For one shining moment on a Homecoming Friday night, the Fort Vancouver football team had hope.
The Trappers had cut a 28-0 lead to 28-14 and had the ball back after an R.A. Long punt.
"I thought we could get back into the game," said Fort quarterback Jordan Suell. "We just had to keep scoring."
Instead, reality splashed cold water on the Trappers. The Lumberjacks forced a three-and-out and scored two quick touchdowns right before halftime to restore order, en route to an eventual 49-22 nonleague victory at Kiggins Bowl.
"We're taking small steps," said Suell, who threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another score, in Fort's 19th consecutive defeat. "It's going to take coming out as a team, running everything right, and we'll get it. We'll win some games."
First, the Trappers (0-4) need to find athletes who can stop the likes of R.A. Long junior Jacob Yordy, who had 227 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns – including an explosive 87-yard punt return for a touchdown that restored the Lumberjacks' four-touchdown advantage with 1:11 left until halftime.
"The pieces are there," said second-year Fort coach Eric Ollikainen. "We're close. The kids are starting to believe that. They're starting to play harder. We're excited to go into the rest of the season."
Suell's first touchdown pass, a 10-yarder to Taylor VanHeck, cut Fort's deficit to 28-6 with 8:27 left in the second quarter.
After the Trappers held on fourth down at midfield, Suell capped a seven-play with a 2-yard touchdown run with 5:09 to go before halftime.
But after an exchange of punts, R.A. Long needed only three plays to get back into the end zone on a 13-yard run by Yordy.
The Lumberjacks then forced a three-and-out, and after Yordy allowed the line-drive punt to get past him, he backtracked to the RAL 13, turned the corner down the left sideline and jetted untouched to the end zone.
Senior linebacker Manuel Posas led Fort with 11 tackles and a pass breakup, while senior end Aaron King had eight tackles, including four for loss.
R.A. LONG 49, FORT VANCOUVER 22
R.A. Long 14 28 7 0--49
Fort Vancouver 0 14 8 0--22
RAL -- Brady Hulings 17 pass from Ryan Peerboom (Raul Balbuena kick)
RAL -- Jose Hinojosa 11 pass from Peerboom (Balbuena kick)
RAL -- Jacob Yordy 23 run (Balbuena kick)
RAL -- Lamar Swagerty 18 pass from Peerboom (Balbuena kick)
FtV -- Taylor VanHeck 10 pass from Jordan Suell (kick failed)
FtV -- Suell 2 run (VanHeck pass from Suell)
RAL -- Yordy 16 run (Balbuena kick)
RAL -- Yordy 87 punt return (Balbuena kick)
RAL -- Austin Darnell 3 run (Balbuena kick)
FtV -- Deonte Hawkins 77 pass from Suell (Jaquan Thomas pass from VanHeck)
RUSHING -- R.A. Long -- Yordy 8-105, Jason Doane 9-73, Richard Clark 6-1, Will Tiegen 7-8, team 3-(minus 4), Darnell 1-3, Trey Trevino 1-15, Peerboom 1-2. Fort Vancouver -- Thomas 10-53, Suell 7-(minus 31), Hawkins 2-10, VanHeck 2-(minus 6), Edelmirno Flores 1-0, Jaylen Ross 1-(minus 3), Babacar Secka 1-(minus 11).
PASSING -- R.A. Long -- Peerboom 11-18-0-142, Trevino 2-3-0-38. Fort Vancouver -- Suell 15-33-2-280.
RECEIVING -- R.A. Long -- Hulings 4-60, Hinojosa 3-37, Swagerty 3-35, Austin Johnson 1-10, Austin Stone 1-30, Ryan Geier 1-8. Fort Vancouver -- VanHeck 7-117, Gaquan White 3-43, Will Doty 3-37, Hawkins 2-83.