Remick Kawawaki was in no mood to chit-chat.
“No offense, sir, but I’m tired of talking,” the Columbia River senior said after a 20-6 non-league loss to Mark Morris on Friday night at River Stadium. “We’re going to come back tomorrow and work harder. We’re going to start winning.”
Kawawaki’s frustration stemmed from a second straight week in which the Chieftains offense struggled following an injury to senior quarterback Clayton Frank.
Frank suffered a concussion in last week’s 42-0 loss to Skyview, and on Tuesday his teammates learned that Frank would have to sit out this week’s game against a perennial 2A power.
“His experience and leadership were really missed,” said Chieftains coach John O’Rourke of Frank, who had started 20 straight games before Friday night. “Our other kids, Jonathan (Branson) and Gabe (Evenson), did the best they could. We just put them in some bad positions.”
That’s because the Chieftains defense did yeoman work trying to slow Mark Morris’ wing-T attack, twice stymying the Monarchs in the red zone to keep the game close.
But that left Columbia River with long fields to try to produce points, and without Frank’s dual-threat presence, Mark Morris could load up against Columbia River’s running game.
The Monarchs held Kawawaki to just 41 yards on 10 carries, and CR (1-2) gained just 45 yards on the ground.
“We really couldn’t get anything consistent going on offense,” O’Rourke said.
Branson, a junior who quarterbacked the JV on Monday night against Skyview, had his moments under the Friday night lights. He led a first-half drive to the Monarchs 9-yard line before it stalled, and Mark Morris came back with a 16-play march that ate up over 7½ minutes and ended with Austin Johnson’s 2-yard touchdown run.
O’Rourke then switched to Evenson under center, and Johnson picked off a third-down pass to set up the Monarchs’ second touchdown just before halftime.
Branson came back in the second half and eventually led Columbia River on its only scoring drive, answering Johnson’s second TD run of the night with a seven-play drive that took only 81 seconds and ended with a 1-yard Branson sneak with 9:54 to play.
But Mark Morris chewed more than eight minutes off the clock on its next drive, which resulted in no points but also left virtually no time for the Chieftains to mount a final rally.
“We needed to execute better all the way around tonight,” O’Rourke said. “They hurt us with the fly sweep and the trap in some tough situations.”
Branson finished 12-of-19 passing for 99 yards. Kawawaki led CR with 12 tackles, while David Snuffin and Dillon Willis had eight apiece.
Mark Morris 0 13 0 7 — 20
Columbia River 0 0 0 6 — 6
MM — Austin Johnson 2 run (kick blocked)
MM — AJ Golden 39 pass from Hayden Tilton (Riley Johnston kick)
MM — Johnson 12 run (Johnston kick)
CR — Jonathan Branson 1 run (kick failed)
RUSHING — Mark Morris: Keigan Baker 18-151, Ryan Littlefield 12-40, Johnson 7-24, Austin Smith 6-31, Brady Rukkila 3-10, H.Tilton 2-(minus 8), Hayden Tapani 1-1, team 6-(minus 5). Columbia River: Remick Kawawaki 10-41, Jo.Branson 8-7, Gabe Evenson 2-4, Jayson Branson 2-0, Nathan Hawthorne 1-(minus 7).
PASSING — Mark Morris: H.Tilton 3-6-1-71, Max Tilton 2-2-0-17. Columbia River: Jo.Branson 12-19-0-99, Evenson 0-2-1-0.
RECEIVING — Mark Morris: Golden 1-39, Rukkila 1-19, Smith 1-13, Seth Huhta 1-12, Johnson 1-5. Columbia River: Terrell Bolton 3-26, Hawthorne 2-49, Dante Coleman 2-12, Jawara Pennington 2-(minus 1), Clark Byant 1-3, Trey Walker 1-5, Marcus Gaylor 1-5.