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Warrenton gives Knappa a hard-fought win

Ethan Green tackles Knappa's Eli Takalo. (Bruce Dustin)
By Bruce Dustin, Thursday, October 3, 2019

Last Friday’s home game against Knappa appeared to be an amicable match initially.

There was a large contingent of spectators for the visitors. And it almost seemed a homecoming for host Warrenton.

To ascertain the level of rancor between the two teams, one should know that the Warriors have lost to the Loggers the last five times in a row. The before-game camaraderie may well have been an illusion.

There was an air or unease on the field and in the stands. You could read between the lines, notice it in the eye contact and see it in the expectant glances.

The game opened with a strong Knappa offense as they scored in only three plays. When Knappa turned the PAT for two, the sidelines to the north -- the Logger side -- erupted. Warrenton turned the ball over after four quick downs.

But Knappa quickly scored again. Again, they made the two-point conversion to go up 16-0.

You could feel a sense of hopelessness in the air, in the grass, invading the Warrior side. Was this going to be a repeat of last year? By how many points would the Loggers win?

When there were seven minutes left on the first-quarter clock, the Warriors were waiting to return the kick. Hordie Bodden Bodden was deep in Logger territory, waiting, anticipating.

The ball arched high, deeply defying the darkness. He caught the ball on the Logger four yard line and ran, dodging and diving, through, around, and into the Warrior end zone, scoring with a 96-yard touchdown with a whole six minutes left on the first-quarter clock.

Can you hear the Warrior crowd yelling?

OK, so they missed their points after, but the score was now a respectable 16-6. They were trying to double dip, too. Maybe they shouldn’t have taken the ball away from Kenzie Ramsey’s foot.

Fast forward to second quarter. With a little over six minutes on the first-half clock, the ball was back in Warrior hands, at the Warrior’s foot, and Kenzie kicked a three-pointer, 16-9. With less than six minutes on the clock, this was still first half.

At three and a half left, Warrenton was back on offense, Hordie was handed the ball. He went off tackle and wove his way into the end zone. TOUCHDOWN. Kenzie made the PAT. 16-16. Tied game. Football fans, hold on to your seats.

We haven’t even finished the first half. With only three and a half minutes on the clock, Knappa fumbled. Sam Irwin recovered the ball. With a minute and half on the clock, yeah, it was still the first half, Devin Jackson ran the ball to the Warriors’ one-yard line.

With 30 seconds on the clock, Jake Morrow ran the ball in for a touchdown and the lead. Kenzie tapped in the extra point, 23-16.

What? With 20 seconds on the clock, Knappa fumbled again. Hordie recovered it, but moments later, the clock ran out, ending the first half.

Knappa took the lead, 24-23 in the third quarter.

Warrenton’s Hordie caught the kick return, handed it off to Jake, who is tackled at the 16-yard line, deep in Knappa territory. Devin took a hand off, but gained no yardage.

Warrenton’s offensive enchantment died.

With 10 minutes left, Knappa rushed into the end zone from the 15-yard line and scored the final touchdown of the game. Knappa tacked on the final points with a two-point conversion, 32-23.

Hordie returned the kick for 50 yards. Warrenton turned the ball over after four quick downs.

“We played a good football game,” Coach Ian O’Brien said to the hang-dog faces of his players in the locker room. “We just came up a tad short. We’ll come back.”

Next week is a bye. Warrenton plays at Vernonia on Oct. 11.

Hordie Bodden Boded runs back a kick return for 96 yards. (Bruce Dustin)

Jordan Martinez watches for the ball. (Bruce Dustin)

Knappa's Eli Takalo makes a move with Warrenton's Ethan Green in pursuit. (Bruce Dustin)

A defensive struggle. (Bruce Dustin)

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