ONALASKA — In the stead of their traditional Old Helmet rivalry game against Mossyrock the Loggers invited a bigger school from another state to their home field on Saturday for a non-league football affair. Aside from those peculiarities it was business as usual for the boys in purple as they utilized their smash mouth style to secure a 32-14 victory over Amity, Oregon.
Onalaska showed the visitors their true colors right out of the chute with a ground-and-pound running attack that covered about 70 yards in just under four minutes. Senior running back Ashton Haight finished the endeavor with a six-yard dive into the end zone and quarterback Lucas Kreger put a bow on the effort with a 2-point run around the end.
The Loggers had a taller task in their second possession when they started with the ball at their own five-yard line thanks to a pretty punt by the Braves. Kreger took the sting out of that field position when he got loose for an 82-yard jaunt off of an option read. Moments later it was Kreger again toting the rock, this time for a 3-yard touchdown plunge, and a short pass to Hazen Inman picked up the extra points.
With all the momentum Onalaska looked ready to roll over Amity in short order. However, that’s precisely when their offense went flat and the second quarter wound up disappearing in a scoreless flash. It wasn’t until the Loggers found their backs to the wall seven minutes into the second half that they again flashed the spark their coaches have come to expect.
“I think our lull really came when penalties started flying. We started making a lot of mental mistakes. I don’t think they made too many defensive changes,” observed Onalaska coach Mazen Saade.
Coming out of halftime the Braves were able to put together a sustained drive that seemed to be ripped right out of the Onalaska playbook. After an array of fruitful rushes Amity wound up with a first down at the Loggers’ 14-yard line and appeared primed to pull within one score at any moment.
The Loggers, though, had other plans and doubled down on their grit quotient in order to keep Amity off the scoreboard a little while longer. The penultimate play of the series came on 4th and 1 from the 5-yard line when the Braves ran a cross action running play that the Onalaska defense promptly squashed to force a turnover on downs.
Alex Frazier, a defensive end for the Loggers, was the first man in on the tackle and he said after the game that it was a point of pride to turn Amity away when they were so close to a score.
“We were thinking we kind of messed up big time but we all just stayed with each other and said, ‘Well, we’ve got to flush it and play now,’” said Frazier. “We had good stunts in the gaps and I was just able to bounce outside and there he was.”
A Logger fumble in their own territory on their ensuing drive set up the Braves first successful score of the day late in the third quarter. Then, it was a seam pass on 4th and 25 from Amity’s Keenan Graham to Josh Wart that queued up a 2-yard touchdown dive by Russel Brown with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter.
The Loggers then answered back in under a minute on the following possession with Haight packing the ball the final 20-plus yards with a stiff arm at the goal line for good measure. Kreger again kept the ball for a successful conversion run.
Following suit, Amity undertook a blitzkrieg offensive attack of their own. They tossed in a score from 40-yards out when Graham again found Wart in the seam to cap a 27-second scoring drive.
With most of the fourth quarter remaining and just two scores separating the teams Amity may have believed they were back in the game, if only for a moment or two. That’s because the Loggers replied in kind with a 40-second scoring drive that saw Kreger keep the option for a touchdown before tossing the rock to Inman for two more points that all but guaranteed the victory.
“I thought Lucas Kreger played very well on offense for us...and I thought Ashton (Haight) ran hard,” said Saade.
Haight finished the game with 174 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Kreger added 160 yards and two touchdowns on a dozen carries.
The Loggers coach also gave credit to Kayden Allison and Frazier on defense. However, he saved his most grateful praise for his defensive coordinator who assumed many of the primary coaching duties this week while Saade was intermittently stuck in the hospital for ongoing medical issues.
“I’ll tell you what, Wayne Nelson has done a helluva job all week long. I’m lucky to have a guy like Wayne,” Saade said. “The guy ran the show. The defense just responds and plays to what he does. It’s awesome. Our defense responded the way I knew they would.”
Frazier, who also plays offensive line, admitted that Amity had pounds and inches on the Loggers at nearly every position but insisted that the size difference did not play into their mindset or plan of attack for the day.
“Everyone knows we run the ball so we didn’t alter anything. We just said, ‘Hey, they may be bigger. They might be stronger. But let’s just run the ball. That (was) the game plan,’” said Frazier, who also managed to gather up a fumble recovery early in the contest.
The Logger lineman added that the circumstances of the game, against what would equate to a 1A team by Washington metrics, should pay dividends down the road.
“That’s a playoff game, on a Saturday, at 2 p.m. That’s exactly what we needed,” said Frazier.
Saade agreed with the assessment of his senior strong man, pointing out that Amity is a perennial playoff contender in Oregon with more than a handful of state championships to their credit. He noted that Amity wound up on the Loggers’ schedule after Mossyrock cancelled their first two games of the season due to a lack of eligible players.
“We knew (Amity) had a real good tradition,” said Saade. “I’m really proud of the way the kids played and this is a heckuva lot better than playing a team that wants to forfeit.”
Onalaska (2-0) will host Wahkiakum next Friday.
Titans Cruise Past Lions
CONCRETE — Max Smith scored four touchdowns to lead the Titans to a 46-12 win over Concrete in a non-league football game here on Saturday.
Smith carried the ball 12 times for 148 yards and four scores. Kollin Jurek added four carries for 47 yards and a score and also had a 50-yard punt return touchdown.
Logan Walker was 3-of-7 passing for 53 yards and an interception. Wyatt Bush caught one pass for 29 yards and Sam Western had one catch for 17 yards.
The Titans scored 27 points in the first quarter. Peter Hamilton scored on a 5-yard TD run followed by Jurek’s punt return score. Smith punched in runs of one and 13 yards for the 27-0 lead.
Jurek scored on a 26-yard run to begin the second quarter and Smith scored his third TD of the game on a 19-yard run. Concrete scored just before the half to end the shutout.
Smith scored PWV’s final touchdown of the game on a 7-yard run in the third quarter.
PWV held Concrete to 194 yards of total offense.
The Titans (1-1) host Raymond on Friday in Menlo for Willapa Valley’s homecoming.