The Battle Ground Tigers last won a 4A Greater St. Helens League game in 2016 against Union. They ended that drought Thursday, Oct. 12, again over Union, defeating the Titans 48-30 and improving to 7-0 on the season.
The Tigers defense was instrumental against the Titans as Battle Ground’s Artem Bahnyuk, Thomas Avery, Saveliy Tkachenko and Angel Lopez intercepted the ball. Bahnyuk also added a forced fumble that was recovered by the Tigers.
“That was a good Union team, you know. They wing the ball around,” Tigers head coach Mike Woodward said. “They’ve got their quarterback that was injured before — he came out and he was throwing some darts all over the place, and their receivers are super fast.”
Battle Ground’s sophomore field general Ethan Adams quarterbacked an 11-play drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Grayson Gambee in the third quarter that gave the Tigers a 34-17 advantage. That drive and touchdown made the difference as the Tigers held the Titans to 30 points.
Adams finished the game with 182 passing yards and two touchdowns, both to Gambee who had 121 receiving yards. Tigers senior running back Jacob Champine ran for 157 yards, two touchdowns and made a 42-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Saveliy Tkachenko in a trick play in the second quarter.
“Our kids are confident. We talked about this in pregame about how confident they are, and we didn’t want to add a bunch of pressure to us because it kind of felt like the winner of this game is most likely going to get in the playoffs with the way some things are shaping up,” Woodward said. “A little bit of a buzzkill at the end with a couple of late scores there, but needless to say, this is just an incredible feeling, and we love our kids to death.”
Woodward has impressed on his team the importance of practice, comparing them to the Super Bowl.
“These kids, I’ve coached teams that have been good but don’t have this approach to the game or this kind of energy, and these guys make it so much fun at practice,” Woodward said. “We’ve had one bad practice the entire fall during these seven games. These kids flat out hold each other accountable and get after it, and we just love them.”
The Tigers now face the 4A GSHL favorite, Skyview Storm, at 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20 at Kiggins Bowl in Vancouver.
“So, we got work to do, but it’s a positive thing,” Woodward said. “These kids won’t back down to it. They’re gonna step up and rise to the challenge, and it’s going to be fun on Friday night I think.”