On further review: Fich-to-Hodzic combo works for Evergreen

QB throws 93 of his 169 passing yards to fellow senior

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Evergreen quarterback Triston Fich might have found his go-to receiver. The senior established a connection with Nadil Hodzic during Friday’s 12-7 win over Hudson’s Bay.

Six of Fich’s first nine passes went to Hodzic, including a 30-yard touchdown in the second quarter, his first TD pass of the season. At halftime, 77 of Fich’s 92 passing yards had gone to his fellow senior, who finished with 8 catches for 93 yards.

In Evergreen’s first two games, Fich was mostly a game-manager quarterback, completing a combined 13 passes for 169 yards. But his connection with Hodzic could allow Fich to emerge as an offensive weapon for the Plainsmen (2-1).

More air-quality issues

Heritage’s last-second game-location switch to Yakima wasn’t the only team affected by the ongoing air-quality this week.

On Friday, Columbia-White Salmon’s nonleague home game against Tenino was cancelled because of poor air-quality in the Gorge. No makeup game is scheduled, Bruins coach John Hallead said.

After injuries to seven starters in its Week 2 loss to Elma, Hallead is taking the glass-half-full approach looking ahead to nonleague game at Oregon 5A The Dalles.

“The positive is we can get fully healthy,” he said.

3-0 start for Panthers

Two teams headed in opposite directions squared off at Fishback Stadium, with host Washougal continuing its upward climb with a 17-0 victory over spiraling Columbia River.

The Panthers improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2013, while the Chieftains fell to 0-3 for the first time since 2009.

A year ago, when these teams met in West Vancouver, it was River on the rise with a 35-21 win that dropped Washougal to 0-3. Since then, though, the Panthers figured things out, going 4-1 in GSHL 2A play the rest of the way to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

“After that game, we had a string of games where we started playing solid but not spectacular football,” said Washougal coach Dave Hajek. “The thing about this group is that a lot of them have started since they were sophomores. Last year, we finished .500, made the playoffs, but we’re much better this year, and we have bigger aspirations.”

 

But a fast start doesn’t always ensure a strong finish.

“It’s great to win our first three games, but we have a ways to go still,” Hajek said. “The first thing we need to do is eliminate mistakes. Our offense tonight hurt us with penalties (11 for 87 yards), and our defense held us together. We need to clean that up.”

Big Beaver debut

Christian Yager season debut Friday was a big one.

The Woodland junior provided a spark as a starting receiver and safety in the Beavers’ 49-27 loss to Hockinson on Friday, coming up clutch in his three catches — two for touchdowns — for 62 yards. His 14-yard touchdown reception made it a one-possession game at 35-27 with 2 minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the third quarter. That proved, however, to be the final touchdown for Woodland, as Hockinson’s Canon Racanelli had two fourth-quarter rushing scores to help the Hawks pull away for good each teams’ 2A Greater St. Helens League opener.

Yager missed the first two games of the season not because of injury or illness; he didn’t have enough required practices after attending church camp in late August. Therefore, he was ineligible for Woodland’s first two games against Kalama and La Center.

Return of Cadiz

Hudson’s Bay may have lost to Evergreen on Friday, but there was some good news for the Eagles. Marcus Cadiz returned to action after missing the season’s first two games with a shoulder injury.

Last year, Cadiz was the team’s top playmaker. The All-Region running back averaged more than 6 yards per carry. At defensive back, he was also the Eagles’ field general on that side of the ball.

Friday, Cadiz was eased back into action. He had 11 carries for 32 yards and two catches for 19 yards.

“We tried to stay semi-balanced with him and not work him too hard,” Eagles coach Ray Lions said. “Based on what we’ve seen, after today he’s ready to go full speed.”

Thunder fuel

Never underestimate the power of good food and good company.

After Mountain View’s 55-22 win over Battle Ground on Friday, quarterback Glen Perry and receiver Jack Mertens both cited one key for the team’s success – the previous night’s team dinner.

What was on the menu?

“Spaghetti, just lots of good food,” Mertens said.

That fueled Perry, who threw for 316 yards and six touchdowns.

“The team dinner was great,” he said. “Credit goes to the families who put it on.”

Positives for Tigers

Battle Ground can take positives from its 55-22 loss to Mountain View on Friday.

Among them is the running game. Tyrel Halme, Trent Thompson, Brock Robinson and Seth Workman combined for 188 yards, averaging more than 4 yards per carry.

Coach Mike Kessler was especially pleased with his team’s opening drive, which saw the Tigers march 63 yards and score on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Workman to Noah Barr on fourth down.

“I was very impressed with our offensive line and our running game,” Kessler said. “We’ve got youngsters and some seniors as well, but all around we’ve had the young kids filling in. … You’ve just got to get that experience.”

Offensive woes for River

For Columbia River, its struggles begin and end on the offensive side of the ball. The Chieftains completed just six passes for 19 yards Friday night, turned the ball over four times and finished with only 129 yards of total offense and 10 first downs — three earned via penalty.

Coach Christian Swain said his team’s inexperience plays only a bit part in its offensive woes.

“We’re making a lot of rookie mistakes, but we’re also being careless with the ball, not executing, making bad decisions,” the second-year coach said. “I feel like we’re a better team than we’ve shown, that we’re not playing to our talent level.”

Swain also points to the fact it’s a long season, and that how you start doesn’t always equate to how you finish.

For the Chieftains, look at 2009, the last time they were 0-3. They finished that season in the 3A state playoffs.

“We’re a young team, and we’re trying to keep their confidence up,” Swain said. “When everything clicks for us, watch out. I just don’t know how long that’ll take, though.”