Aberdeen’s first drive of the night showcased its power running game. Hockinson learned, adjusted and shut it down for the rest of the night.
In a must-win game for both the Bobcats and the Hawks, visiting Hockinson held off Aberdeen early, then dominated throughout on offense en route to a 36-7 Greater St. Helens League victory at Stewart Field on Friday night.
Aberdeen (1-3, 2-6), with the loss on Senior Night, was eliminated from district crossover postseason contention with Ridgefield’s 55-27 victory over R.A. Long added in. For Hockinson (2-2, 4-4), it controls its own postseason destiny entering next week’s contest against last-place Washougal at home.
“Offensively, it was mostly us; (Hockinson) played really hard and we didn’t,” AHS head coach Terry Dion said. “We had to mix personnel up and we had some missed assignments. We had no continuity. If we had executed well tonight, we would have driven the ball down the field. We shot ourselves in the foot and they played really hard. (Hockinson) played with a purpose to get into the playoffs and win this game.”
The Bobcats, accented in pink outlines to mark the night’s Pink Out festivities, ripped off a big 61-yard drive to open the contest. Driven by senior running back Bryceson Talley, Aberdeen rushed inside, with quarterback Veek Cheema executing the option runs to keep Hockinson honest.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, they stalled inside the Hawk 9-yard line on downs. It would represent the hosts’ lone big drive of the night until the final march late in the fourth quarter, a 75-yard drive that ended with Talley scoring from 2 yards out.
Under a powerful rainstorm, Hockinson executed its speed rushing attack, hitting the corners and edges for lots of yardage and momentum. One of those edge runs by running back Austen Johnson turned into the game’s opening touchdown, a 40-yard sprint, at 7-0.
Johnson’s run marked the first of three consecutive scoring drives for Hockinson. A 68-yard, 15-play drive, highlighted by two Jess Krahn pass completions in the rain, ended with Johnson bowling in from 1-yard out at 13-0 midway throughout the second quarter.
Nick Guinett ran in a short 2-yard touchdown run for a 19-0 Hockinson lead after Aberdeen muffed a punt snap at its 30-yard line.
Aberdeen did show flashes of big plays to keep the home fans going. Punter Justin Berkley had the one muffed punt snap, but ripped off two four-down scramble runs for first downs — one in each half. In the first half, Berkley escaped two rushing Hawks on fourth down and sprinted 14 yards for a first down. In the second half, Berkley evaded another group of Hockinson rushers for a 20-yard run and another first down.
Carter Harris also had one of two interceptions off Krahn, a late second-quarter pick that ended Hockinson’s last drive of the half. Berkley grabbed the other interception of Krahn to start the fourth quarter. Senior David Garcia registered a blocked point-after kick and a blocked field goal midway through the third quarter.
Hockinson greeted the end of the rainstorm in the second half by spreading the field four-wide in shotgun formation. Krahn nailed Guinett on a 43-yard seam route for a touchdown at 27-0. Krahn finished with 218 yards passing on 9-of-17 attempts, two interceptions and one touchdown.
The Hawks added a safety late in the third quarter when Jesse Tonkinson sacked Cheema in the end zone. Cheema was helped off the field and didn’t return due to a possible concussion. Quarterback Austin Kerrigan replaced him for the remainder of the contest.
Aberdeen was without two starters for the contest due to academic ineligibility.
The Bobcats travel to Ridgefield on Friday.