The debate as to which is the 2A Greater St. Helens League’s top football team will be settled on the field.
Hockinson and Ridgefield, the league’s lone unbeaten teams, will face each other on Saturday after both shuffled their schedules.
With only five games in this spring’s schedule, each of the 2A GSHL’s eight teams will bypass two league opponents. Ridgefield and Hockinson were originally not set to face off.
But with the possibility of both teams going undefeated and each being huge favorites against their Week 4 opponents, the wheels started to turn.
Ridgefield (3-0) was originally supposed to face R.A. Long (0-3), while Hockinson (3-0) was to play Hudson’s Bay (0-3).
Now, R.A. Long and Hudson’s Bay will clash on Friday. Ridgefield and Hockinson will play at 1 p.m. Saturday at Battle Ground District Stadium.
“I’m glad all the athletic directors were able to work that out,” Hockinson coach Rick Steele said. “I think Hudson’s Bay-R.A. Long will be a better football game, and I think Hockinson-Ridgefield will be a better football game. In a year like this, you’ve got to do that.”
After beating Mark Morris 49-0 on Friday, Ridgefield’s players welcomed the chance to face Hockinson.
“I’m pumped,” said Ridgefield senior receiver Aidan Hundt. “If there’s any team to beat Hockinson, it’s this team right here.”
Hockinson hasn’t lost a 2A GSHL game since Sept. 16, 2016, when Woodland beat the Hawks 34-25. Hockinson won the 2A state championship in 2017 and 2018.
Ridgefield as outscored its first three opponents 139-0. The Spudders hope to prove this season’s success isn’t a fluke.
“People write us off and say we have an easy schedule,” said Ridgefield center Wyatt Bartroff. “When we play one of the top teams in our league, probably one of the top teams in the state, it helps us out a lot, showing that we’re here to stay.”
And the Hawks are also excited for the matchup.
“We’ve been hoping to get Ridgefield,” said Cody Wheeler, Hockinson’s junior linebacker/running back. “Then we heard we finally got them, we were all excited. That’s going to be the league championship on the line. It’s going to be a dogfight, but I think we’ll come out of it on top.”
Passer turned runner
Last week, Evergreen quarterback JJ Woodin beat Prairie with his passing, throwing for 339 yards and four touchdowns.
On Friday against Heritage, Woodin hurt the Timberwolves with his feet.
Woodin rushed for 45 yards on 13 carries, helping Evergreen move the chains in key situations.
“His mobility has really improved,” Evergreen coach Christian Swain said. “His ability now to take off has added another dimension. He extends drives because of that. And his mobility also is allowing receivers time to get open downfield.”