BATTLE GROUND — The Hockinson Hawks had a streak of six consecutive 2A Greater St. Helens League titles on the line.
On Saturday, the Hawks defended it.
Hockinson turned Ridgefield away on three trips inside the Hawks’ 10-yard line, including a pivotal stop with 1:29 left to clinch the Hawks’ 14-7 league win.
“Our defense has been good all year,” Hockinson coach Rick Steele said. “Going into this game, everybody was talking about their defense not allowing a point all year. But we’ve only allowed 16 points in four games. So our defense is good. And it had to be today because that’s a good football team.”
That defense was on full display with 3:44 to play when a bad snap on a punt attempt gave the Spudders first-and-goal at the Hawks’ 5.
On second down, sophomore Tyler Litle broke free for a sack of Ridgefield quarterback Luke Price, one of six the Hawks recorded Saturday.
“Their guards pulled, so I had a free shot at the quarterback and I took it,” Litle said.
Litle has played most of this season with a big blue cast on his left hand after breaking his knuckles in the season opener.
“It’s hard to keep balance,” Litle said. “But I’ve just got to keep the fire in my belly and that helps me.”
Two plays later, senior Aidan Kerr helped seal the victory with another sack of Price with 1:29 to play, also paying a small price in the process.
“I was on the line and got past the tackle,” Kerr said. “The quarterback hesitated a little bit, so I came around wrapped him up. (Andrew Domingos) came from the other side, and we kind of pancaked him. I kind of messed up my back a little bit, but it’s all good.”
Daniel Thompson gave Hockinson an early 7-0 lead when he rushed 51 yards for a touchdown. Jarod Oldham’s 1-yard TD run gave the Hawks’ a 14-0 edge right before halftime.
Ridgefield’s defense also shined as the Spudders got interceptions from Ryan Jenkins, Sam Everett and Aidan Hundt. Hundt’s pick early in the fourth quarter set up Everett’s 4-yard touchdown for the Spudders.
But the Hawks’ defense did the rest from there.
“We brought a lot of pressure,” Litle said. “We blitzed a lot and we just kept the momentum we’ve been building all season. And it worked. We stayed hyped the whole game, and they just couldn’t do anything against us.”
All but one play in the fourth quarter was snapped on the Hawks’ side of the field. But the Spudders never scored.
“Our defense was just a brick wall today,” Steele said.
Saturday’s game was added to the Hawks’ schedule just last week. But if the Hawks take care of business next Friday against Washougal, the win over the Spudders will mean Hockinson won’t have to share its seventh consecutive league title.
“They came out saying that if any team in the league can beat Hockinson, it was them,” Kerr said of the Spudders. “So we just had to prove them wrong. Seven years in a row, it’s pretty nice.”
HOCKINSON 14, RIDGEFIELD 7
Hockinson 7 7 0 0—14
Ridgefield 0 0 0 7—7
H — Daniel Thompson 51 run (John Charles kick)
H — Jarod Oldham 1 run (Charles kick)
R — Sam Everett 4 run (Ty Snider kick)
RUSHING — Ridgefield: Everett 7-28, Luke Price 12-4, Matt Vance 3-3, Tanner Roberts 2-2. Hockinson: Thompson 8-79, Cody Wheeler 5-13, Makaio Juarez 4-2, Oldham 8-10, James Kruse 3-9, Enzo Oliverio 1-0.
PASSING — Ridgefield: Price 18-37-0-180. Hockinson: Oldham 16-29-3-119.
RECEIVING — Ridgefield: Aidan Hundt 3-10, Ty Snider 6-69, Isaiah Cowley 6-68, Ryan Jenkins 3-33. Hockinson: Andre Northrup 7-58, Thompson 4-27, Juarez 2-5, Kenyon Johnson 2-24, Wheeler 1-5.