Columbia River wide receiver Clark Bryant wrote his storybook ending against Prairie.
Bryant, the active 6-foot-3, 180-pounder who plays three sports, had dreamt of making the big play to win a game. Hitting the game-winning jump shot or slamming the game-winning home run, Bryant has always wanted that moment. Now, he has it.
On Friday night, the score tied, Columbia River had the ball with only seconds remaining in the game when senior quarterback Clayton Frank hit the speedy Bryant for the 35-yard game-winning touchdown. Columbia River won 27-21, improving to 4-3 overall as victors on a senior night that featured Bryant with his five catches for 100 yards and two scores. The final grab, coming with only 12 seconds remaining, fulfilled a fantasy.
"I got my game-winning touchdown," Bryant said, still beaming. "Senior night. I'll always remember this for the rest of my life."
Other Chieftain seniors enjoyed memorable nights as well. Defensive back Jawara Pennington recovered a fumble while Remick Kawawaki strengthened the Columbia River backfield and rushed in for the team's first touchdown (a 10-yard bulldoze up the middle in the first quarter).
Also, senior lineman Justin Hazelton snared the first of four interceptions -- Prairie senior quarterback Jacob Austin finished with 18 carries for 80 yards but struggled while dropping back and sending the ball through flight.
Even so, Prairie stayed in the contest. With 3:46 remaining in the game, senior Nick Gawley scored on 4th and 2 to tie the score at 21-21.
The teams exchanged possessions before Columbia River took over for the final time with only 41 seconds to go until a possible overtime.
Frank completed a 16-yard pass to senior Terrell Bolton at Prairie's 35-yard-line. The Chieftains tried dumping a couple passes over the middle to no success, then Frank turned to his favorite weapon.
"The last play was a post to Clark Bryant, something we practice all the time," Frank explained. "They went man and we knew we could beat them with speed."
The confidence in knowing the play would work was a feeling that also swept through Bryant. The moment, Bryant said, he planted his foot, beat his defender and looked toward the spiral descending in his direction, he knew: "I was going to catch it."
"I knew I was going to catch it for the team," Bryant continued. "It's senior night. It's my last game ever I'm going to play on this field and when it was up in the air, I knew I was going to get it."
COLUMBIA RIVER 27, PRAIRIE 21
Columbia River 7 7 0 13--27
Prairie 6 0 8 7--21
P -- Jacob Austin 4 run (kick failed)
CR -- Remick Kawawaki 10 run (Zach Perron kick)
CR – Clark Bryant 31 pass from Clayton Frank (Perron kick)
P – Nick Gawley 2 run (Austin run)
CR – Jayson Branson 47 run (Perron kick)
P – Gawley 2 run (Max Riemer kick)
CR – Bryant 35 pass from Frank (Perron kick)
RUSHING -- Columbia River -- Frank 13-38, Kawawaki 9-35. Prairie -- Austin 18-80.
PASSING -- Columbia River -- Frank 12-21-1-132. Prairie -- Austin 7-17-4-44.
RECEIVING -- Columbia River -- Bryant 5-100.