be as surprising as Friday’s result.

Playing without standout quarterback Colin Seitz for the second game in a row, Prairie’s 3A Greater St. Helen’s League victory is, well, all the buzz.

“Everybody thought we were going to lose tonight,” said David Taylor, the third-string quarterback who made his first start for the Falcons Friday. “I mean, we thought we were going to win, but nobody else did.”

Taylor admitted to experiencing first-game jitters before taking the field, but his opening drive proved the perfect antidote. The senior tossed a 58-yard pass to Jesse Zalk on Prairie’s first play, ran it 13 yards on its second, and handed it off to Tyler Vea for a seven-yard scoring run on its third. Less than one minute into the game, the Falcons (3-3-2-2) led 7-0.

But that advantage would eventually vanish.

A series of Prairie penalties kept a late first-quarter drive alive for River. And while the Chieftains (4-2, 2-2) failed to score on the possession, a blocked field goal gave the Falcons the ball back on their own 2, which resulted in a safety on Prairie’s next play.

Approximately six minutes later, with his team trailing 7-2, River quarterback Clayton Frank connected with Thomas Jacobson for a 69-yard completion that moved the ball to Prairie’s 2. Two plays later, Frank scored on a keeper to put the Chieftains ahead 9-7 with 6:31 left in the second half.

They wouldn’t score again.

“The defense won the game tonight,” Hyde said bluntly.

Prairie went up 13-9 with 2:39 left in the second quarter after Taylor threw a 44-yard TD pass to Jesse Zalk. Less than two minutes later, Falcons defensive back Ansel Cecil intercepted Clayton to essentially end the half.

Defensive back Jake Intermill shined for Prairie in the second half — knocking the ball out of a River receiver with a brutal hit on a crucial third and 2, recovering a fumble midway through the fourth quarter, and breaking up a key pass play in the red zone on the Chieftains’ final drive.

And while Prairie had just as much difficulty finding the end zone, kicker Max Riemer provided field goals of 23 and 29 yards in the third and fourth quarter respectively to cushion the Falcons’ lead.

Frank thinks River underestimated its opponent.

“There’s no doubt that we had pre-conceived ideas of how they were going to play,” the River QB said. “We came out half speed.

Taylor finished the game 9 of 15 passing with 148 yards and one TD pass.

Spectacular numbers? Not quite.

But as Hyde said, “he ran the game-plan perfectly.

Prairie 7 6 3 3—19

Columbia River 2 7 0 0—9

First quarter

P — Tyler Vea 7 run (Max Riemer kick)

CR — Safety, runner tackled in end zone

Second quarter

CR — Clayton Frank 1 run (Eli Gaynor kick)

P — Jesse Zalk 44 pass from David Taylor (kick blocked)

Third quarter

P — Riemer 23 FG

Fourth quarter

P — Riemer 29 FG

Leaders

Rushing — Prairie — Jesse Zalk 12-92, David Taylor 5-34, Tyler Vea 8-29, Zach Poulin 3-10. River — Clayton Frank 14-57, Remick Kawawaki 12-50, Darius Raiford 7-26.

Passing — Prairie — David Taylor 9-15-148. River — Clayton Frank — 17-33-1-172

Receiving — Prairie — Jesse Zalk 2-102, Tyler Vea 3-30, Ansel Cecil 3-7, Nick Gawley 1-9. River — Dennis Henderson 8-54, Thomas Jacobson 4-87, Trey Walker 2-28, Remick Kawawaki 1-6, Max Holman 1-2.