BRUSH PRAIRIE — With his team facing a two-touchdown deficit entering the fourth quarter Friday, even Hockinson coach Rick Steele wasn’t sure the Hawks would ever score.
“You know, I was starting to wonder,” Steele said. “But we were moving the ball, and I knew we’d put a drive together. I knew if we could get one, we could get two.”
The Hawks managed to do just that, pulling out a 14-13 victory over Mark Morris in Class 2A Greater St. Helens League play.
Jacob Reagan scored what proved to be the winning touchdown with 7:42 to play — a 32-yard pass from Jess Krahn on a fourth-and-18 play.
“It went right through a defender’s hands and hit me right in the chest,” Reagan said. “I held on to that for dear life.”
Mark Morris coach Shawn Perkins said: “The kid made a heck of a catch there. We had a guy right in his face.”
Moments after his touchdown catch, Reagan put the exclamation point on a fine effort by the Hockinson defense. He tackled running back Nikko Asbell in the backfield on a fourth-and-5 play near midfield, and the Hawks’ offense ran out the final 3½ minutes on the clock.
“Our defense just played great all night,” Steele said. “In the fourth quarter, our kids looked a little fresher than their guys.”
Mark Morris (2-4, 0-2) took an early lead, driving 70 yards on six plays following the opening kickoff. Asbell ran 40 yards for the touchdown, part of a 146-yard rushing night for him.
But the Monarchs missed the extra point — a miss that would come back to haunt them.
Mark Morris made it 13-0 on its first possession of the second half. Starting at the Hockinson 30-yard line following a punt and a personal-foul penalty, the Monarchs put together a short drive that was capped by a 3-yard TD run from Asbell.
But Mark Morris was unable to generate much offense, finishing with a total of 193 yards.
“I think our overall effort was much better,” said Perkins, whose team was coming off a 21-14 loss to Woodland.
Trailing 13-0 late in the third quarter, Hockinson (4-2, 1-0) launched a 60-yard drive that culminated with Josiah Niemela’s 1-yard TD run. After the Mark Morris offense went three-and-out, Hockinson put together what proved to be the winning drive.
“We’re not the highest-scoring offense,” said receiver Beau Sparks, who finished with five catches for 96 yards. “But I have faith in my offense and my line.”
That faith was tested through much of the game. Hockinson lost two fumbles — including one inside the Mark Morris 5-yard line — and threw two interceptions. The Hawks also had several untimely penalties, including one that wiped out a long completion on the play before Reagan’s touchdown catch.
But that couldn’t wipe away the Hawks’ confidence.
“We all felt the momentum was coming to us,” Reagan said.
Then they went and proved it.
Mark Morris 6 0 7 0—13
Hockinson 0 0 0 14—14
MM — Nikko Asbell 40 run (kick failed)
MM — Asbell 3 run (Riley Johnston kick)
H — Josiah Niemela 1 run (Everett Klodt kick)
H — Jacob Reagan 32 from Jess Krahn (Klodt kick)
Rushing — MM — Nikko Asbell 17-146, Jacob Hamlik 8-28, Brady Rukkila 6-15, Keigan Baker 6-2, Zach Fujioka 4-(-1), Hayden Tapani 1-(-4), Hayden Tilton 2-(-19); Hockinson — Josiah Niemela 19-71, Zack McElveny 6-68, Jacob Reagan 3-5, Nick Barclay 3-4, John Lunceford 1-4, team 2-(-2), Jess Krahn 5-(-5).
Passing — MM — Hayden Tilton 2-11-24-0, Seth Huhta 0-2-0-0; Hockinson — Jess Krahn 6-15-128-2.
Receiving — MM — Ryan Littlefield 2-24; Hockinson — Beau Sparks 5-96, Jacob Reagan 1-32.