BATTLE GROUND — It was a win three years in the making for the Battle Ground football team.
Kevin Haynes rushed for 161 yards — 160 in the second half — and scored three touchdowns to lead the Tigers to a 41-21 win Friday over rival Prairie.
"I had never beaten Prairie in my career," Haynes said. "I lost to them when I was a freshman, and we lost to them my last two years on varsity. ... When we fell behind we wanted to show them that we were not the old Battle Ground. We were not going to fold."
Haynes got Battle Ground going early, picking off a pass and returning 82 yards for the game's first touchdown. Battle Ground forced turnovers on Prairie's first three possessions to take a 14-0 lead.
"All week, we thought Prairie was going to be easy," Haynes said. "We underestimated them. But they're a great team. Once we got up on them, we thought it was over and kind of let up on the throttle."
That's when the Falcons put their foot on the gas.
Quarterback Jacob Austin led Prairie's ground attack in the first half, rushing for 89 yards and helping the Falcons tie the game 14-14 at halftime.
After Prairie got two early turnovers in the second half, Austin helped give the Falcons a 21-14 lead on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Nick Gawley.
"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot there a couple of times," Battle Ground coach Larry Peck. "A couple of ghosts showed up again. But we were able to put those ghosts back in the ground."
Battle Ground did that on the ground.
Prairie focused its defense on stopping Haynes, which they did in the first half by limiting him to one yard on three carries. The Tigers instead went airborne with quarterback Ian Humphrey passing for 104 yards in the first half.
But the Tigers made some blocking adjustments at halftime to open more room for Haynes, and the senior running back plowed through them, breaking off consecutive runs of 7, 55, 15, 11 and 18 to put Battle Ground back on top, 28-21.
"At halftime, the atmosphere was just 'let's all come together. We're all one,' " senior Trevor Ingram said. "The lineman did their job, the wide receivers did a great job blocking on the edges, and Kevin Haynes did the rest. He's just a man."
It led to a win the Tigers have been waiting a long time for, and they hope it will to more victories.
"For us seniors — Haynes, Ian Humphrey, me and all the others — this win means the world to us," Ingram said. "We've never beaten Prairie. And now that we have, I can't describe it."
BATTLE GROUND 41, PRAIRIE 21
B. Ground 14 0 14 13--41
Prairie 0 14 7 0--21
BG -- Kevin Haynes 82 interception return (Cole Hess kick)
BG -- Jake Sachen 7 pass from Ian Humphrey (Hess kick)
P -- Tyler Duncan 3 run (Max Riemer kick)
P -- Jacob Austin 9 run (Riemer kick)
P -- Nick Gawley 21 pass from Austin (Riemer kick)
BG -- Haynes 55 run (kick failed)
BG -- Haynes 11 run (Sachen reception from Humphrey)
BG -- Blake Billingsley 3 run (Hess kick)
BG -- Trevor Ingram 6 run (kick failed)
RUSHING -- Battle Ground -- Haynes 18-161, Ingram 9-43, Billingsley 4-17, Humphrey 3-4, Brandon Paprska 1-0. Prairie -- Austin 14-86, Duncan 9-39, Gawley 7-28, Justin Pena 9-30
PASSING -- Battle Ground -- Humphrey 10-16-1-109. Prairie -- Austin 5-12-3-49.
RECEIVING -- Battle Ground -- Ingram 3-38, Haynes 3-23, Sachen 2-24, Manny Martinez 1-14, Hayden Humphrey 1-9. Prairie -- Gawley 3-34, Mario Gonzalez 1-8, Jason Bracken 1-7.