Black Hills LB Lucas Johnson recaps win over Columbia River
No. 4 Black Hills advances to 2A state playoffs, keeps undefeated streak alive with rout of Columbia River
By Dave Weber
November 03, 2018 12:26 AM
Kirk Stevens’ message to his Black Hills High School football team was simple after the Wolves thrashed visiting Columbia River, 45-7, on Friday night in a Class 2A district playoff game at Tumwater District Stadium.
“Everything you do from here on out is history,” he said.
Now, the fourth-ranked Wolves (10-0) believe they have done enough to host their first state playoff game, and hope the newly created seeding committee agrees when it meets Sunday at WIAA headquarters in Renton to determine the bracket.
“I don’t know how we couldn’t,” Stevens said. “Three of our nonleague opponents made postseason.”
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The Wolves are one of two 2A teams, along with top-ranked Hockinson, the defending 2A state champion, that remain undefeated after Week 10.
And they were on track both offensively and defensively against the Chieftains (5-5).
Sophomore quarterback Jaden Cote threw four touchdown passes on just 11 attempts. After completing 8 of 11 passes for 144 yards, he had more scoring throws than incompletions.
On a night when Black Hills’ offense ran 50 running plays, with Taylor Simmons gaining 144 yards on 13 carries and Preston Lee 111 yards on 18 carries, Cote and his receivers gave the Wolves big-play capability.
“We knew if we started out running right at them and got going downhill, they might not be able to handle it,” Stevens said.
Nonetheless, Cote twice threw touchdown passes to the player he replaced at quarterback, Ethan Loveless, because of Loveless’ injured elbow.
The first opened scoring on Black Hills’ first possession, and covered 42 yards. The second, from 66 yards away, came on the Wolves’ third offensive play after receiving the second half kickoff.
“It’s the way things worked out and the moment’s never been too big for Jaden,” Stevens said. “And Ethan’s always shown he could be a receiver. Even when he was a quarterback, he’d get in on the scout team in practice and make one-handed catches.”
Cote also threw touchdown passes to Josh Rodgers and Alex Nagy.
Another Wolves’ touchdown showed just how dominant the Black Hills offense can be.
After taking over on downs late in the second quarter, a bad snap forced Cote to reach down to recover the ball, but he still got a handoff to Simmons, who sprinted 69 yards for the score.
While Black Hills’ offense was alternating grinding out yards and striking dramatically through the air, its defense stifled the Chieftains at every turn.
A passing team, Columbia River ran just 13 running plays, and the Wolves turned seven of them into losses, allowing just 46 total yards on the ground.
“We owe a lot to Dave Claridge for our weight room program last summer and throughout the season,” said linebacker Lucas Johnson, who made several hard hits, one that cause a fumble, and intercepted a pass.
“All of us are so much bigger and so much stronger than we were last year. That’s why we hit so hard.”
The Chieftains had more success passing. Alternating senior quarterbacks Matt Asplund and Dawson Lieurance, Columbia River totaled 274 yards passing.
But the effect of those yards was negated by four Black Hills interceptions, three off Asplund — who finished 22 of 28 for 201 yards — and one off Lieurance.
Colton Schneider, Johnson, Ethan Loveless and Simmons each recorded a pick for the Wolves.
Stevens identified penalties as the one flaw marring the evening for Black Hills. The Wolves were penalized seven times for 55 yards, and the timing of the flags wasn’t always the best.
As the first half wound down, Black Hills parlayed an intentional grounding call with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to face a fourth-and-45 situation from their own 31.
As the fourth quarter got underway, the Wolves were flagged three times in a span of four snaps.
“We lost focus a couple of times. One was on the coaches. There was a sideline penalty that exacerbated a couple of penalties on the field,” Stevens said.
Columbia River scored its lone touchdown in the four quarter, long after the game was decided, on a 24-yard run by Jarrett Seelbinder.
NO. 4 BLACK HILLS
BH – Ethan Loveless 42 pass from Jaden Cote (kick failed)
BH – Taylor Simmons 1 run (pass failed)
BH – Josh Rodgers 14 pass from Cote (run failed)
BH – Simmons 69 run (Jake Bender kick)
BH – Ethan Loveless 66 pass from Cote (Bender kick)
BH – Alex Nagy 15 pass from Cote (pass failed)
CR – Jarrett Seelbinder 24 run (Cade Lujan kick)
BH – Joe Brown 15 run (Bender kick)
Passing: CR – Matthew Asplund 22-28-3-201; Dawson Lieurance 9-14-1-73. BH – Cote 8-11-0-159.
Rushing: CR – Lieurance 5-36; Seelbinder 2-24; Isaac Bibb-O’Neil 4-(-3); Asplund 2-(-5); Colby Rabitoy 2-(-6). BH – Simmons 13-144; Preston Lee 18-111; Zach Loveless 7-56; Payton Hoyt 6-27; Brown 3-24; Ryan Moloney 2-13; Cote 1-(-9).
Receiving: CR – Blake Bryan 8-82; Will Buss 7-59; Zane Wimberley 2-47; Kanen Eaton 5-29; Keith Blau 3-22; Austin Mcewen 2-20; Seelbinder 1-9; Rabitoy 3-4; Kaleb Kier 1-3. BH – Ethan Loveless 2-108; Nagy 2-20; Rodgers 1-14; Matt King 1-7; Lee 2-5.
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