HOCKINSON — The Hockinson gameplan was simple: Establish the run early and everything else will fall into place. It was music to senior running back Cody Wheeler’s ears.
After amassing just 151 yards in his first four games, Wheeler ran for 131 yards and a score in a convincing 31-6 victory over Columbia River on Friday night.
Wheeler tallied 100 yards on the Hawks’ first two possessions, the second ending with a 5-yard touchdown run to give Hockinson a 9-0 first-quarter lead.
“It gives you a sense of swagger,” Wheeler said of the run-first gameplan.
The senior’s previous season-high was 89 yards on 15 carries in a 65-13 win over Woodland. He surpassed that in nine minutes of gametime Friday.
“When he starts running downhill, he’s as good a running back as Hockinson has ever had,” Hockinson coach Clint LeCount said. “He gets his pads low and he’s just so dang strong. It’s fun to watch.”
Wheeler was also instrumental as a middle linebacker for Hawks’ defense, which allowed just 18 rushing yards. Columbia River (3-3, 2-2 2A GSHL) quarterback Adam Watts was left scrambling all night, ending with 138 yards on 10 of 18 passing.
Jarod Oldham was 20 of 27 passing for 154 yards for Hockinson (3-2, 3-1). He threw first-half touchdown passes of 19 yards to Kenyon Johnson and 23 yards to Hale Prior. Northrup also ran for a 10-yard score.
Going nowhere — Hockinson forced a pair of three-and-outs on the Rapids’ first two possessions. They also recovered a fumble on a kickoff, limiting Columbia River to just two six offensive plays through the first 18 minutes of gameplay.
Powered by Watts — In one of just two Columbia River drives that lasted longer than four plays, Adam Watts orchestrated an eight-play, 70-yard second-quarter scoring drive to give the Rapids’ life. He connected on a 25-yard pass to Aden Flores to set up a 1-yard scoring run by Victor Flores, cutting the Hawks’ deficit to 17-6 in the second quarter.
Prior’s redemption — After fumbling at the Rapids’ 1-yard line earlier in the game, Hockinson receiver Hale Prior made up for it with a 23-yard touchdown catch from Jarod Oldham to end the first half. The junior quarterback scrambled around long enough for Prior to find an open space in the end zone and give the Hawks a 24-6 halftime lead.
Cody Wheeler — The senior running back ran for 131 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He also led a defense that allowed just 156 total yards.
Hockinson offensive line — The crew pushed their way forward to help the Hawks run for 208 yards.
“The last three weeks, we have challenged the offensive line,” LeCount said. “Each week they’ve progressed. They’re really starting to gel together.”
Andre Northrup ran for 40 yards on six carries, Oldham had 17 yards on four carries and Kenyon Johnson had 29 yards on two carries.
Adam Watts — In a gritty performance, Watts threw for 138 yards on 10-of-18 passing. He was a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster performance from the Rapids.
“Our coaches knew them inside and out. We knew what play they were going to run before they ran it.” — Hockinson senior running back/linebacker Cody Wheeler
HOCKINSON 31, COLUMBIA RIVER 6
Col. River 0 6 0 0 — 6
Hockinson 9 15 7 0 — 31
H — John Charles 35 FG
H — Cody Wheeler 5 run (run fail)
H — Kenyon Johnson 19 pass from Jarod Oldham (Andre Northrup run)
CR — Victor Flores 1 run (kick fail)
H — Hale Prior 23 pass from Oldham (Charles kick)
H — Northrup 10 run (Charles kick)
Rushing — CR: Adam Watts 11-(-3), Chris Parkin 1-(-4), Levi Hongel 1-(-4), Nicholas Ianello 2-5, Victor Flores 3-3, Aiden Miller 2-16, Lukas Otoupal 1-3, Kaden McDonald 1-2; H: Andre Northrup 6-40, Jarod Oldham 4-17, Austin Wilson 3-9, Cody Wheeler 19-131, Kenyon Johnson 2-29.
Passing — CR: Adam Watts 10-18-0-138; H: Jarod Oldham 20-27-0-154.
Receiving — CR: Thomas Blau 2-39, Jacobi Fobbs 1-8, Satchel Baskette 1-8, Chris Parkin 1-12, Reece Mickel 1-12, Aden Flores 1-25, Victor Flores 1-14, Kai Butcher-Nguyen 2-20; H: Andre Northrup 4-42, Carter Cameron 1-11, Hale Prior 5-49, Cody Wheeler 2-7, Kenyon Johnson 8-45.