CAMAS — The Hudson’s Bay football team is back in the postseason for the first time in 16 seasons, and the Eagles couldn’t stop celebrating.
“This is a good feeling,” senior Marco Cadiz said. “I can’t stop smiling.”
Bay (6-3) survived Monday’s three-way tiebreaker that featured Evergreen and Prairie to secure the 3A Greater St. Helens League’s No. 3 seed. It faces Bellevue (8-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Bellevue High School in the Week 10 state preliminary round, making its first postseason appearance since reaching the state playoffs in 2001.
The Eagles only faced Prairie on Monday, scoring on their opening possession, then won it on defense, intercepting quarterback Logan Reed on fourth down to seal a 6-3 win at Doc Harris Stadium.
Prairie knocked off Evergreen, 7-0, in the tiebreakers’ first series.
The tiebreaker was played in a modified format that gave teams two guaranteed possessions beginning at the 40-yard line.
After both Prairie and Evergreen each were scoreless on their first possessions, Aaron Brumley’s 5-yard touchdown run after an 18-yard catch on fourth-and-4 at the 23 led to the eventual go-ahead score for the Falcons. Evergreen was eliminated on the ensuing possession, failing to convert on fourth-down from the 25.
Monday was a mirror image of the scenario from 2016, when Evergreen, Hudson’s Bay and Prairie all finished tied for third, needing a three-way tiebreaker to determine the league’s final playoff spot. At 2-7, Evergreen escaped the tiebreaker last season, losing to eventual 3A state champion Kamiakin in the state preliminary round.
This time, it was Bay and Prairie for one spot after the Plainsmen’s elimination.
Quadrese Teague’s 11-yard touchdown reception capped a quick, three-play drive for a 6-0 lead. Prairie responded with Taylor Lawhead’s 35-yard field goal, and when Prairie’s defense forced a turnover on downs at the 37, it was Hudson’s Bay’s defense’s turn to go to work.
Prairie called two timeouts after Reed’s quarterback sneak on third down at the 40 for a 1-yard gain. The Falcons needed a first down in order to keep the drive alive, but Reed was hit as he threw, and the ball was intercepted by Vitaliy Taran.
The Eagles face a Bellevue program that became one of the state’s most recognizable, winners of 11 state titles and two runner-up finishes between 2001 and 2015 under then-head coach Butch Goncharoff, before sanctions were placed on the program when an investigation uncovered multiple WIAA rules violations. One of those sanctioned included a four-year postseason ban, later reduced to two years.
In September, the WIAA lifted the Wolverines’ two-year ban, making Bellevue eligible for postseason play in 2017.
Bring on Bellevue, Teague said.
“We’re not afraid of Bellevue,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who we’re going up against; we’re going to give it 100 percent.”