Prep football notebook: Defense gets credit, too

Understandably, much of the of the attention directed toward Hoquiam’s unbeaten football team this season has focused on the Grizzlies’ explosive offense.

In Friday’s 54-7 rout of Rochester, the HHS defense also performed exceptionally.

Cody Parker intercepted a pass on the game’s first scrimmage play to set up Evan Erickson’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Cole Smith.

Tyler Yarber ran 35 yards for a first down on Rochester’s second play from scrimmage. For the remainder of the half, the Warriors netted a negative 15 yards of total offense. The Grizzlies made nine tackles for losses in the first half.

Alex Munoz continued his outstanding defensive play for the Grizzlies, while Ronnie Espedal, Devin Kelly, Drew Bravos and Jaycob Guned also had strong defensive outings.

As for Hoquiam’s big-play offense, the Grizzlies had no scoring drives longer than six plays. Their scoring possessions were one, three, six, six, three, four, one and four plays.

The Grizzlies, incidentally, have an unusual schedule this year that requires them to play outside of Grays Harbor County only once.

That will be at Rainier on Oct. 12. Hoquiam has already completed two of its “road trips,” to Aberdeen and Montesano. The Grizzlies journey to Elma on Oct. 5.

Aberdeen-Black Hills

One week after staying close enough with Centralia to muster a game-winning rally, Aberdeen was handed a bucket full of prosperity in the first half of its contest with Black Hills.

In the first half, the Bobcats drove effectively on the Wolves into the red zone. However, just one of those three drives mustered points — AHS quarterback Veek Cheema’s 6-yard touchdown run on an option keeper midway through the second quarter. The extra-point kick was missed and, with time winding down, the Bobcats were clinging to a 6-0 lead.

Overall, Aberdeen’s offense ventured into Black Hills’ red zone five times. This is progress for the young Bobcats, but not taking advantage of chances hurt. The Wolves’ Shayne Robinson executed the fly sweep to perfection for an 81-yard touchdown run with 1:01 left in the first half and the hosts took a 7-6 lead into halftime.

To use a soccer/futból phrase, Black Hills took the lead against the run of play.

For the second-half kickoff, Black Hills received the ball again after a miscue by the Bobcats with the pre-game coin flip. Aberdeen won the toss and wanted to defer its decision to the second half. However, there was a mixup between the Bobcat captains and the officials and Aberdeen wound up kicking off to start both halves.

According to AHS assistant coach Joe Fagerstedt, the captain told the official that Aberdeen wanted to play defense and, after a discussion, mistakenly said that they’d kick. If the captain said that they’d defer, it would have given the choice of the opening kickoff to Black Hills and Aberdeen would have had the choice after halftime.

Thus, Aberdeen’s first-half choice was to kick. Black Hills’ choice after halftime was to receive the ball. And, the Bobcats kicked off twice. This led to the Wolves’ Jesse Perkinson to return the second-half kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown and a 13-6 lead. Black Hills never looked back after that.

Adna-South Bend

For those who care about such things, Adna’s 38-0 win featured the equaling of an all-time record for fewest incomplete passes (0). The Pirates completed their only pass they attempted. The Indians called a pass play, but their quarterback was sacked.

Around Southwest Washington

Tenino 28, Forks 12 — If you like offense, then get out to your local football stadium and watch an Evergreen 1A contest. The Beavers, just like Hoquiam, Elma and Montesano, have been lighting up the scoreboard this season. On the road in Forks, Mac Shaw threw for 233 yards and all 14 of his completions were hauled in by Devante Harris. Elma has already seen these two connect from the air, while Hoquiam and Montesano will get the Beavers in the final weeks of the season. … LaCenter 28, Castle Rock 3 — The Rockets will greet Hoquiam at home next Friday, but are pouring over game film after Friday night’s loss at La Center. The Wildcats’ defense took the ignition button away from the Rockets and held them to just 185 yards of offense. … Mark Morris 28, Prairie 7 — Aberdeen’s first venture into the Greater St. Helens 2A League will begin with a trip down to Longview to face the Monarchs of Mark Morris. Against Prairie, Mark Morris’ Keigan Baker, Austin Johnson and Ryan Littlefield each registered first-half rushing touchdowns to put the game away against the Class 3A Falcons.

Reports from The Olympian, Daily News of Longview and The Columbian were included in this article.