Depleted Bearcats gut out win over Portland

HILLSBORO, Ore. — David Evans’ 63-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Walker with 5:10 remaining enabled the battered Grays Harbor Bearcats to edge the Portland Monarchs, 28-22, in a Pacific Football League game Saturday at Century High School in Hillsboro.

Evans, who passed for 334 yards in the final three quarters (statistics for the first quarter were unavailable), threw for all four Bearcat touchdowns. Walker caught two and Chris Jackson had the other two TD receptions.

Entering the contest at far short of full strength physically, the Bearcats (4-1, 5-1) suffered several other injuries Saturday. Ace running back Jeff Gates went down in the third quarter with a high ankle sprain.

The personnel shortages forced Grays Harbor to essentially play one-platoon football in the fourth quarter of a game contested in broiling heat. Jack Traxtle wound up playing four positions (defensive back, tailback, fullback and wide receiver) at various stages.

Even Bearcat co-owner Chris Raffelson, who had ostensibly retired as a player prior to the season, re-activated himself and wound up recovering a fumble and kicking a field goal and extra point.

“It was the most proud I’ve been of a team in a long time,” Grays Harbor coach Todd Hoiness said. “It was a great effort. I was literally yelling plays (from the sidelines), because we didn’t have anyone to send in there.”

The Monarchs tied the game at 22-all with a touchdown and a two-point conversion early in the fourth quarter. Evans responded with a deep throw to Walker, who took it the rest of the way for the winning touchdown.

Grays Harbor’s Joel Brown broke up a pass to end Portland’s final threat.

Evans hooked up with Jackson on scoring passes of 40 and 53 yards in the first half. The latter TD came with three seconds remaining prior to intermission.

Walker caught a 20-yard scoring toss from Evans in the third quarter.

Kevin Hoolihan, a newly signed receiver from the Olympia area, made an immediate impact with five receptions for 56 yards.

The Grays Harbor defense forced several turnovers, including two interceptions by Robby Lisle. Traxtle, Dan Brown and Chris Cook were among the other defenders credited with fine play.

The Bearcats, who won’t return home until June 1, remain on the road next Saturday to face league power Bellingham.