McKenzie Stadium blackout postpones River-Mountain View

After stadium lights go dark, teams will resume game today

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter

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Columbia River and Mountain View played lights-out football for a half on Friday at McKenzie Stadium.

Then a power outage brought the show to a halt with the Chieftains leading 21-20 at halftime.

The game will resume at 1 p.m. Saturday at McKenzie Stadium. There will be no charge for spectators.

The stakes are significant.

A Mountain View win would earn the Thunder second place in the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League and a home playoff game next weekend.

If Columbia River wins, Mountain View, River and Prairie will gather at 5 p.m. Monday at Kiggins Bowl to break a three-way tie for second place.

Both Mountain View coach Adam Mathieson and Columbia River coach John O’Rourke said they have never experienced a game suspended in its middle. The players’ safety, and uncertainty about how long the game might be delayed, led to the decision to postpone the contest, the coaches said.

On Friday, Mountain View’s Michael Rivers and Columbia River’s Dennis Henderson put on a first-half show.

Rivers had 202 yards of offense in the first half and scored all three Mountain View touchdowns, including runs of 62 and 46 yards less than a minute apart early in the second quarter to put the Thunder up 20-7.

Columbia River answered with quarterback Clayton Frank throwing to Henderson for a series of big plays. Henderson had eight catches for 131 yards, including touchdowns of 18 and 13 yards.

Frank completed 10 of 13 passes for 134 yards, and also ran for a team-leading 23 yards and a touchdown.

“The reality is, it was such a fun football game,” Mathieson said.

Despite losing a two-touchdown lead in the second quarter and failing to score on a late opportunity, Mathieson said his team seemed focused in the locker room before the lights went out.

“We felt like we had done some things positively in the first half,” Mathieson said.

The Thunder coach added that evenly-matched games often come down to turnovers.

In the first half on Friday, each team scored once after recovering a fumble by the opponent. Columbia River’s first touchdown came with the aid of a pass interference penalty for a key first down.

“In the second quarter we did really well offensively,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke said one key to the second quarter was adjusting to Mountain View’s speed. He said the long wait for the end of the first game of Friday’s double-header at McKenzie might have contributed to Columbia River’s slow start.

Both coaches said they doubt the delay will impact the momentum of the game, which swung back and forth during Friday’s first half. Mathieson and O’Rourke both said they are glad that the delay came at halftime instead of when one team was driving in the middle of a quarter.

The 15-hour halftime gives coaches extra time to study first-half video to make adjustments. O’Rourke said he doubts that will have a significant impact on in-game adjustments.

“The kids are as well prepared as they need to be,” O’Rourke said. “They just have to adjust to what is going on on the field.”

Mathiesen declined to comment about how Mountain View coaches will approach the extended halftime.