BATTLE GROUND — Battle Ground’s performance in the league opener was a team effort, but it was a two-man show that gave the Tigers an early spark.
Colston Vukanovich completed each of first seven passes to Hayden Humphrey, including three for touchdowns, leading Battle Ground to a 48-15 victory over Evergreen in a Class 4A Greater St. Helens League contest Friday.
“We’ve got that connection,” said Humphrey, who finished with nine catches for 144 yards. “They were playing back on me, so we just hit their weakness.”
Vukanovich was happy to see his favorite target open.
“They were leaving him open,” the senior quarterback said. “I know (Humphrey) is a play maker, so I just tried to get him the ball when I could.”
Humphrey had two 21-yard touchdown receptions to give Battle Ground 14-0 lead with 4:09 left in the first quarter.
After Evergreen closed with 14-7, a 15-yard pass from Vukanovich to Humphrey made it 20-7 with 7:55 in the second quarter.
From there, the defense made sure there would be no comebacks, which have stung the Tigers early in the season.
The Tigers intercepted four passes — by four different players — and recovered a fumble. Evergreen finished with 279 yards of offense. But 122 yards came on two second-half plays after the Tigers had built a 34-7 halftime lead.
“In the first two games, if you had seen us play, we gave up some big plays,” Battle Ground Larry Peck said. “Two or three here and there and some kickoffs, which we fixed. It’s just executing. Kids are executing better, correcting their mistakes. That’s good stuff, good to see.”
In past seasons, Battle Ground got off to good starts, then watched their seasons turn south. This year, the Tigers opened 0-2, but now have strung together three impressive wins in a row.
“We’re just revving it up now,” Humphrey said. “In practice, we’re working harder, conditioning hard. I want this season to be big. Our practices are brutal. We’re going hard every day.”
Vukanovich completed 14 of 19 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns.
“We didn’t want to back off,” Vukanovich said. “We talked about finishing hard, every game, every play. We’ve got some tough games ahead of us — Camas, Union — and this will give us a big boost of confidence.
BATTLE GROUND 48, EVERGREEN 15
Evergreen 0 7 0 8–15
B.Ground 14 20 14 0–48
BG — Hayden Humphrey 21 pass from Colston Vukanovich (Humphrey kick)
BG — Humphrey 21 pass from Vukanovich (Humphrey kick)
Eve — Rey Green 18 pass from Brandon Bea (Connor Finnegan kick)
BG — Humphrey 15 pass from Vukanovich (kick failed)
BG — Justin Smalley 1 run (Humphrey kick)
BG — Parker Randle 40 pass from Vukaonvich (Humphrey kick)
BG — Taylor Lollar 1 run (Humphrey kick)
BG — Smalley 5 run (Humphrey kick)
Eve — Green 2 run (Justin Straup run)
RUSHING — Evergreen: Justice Murphy 3-65, Green 12-36, Straup 10-29, Robert Akil 3-7, Brody Bagnall 1-(-8), Bea 1-(-11). Battle Ground: Smalley 23-79, Lollar 6-43, Josh Lemar 2-10, Vukanovich 2(-7).
PASSING — Evergreen: Bea 8-26-4-161. Battle Ground: Vukanovich 14-19-1-245.
RECEIVING — Evergreen: Straup 3-92, Murphy 1-21, Green 1-18, Kobey Eaton 1-14, Jordan Moore 1-13, Brady Weir 1-3. Battle Ground: Humphrey 9-144, Randle 1-40, Colby Cahoon 1-30, Kaiden Grotte 2-17, Lemar 1-14.