BATTLE GROUND — Union senior running back Brandon Brody-Heim put his knee to the test Thursday night, and he passed.
Heck, he aced this test.
Brody-Heim, who returned to action last week, got more of a workload this week, going for 187 yards on 21 touches with four touchdowns.
Yeah, he’s back.
Brody-Heim and the Titans rolled over Battle Ground 42-6 Thursday night at District Stadium in a Class 4A Greater St. Helens League football game.
“It’s fine right now,” Brody-Heim said, referring to his right knee that was scoped on Sept. 9. “Getting treatment every day and I’m getting stronger. I am getting a little faster, and I can cut on it. Every day is an improvement.”
Brody-Heim scored on runs of 25, 9 and 21 yards, and later caught a screen pass from Kaben Humphrey-Butler and went 26 yards for another touchdown. In all, he rushed for 134 yards on 18 carries and caught three passes for 53 yards.
“It’s one thing to practice to get in shape,” Union coach Cale Piland said. “Game shape is completely different.
Part of the challenge is getting him to play four strong quarters of football. He was a lot better than last week, and he’s going to be a lot better next week.”
A.J. Anderson did his best Devin Hester impression with an impressive 59-yard punt return — the second week in a row he has returned a punt to the house for the Titans.
Union’s Humphrey-Butler threw for 169 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for a TD.
Union (6-1, 2-0 GSHL) picked up its sixth consecutive victory. The Titans face winless Evergreen next week, then take on Skyview for the 4A GSHL championship in Week 9.
“Every week, our focus is on us,” Brody-Heim said. “We play us every game. We took another step forward this week.”
Piland also praised his defense. Battle Ground has been able to run the ball against opponents most of the season. Thursday, the Tigers had 29 yards of offense in the first half.
Battle Ground avoided the shutout when Kevin Haynes hauled in a 30-yard pass from Ian Humphrey to get to the 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Haynes plunged into the end zone on the next play.
Battle Ground (4-3, 1-2) has lost to the top two teams in the league the past two weeks by a combined score of 118-6.
The Tigers now have to focus on a chance at the playoffs. With a win already over Evergreen, Battle Ground can claim the third berth to the 4A state preliminary playoffs with a win over Heritage next week.
UNION 42, BATTLE GROUND 6
Union 14 14 14 0–42
Battle Ground 0 0 0 6–6
U — Brandon Brody-Heim 25 run (Trent Cowan kick)
U — Brody-Heim 9 run (Cowan kick)
U — Brody-Heim 21 run (Cowan kick)
U — A.J. Anderson 59 punt return (Mitch Wheelon kick)
U — Kaben Humphrey-Butler 6 run (Cowan kick)
U — Brody-Heim 26 pass from Humphrey-Butler (Wheelon kick)
BG — Kevin Haynes 1 run (kick blocked)
Rushing — Union: Brody-Heim 18-134, Anderson 7-41, Ryan Stanford 4-18, Taala Letioa 2-14, Gabe Rego 3-9, Humphrey-Butler 4-5, Cory Buendicho 1-4, Jon Reynolds 1-2. Battle Ground: Haynes 4-28, Tyler Bergeron 7-27, Trevor Ingram 9-26, Blake Billingsley 2-9, Ian Humphrey 5-(-16).
Passing — Union: Humphrey-Butler 8-16-0-169. Battle Ground: Humphrey 3-9-1-37.
Receiving — Union: Tanner Nelson 2-83, Brody-Heim 3-53, Anderson 1-15, Rego 1-14, Cowan 1-4. Battle Ground: Haynes 1-30, Bergeron 2-7.