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Thursday, February 29, 2024
Feb. 29, 2024

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Hudson’s Bay bounces back with 21-18 win over Hockinson, closes in on 2A playoff berth

Eagles snap two-game 2A GSHL losing skid, grab sixth win for most since 2017

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Two deflating losses in the middle of a grueling 2A Greater St. Helens League football schedule had the Hudson’s Bay Eagles feeling down, but not out.

The Eagles put themselves in an advantageous position by starting the season 5-0, though after back-to-back losses to Washougal and Woodland, their fortunes were beginning to fade.

Yet with a renewed sense of urgency Thursday against Hockinson, the Eagles revived their season.

Bay snapped a two-game losing skid with a 21-18 win over Hockinson at Kiggins Bowl, posting its sixth win of the season for the most victories in the program since 2017. Now, the Eagles (6-2, 4-2 2A GSHL) control their own destiny in clinching a playoff berth heading into a Week 9 game against district-rival Columbia River.

“I felt like we really knew that this was a must-win game if we wanted to go to playoffs,” senior Rafael Bauman said. “Everybody stepped it up and realized that we had to get the job done.”

Dealing with those recent losses came as somewhat of a shock to the Eagles, head coach Mark Oliverio said. At the urging of coaches, the team held a players-only meeting earlier this week to get on the same page. Ultimately, the gathering was productive.

“Our momentum has been down,” senior Talan Leon Guerrero said. “This week, I feel like (our) leaders stepped up a lot during practice. The momentum changed, and that’s how we got this win.”

To get back to their winning ways, the Eagles used a familiar formula: running the ball and playing stout defense.

Bay held a 14-0 lead at halftime after Rafael Bauman took the Eagles’ first play from scrimmage for a 50-yard rushing touchdown, and Aqeel Bauman added 17-yard rushing touchdown near the end of the first quarter.

The Eagles defense spent long stretches on the field against Hockinson’s fast-paced offense, but consistently halted the Hawks’ momentum by stopping six of their seven fourth-down attempts, including four in the first half.

Defensive contributions came from all over the field. Colin Laudert, Andres Vazques, Jeremiah Moen and August Degagne each had one sack.

Leon Guerrero, who returned to the Eagles after missing last week’s game at Woodland with an injury, had a tackle for loss and made a couple big hits from his post at linebacker.

The secondary, led by the likes of Rafael Bauman, Neistche Labossiere, Jay Peppler, Landon Kemper and Kendall Vaughan, were stingy in pass coverage throughout.

“We have a very strong defense at all positions,” Rafael Bauman said. “I feel like we complement each other really well and have great defensive coaches.”

After Hockinson (3-5, 3-3) broke its scoring drought with a 40-yard Carter Cameron touchdown reception from Aiden Donowitz in the third quarter, the Eagles responded with a quick five-play, 65-yard drive highlighted by an Aqeel Bauman 30-yard run. Senior quarterback Will Clark finished off the drive with a 4-yard rushing touchdown.

The Hawks had a chance to cut the deficit to seven points when Cameron caught a 6-yard touchdown from Donowitz with 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The Eagles’ defense forced an incompletion on the two-point conversion, effectively sealing a monumental win for the program.

“We kind of went on a little bit of a slide,” Oliverio said, “but the reality is, these guys know who they are. They’re all good kids of character. They dug deep this week, they were focused and they knew that this was something they had to get done. They rose to the challenge and they took care of business.”

The Eagles are one step closer to their first playoff berth since 2017, and they’ll face their rival, River, in next Friday’s regular season finale.

“We’re already excited for that, we’re already ready for that,” Leon Guerrero said.

HUDSON’S BAY 21, HOCKINSON 18

Hockinson 0 0 6 12—18

Hudson’s Bay 14 0 7 0—21

First quarter

HB — Rafael Bauman 50 run (Joey Roeper kick)

HB — Aqeel Bauman 17 run (Roeper kick)

Third quarter

H — Carter Cameron 40 pass from Aiden Donowitz (kick blocked)

HB — Will Clark 4 run (Roeper kick)

Fourth quarter

H — Cameron 6 pass from Donowitz (two-point conversion pass failed)

H — Gage Prepula 16 lateral (game ended)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Hockinson: Xavier Maitland 7-13, Carter Cameron 1-6, Shey Yarbrough 1-0, Andon Stenersen 6-(minus 17), Aiden Donowitz 4-30; Hudson’s Bay: Rafael Bauman 13-124, Aqeel Bauman 11-112, Michael Miller 2-(minus 4), Jay Peppler 1-4, Will Clark 1-4, Talan Leon Guerrero 2-14, Malukai Hodges 2-9, Team 1-(minus 9).

PASSING — Hockinson: Stenersen 5-15-0-90, Donowitz 19-33-0-178; Hudson’s Bay: Miller 1-6-2-6.

RECEIVING — Hockinson: Cameron 6-117, Brody Bonife 2-18, Ryder Stenersen 3-34, Kasen Niemitalo 3-23, Maitland 6-42, Yarbrough 1-12, Gage Prepula 3-41; Hudson’s Bay: Noah David 1-6.

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