BATTLE GROUND — The game began with a helicopter flyover.
At the final whistle, it was Battle Ground’s spirits and confidence that were sky high.
The Tigers torched rival Prairie 42-7 in a non-league game at District Stadium on Friday.
It was a game Battle Ground’s players had waited a year for. Revenge had been on the Tigers’ minds since Prairie pasted them 42-14 in Week 3 of last year.
“It’s the best damn feeling in the world,” Battle Ground senior linebacker Cody Clarke said. “Nothing beats it. The Seahawks won the Super Bowl in 2012 and I felt pretty good about that. This is our Super Bowl tonight.”
After going 2-7 last year, Battle Ground has put teams on notice by opening the season with three dominant games. After shutouts of Mark Morris and Todd Beamer, the Tigers outgained Prairie 404 to 161.
How high is Battle Ground’s confidence?
“Higher than it has been in years, I’ll tell you that,” Clarke said.
Despite the lofty display before the game and elevated enthusiasm after it, Battle Ground’s dominance was all down the earth thanks to a hard-nosed rushing attack.
Jacob Champine rushed for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Jordan Young added 95 yards and one touchdown.
The Tigers racked up 342 rushing yards, averaging 7.6 yards per carry.
“The pulling guards, every time we pulled they were laying blocks out left and right,” Champine said. “Everything was open. It was all them.”
Battle Ground outgained Prairie 239-95 in the first half and led 19-7. That lead could have been larger if not for four turnovers, all in Prairie territory.
But the Tigers were flawless in the second half.
“Coach Frid (assistant coach Jonas Fridrickson) came in and yelled at us during halftime,” Clarke said. “We were able to clear out minds and pull it all together.”
After touchdown runs of 6 and 10 yards in the first half, Champine notched his third touchdown on a 3-yard carry on the second half’s opening drive. That came after he covered 38 yards in the prior three plays.
Angel Lopez quickly got the ball back to Battle Ground when he intercepted a pass at Prairie’s 34. Two plays later, Young broke free for a 29-yard touchdown to widen the lead to 33-7.
Battle Ground’s defense forced four turnovers and allowed just one big play, a 46-yard touchdown run by Pierson Lameh in the first quarter.
“It’s the trust in one other,” Clarke said about the defense. “Looking at the guy to the left of us and the guy to the right of us, knowing they’ve been putting in work time in and time out over the last year.”
BATTLE GROUND 42, PRAIRIE 7
Prairie 7 0 0 0—7
Battle Ground 12 7 17 6—42
BG — Jacob Champine 6 run (pass failed)
BG — Artyem Bahnyuk 3 run (pass failed)
P — Pierson Lameh 46 run (Braeden Slamp kick)
BG — Champine 10 run (Bryland Fick kick)
BG — Champine 3 run (Fick kick)
BG — Jordan Young 29 run (Fick kick)
BG — FG, Fick 36
BG — Saveliy Tkachenko 1 pass from Ethan Adams (kick blocked)
RUSHING — Prairie: Pierson Lameh 12-72, Samuel Alanis 2-4, Aiden Burke 2-6, Braeden Slamp 2-2, Taylor Gause 2-(minus-5), Preston Hill 1-3. BG: Jacob Champine 17-154, Ethan Adams 4-10, Artem Bahnyuk 4-31, Jordan Young 9-95, Cody Clarke 3-12, Dominick Rivas 8-40.
PASSING — Prairie: Braeden Slamp 7-20-2-83, Isaac Watson 0-1-0-0. BG: Ethan Adams 9-11-1-62.
RECEIVING — Prairie: Damon Clark 1-7, Alex Juhl 1-10, Aiden Burke 5-56. BG: Angel Lopez 2-10, Grayson Gambee 2-10, Jacob Champine 0-3, Saveliy Tkachenko 4-32, Tristan Harrier 1-7.