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Thursday, December 7, 2023
Dec. 7, 2023

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Fort Vancouver wins first season-opening football game since 2005

Trappers lead wire-to-wire in 20-7 victory over Vashon Island on home field

By , Columbian staff writer
8 Photos
Fort Vancouver junior Denis Zayets runs ahead for extra yards against Vashon Island defenders on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, at Fort Vancouver High School.
Fort Vancouver junior Denis Zayets runs ahead for extra yards against Vashon Island defenders on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, at Fort Vancouver High School. (Will Denner/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

After winning their season opener for the first time since 2005, the Fort Vancouver football team had plenty of reasons to celebrate Saturday.

In the eyes of head coach Doug Bilodeau, the Trappers got a little too carried away at times.

He said as much while addressing the team after their 20-7 win over Vashon Island, referencing three unsportsmanlike penalties and a few other extracurriculars during an otherwise productive afternoon.

“There were a lot of things that happened today that I’m not happy with, but you know what, that’s just being young,” Bilodeau said in a postgame interview. “Once we figure that all out, we’ll clean that up and chip away at it.”

A good sign for the Trappers? Players agreed with their head coach, and took the words to heart.

“Mentality-wise, we need to step up,” Fort Vancouver junior Caleb Hyde said. “We’re getting too ahead of ourselves … we’re bragging, basically. We need to stop that as a team.”

Learning how to win is something the Trappers are still figuring out, but they have a fair share of recent experience to draw from.

Following a three-win season in 2022, the program’s best in more than a decade, grabbing a victory in week one was another proud moment for the Trappers.

Saturday also coincided with a with a pregame tailgate hosted on campus, followed by a mid-afternoon kickoff on the school’s turf field well attended by alumni, parents, students and other supporters of the program. The win was an added bonus.

“People didn’t think we were going to win a lot of games this year,” junior captain Kyler Smith said, “so we’re coming out with a chip on our shoulder.”

The Trappers led wire-to-wire against Vashon Island, starting with a score just four minutes into the opening quarter when Smith caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Caleb Hyde, one of two touchdown connections between the receiver and quarterback.

Junior Ayden Hyde added a 7-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter, which came after he grabbed an interception against Vashon Island’s William Weber to set up a short field.

The Trappers’ defense made arguably the biggest statement of the afternoon, holding Vashon Island scoreless until Weber scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown to open the fourth quarter. It was a credit to Fort’s front, including the likes of Micah Selvog, Nathan Nellis and Drelix Antonio, for routinely getting home against Vashon Island’s run-heavy attack.

“Ken Byers is doing a great job; he’s a first-year defensive coordinator,” Bilodeau said. ” … With the younger guys, we’ve got guys that are really dialed in and they’re working. You don’t have to motivate them.”

Fort graduated seven all-league seniors last year, and in turn, have called on its large class of juniors to do some heavy lifting, particularly at the skill positions. Smith caught a team-high four passes for 74 yards. Junior Denis Zayet led the Trappers with 90 rushing yards on 18 carries. Caleb Hyde started at quarterback and went 6-for-10 with 138 passing yards.

Caleb Hyde, along with brother Ayden Hyde, transferred to Fort Vancouver this year from Lacey’s River Ridge High School. Their grandfather, Terry Hyde, a Fort Vancouver alumnus, is also on the Trappers coaching staff.

“I love this team,” Ayden Hyde said. “I feel like it’s my family, for real. I love them with all my heart — and I want to see us go far.”

So after starting the 2023 season on a positive note, what comes next for the Trappers? A Labor Day practice on Monday afternoon to begin preparations for Hoquiam, their opponent in week two.

“Monday is always humbling,” Bilodeau said with a laugh.

After a 49-28 loss to Hoquiam last year, the Trappers are eager for another chance.

“We’re going to go into that game acting like we’re still 0-0 on the season,” Smith said.


VI 0 0 0 7—7

FV 7 6 7 0—20

First quarter

FV — Kyler Smith 27 pass from Caleb Hyde (Denis Zayets kick)

Second quarter

FV — Ayden Hyde 7 run (two-point conversion failed)

Third quarter

FV — Smith 28 pass from Caleb Hyde (Zayets kick)

Fourth quarter

VI — William Weber 3 run (Weber kick)

Individual statistics

RUSHING — Fort Vancouver: Denis Zayets 18-90, Caleb Hyde 11-34, Ayden Hyde 6-30, Kyle Sami 1-0.

PASSING — Fort Vancouver: Caleb Hyde 6-10-2-138.

RECEIVING — Fort Vancouver: Kyler Smith 4-74, Ayden Hyde 2-64.

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