BATTLE GROUND — Heritage stopped Battle Ground from inside the 1-yard line on the final two plays of the game Friday, coming away with a 12-7 victory at District Stadium.
But that likely won’t be the last that anybody hears about the finish to the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League game.
“I saw a touchdown is what I saw. The guy was lying in the end zone,” Battle Ground coach Larry Peck said. “They didn’t see it that way. The film will tell the story.”
The Timberwolves (2-5, 1-2), who had been allowing 46.3 points a game, twice stopped Kevin Haynes, the county’s leading rusher, to preserve the victory.
“I saw us stop him,” Heritage coach Jack Hathaway said. “Whether he’s short, I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. We won.”
But, in a way, the ending was appropriate for this defensive struggle.
Battle Ground (5-2, 1-2) took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter when Haynes ran a blocked field-goal attempt 70 yards for a score.
For a long time, it looked like those would be the only points the Tigers would need, as Heritage repeatedly drove into Battle Ground territory only to be doomed by penalties or turnovers.
The Timberwolves finally broke through with 9:36 to play in the fourth quarter, capping a 50-yard drive with a 2-yard run by quarterback Loren Standiford. A botched snap on the extra-point attempt left Battle Ground holding a 7-6 lead.
Moments later, an interception and a 28-yard return by Mitch Heng, followed by a face-mask penalty, gave Heritage the ball at the Battle Ground 14. Four plays later, Standiford scored on a 1-yard run for a 12-7 Timberwolves lead.
“We kept getting down in the red zone and couldn’t score,” Standiford said. “It was frustrating.
“The second half, we cleaned some things up. Our line did an excellent job blocking on both our scores.”
Following Heritage’s go-ahead touchdown, Battle Ground took over the ball at its own 43 with 4:37 remaining. A 26-yard run by Trevor Ingram took the Tigers to a first down at the Timberwolves’ 4-yard line, setting up the final dramatics.
Haynes, a 6-foot-1, 225-pound bucking bronco of a back, was stopped for no gain on first down. He ran for 3 yards to the 1 on second down, and then was stopped on third and fourth down.
“We had an 11-man blitz on,” said Hathaway, who praised the interior line play of Antonio Pulido and Noah Black.
For Heritage, it was a satisfying victory after several close, high-scoring losses.
“The weather didn’t help, but our defense stepped up,” Standiford said. “We’ve been working hard and coming up short, so we deserved this.”
HERITAGE 12, BATTLE GROUND 7
Heritage 0 0 0 12--12
Battle Ground 0 7 0 0-- 7
BG -- Kevin Haynes 70 ret. of blocked FG (Hayden Humphrey kick)
H -- Loren Standiford 2 run (botched snap)
H -- Standiford 1 run (pass failed)
RUSHING -- Heritage -- Jay Allen 20-67, Tim Hergert 5-38, Loren Standiford 10-9, Jacob Gardiner 3-3, E'Lon Mack 1-(-7); Battle Ground -- Kevin Haynes 25-114, Trevor Ingram 8-55, Blake Billingsley 1-4, Ian Humphrey 2-0.
PASSING -- Heritage -- Loren Standiford 6-16-2-166, Tim Hergert 0-1-0-0; Battle Ground -- Ian Humphrey 1-5-1-20.
RECEIVING -- Heritage -- Tim Hergert 2-103, E'Lon Mack 3-50, Jay Allen 1-13; Battle Ground -- Trevor Ingram 1-20.