Battle Ground football beat Lakes High School of Lakewood 23-0 on Friday, Oct. 6 in a defensive performance enroute to being 6-0 on the season.
Last season, the Lancers routed the Tigers 52-7. In what has been a revenge season for Battle Ground, the Tigers’ defense barely allowed Lakes to move the ball.
“I said before the game, ‘How many of you kids were at the game last year?’ You know, 90% of them raised their hands,” Tigers head coach Mike Woodward said. “We had guys that couldn’t finish. We were banged up. I don’t know if I’ve ever took a tail whoopin’ like that in my life. But the fact that these guys stepped up and played the way they did … It says so much about their character, but then we said the difference is our weight room. We just flat out get after it.”
With both sides playing strong defense, it was the Tigers special teams that prevailed.
The Tigers took advantage of a Lancer opening kickoff mishap when senior running back Jacob Champine got off to an early 7-0 lead.
With Champine rushing for almost 90 yards in the game, the Lancers defense left themselves in good position holding the Tigers to fourth downs.
Sophomore Bryland Fick used those fourth downs to show off his leg, however. The sophomore kicker notched a 35-yard field goal to go up 10-0 at half time, then a 41-yard field goal in the third quarter, followed by a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
“[Fick is] just a total stud. He’s one of the most stoic kids,” Woodward said of his sophomore kicker. “He’s got the same face on Christmas that he does in a three-hour practice with five minutes left … He’s just as stoic as they come. We love him, trust him wholeheartedly and he’s just a big-time clutch player.”
In the fourth quarter, a punt by senior Noah Currie was spotted at the 15-yard line, giving the Lancers a long field down by two scores. Champine intercepted the ball and returned it to the 1-yard line where, for good measure, he extended the lead on offense with another touchdown run.
After the shutdown of a pass-attack team to improve to 6-0 on the season, Woodward had some high praise for his Tigers.
“An unbelievable defense, absolutely incredible defense, to shut out a team like that with that many explosive weapons, it’s just incredible,” Woodward said. “I can’t even explain it. I mean, that’s just a phenomenal team. One of the best teams I’ve ever coached in my life. I just absolutely love them.”
With the Tigers beating every expectation through the first six weeks, the test that is league play in the 4A Greater St. Helens League starts right up with the Tigers facing Union High School at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12 at Mckenzie Stadium in Vancouver.
Last season the Tigers lost 49-25 against the Union Titans. This year is leaning in the Tigers favor as the Titans sit at 2-4 on the season, but the Titans do come off of a 30-13 win against Stanwood High School.
“There’s been a big playoff drought. There’s been a couple little nibbles here and there in the past,” Woodward said of the Tigers’ past. “But we’re taking it one game at a time. We’ve said all along that we’re getting there, and now we’re going to see if it’s real or not.”