As his players basked in the glow of the program’s biggest win of the years, Hudson’s Bay coach Mark Oliverio seemed to capture the status of the 2A Greater St. Helens League in 2023.
“This league is crazy,” Oliverio said. “This league is such a competitive league. Every team can beat every team, and it just depends on how they rise and play every night.”
That was fully on display last Friday. Hudson’s Bay rose up to knock off Ridgefield 28-24.
But as much as that win might have raised a few eyebrows, it’s nothing like what happened a few miles to the south where Columbia River beat Woodland 26-20.
Last week, Woodland scored a big win at Washougal, and was looking like a frontrunner in the league. Columbia River was battling injuries and coming off two losses in which the Rapids managed to score just three points total.
But on Friday, senior Ethan Long threw for 239 of 288 yards in the first half and all three of his touchdown passes to lead the Rapids to rebound for a big win.
In Longview, Holden Bea passed for 293 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for two more scores as Washougal routed Mark Morris 48-14.
On Thursday, Hockinson — a team that had been shutout in the first half of its first three games — scored 30 in the first half in a 30-22 win over R.A. Long.
The end result is the league had six teams tied for second place at 1-1. Alone at the top is Hudson’s Bay at 2-0 after its win at Ridgefield.
“This is huge win, probably the biggest in quite a while for this program,” Oliverio said.
Line leads the way
Oliverio said the key to Bay’s win over Ridgefield, and what will be the key for the Eagles going forward, was the play of the offensive line.
The Eagles responded Friday, opening the way for 183 rushing yards and winning the time of possession battle 28:52 to 19:08.
“We call them ‘The Fab Five,’ those guys up front,” Oliverio said. “They’re a special group. They’re really The Fab Six. It is a special, special group of kids, who worked so hard in the offseason. They worked so hard to close the strength gap, and put ourselves in a position to compete. I’m so proud of them.”
The Fab Five consists of seniors Timote Vaea and Michael Brinson and juniors Tai Telea, Jake Hildebrand and Jeremiah Moen. The sixth is senior tight end Noah David.
Senior running back Rafael Bauman, who leads the area in rushing, appreciates his linemen.
“They’ve been doing great all season, and they really stepped it up tonight,” Bauman said. “We really needed it. I’m just super proud of my guys. I really couldn’t do it without them.”
Feldman excels in new home
If the name Tru Feldman rings a bell, that’s because the junior is still playing Class 1A football … just at a new school.
Feldman, an all-league quarterback for La Center last season, is now at Seton Catholic. While he might be new to the Cougars’ program, he’s made a big impact on both sides of the ball on a team with just two seniors.
In Friday’s 59-0 shutout of Stevenson, Feldman started at linebacker. He also got time at quarterback, going 3 for 3 for 24 yards and 27 yards rushing in a backup role. He replaced starting quarterback Kolten Gesser once Seton’s lead reached 45-0 with 6:25 left in the third quarter Friday.
Seton is 4-0 for the first time in the young program’s history.
Contrast in styles
This week’s 3A Greater St. Helens League showdown between Evergreen and Mountain View will offer an interesting contrast in styles.
Mountain View’s offense, averaging 37 points per game, against an Evergreen defense giving up just 12 points on average through four weeks.
“I’ve been really impressed with the way they move the ball and score points,” Evergreen coach Christian Swain said Friday. “Our strength is clearly our defense, and their strength has been their offense, so it will be an interesting dynamic next week.”
Both teams are 3-1 after Mountain View posted a 37-31 win over Hanford and Evergreen lost 21-0 to Glacier Peak.
Last year’s meeting, a 20-14 Evergreen win was clinched on a late turnover forced by the Plainsmen defense. It set the stage for a competitive 3A GSHL slate. Kelso won the league title, while Evergreen, Mountain View and Prairie all finished tied for second place.
A catch at any position
A new role didn’t mean a change in impact for Prairie’s Braeden Slamp.
After starting the Falcons’ first three games at quarterback, Slamp moved to receiver for the Falcons’ clash with Union on Friday at District Stadium.
All Slamp did was catch two touchdown passes from new starting quarterback Isaac Watson, scoring from 3 yards and 7 yards.
Slamp finished with a game-high nine catches for 66 yards in a game Union won 27-13.
Though Prairie has started the season 0-4, the Falcons begin Class 3A Greater St. Helens League play this week against Kelso. In Slamp, they have a versatile player who keeps opponents on their toes.