Horizon rolls past Willamina in WVL finale

by: DAN BROOD - SCRAMBLING MAN -- Horizon Christian sophomrore quarterback Sandis Chhay heads upfield during the Hawks' 55-18 win over Willamina.TUALATIN — There's an old saying that states “practice makes perfect.”

Well, the Horizon Christian High School football team says it had a terrific week of practice.

And, on Friday night, the Hawks were pretty darn close to perfect.

Horizon Christian, jumping out to a 49-0 lead in the first half, powered its way to a 55-18 victory over Willamina in a West Valley League finale played Friday in front of a senior night crowd at Horizon Christian High School.

“This was good,” said Horizon Christian senior tight end Isaiah Hall, who had a pair of touchdown catches in the victory. “We had a great week of practice, all five days, and that's very important to us. Coach talked to us about attitude.”

“We had the best week of practice that we've had all season,” Horizon Christian senior center/linebacker Brian Satterwhite said. “That definitely important. This was a lot of fun tonight, especially on senior night. Obviously, the score was good. We got to get out there and play, and then we got the younger guys in. It was fun to cheer them on.”

Willamina finished its season with a final overall record of 1-8, including a 0-6 record in West Valley League play.

With the victory, its fourth straight, Horizon Christian finished the regular season with a 5-4 record. The Hawks also placed second in the final West Valley League standings at 5-1.

“The team is young,” Horizon Christian coach George Crace said. “But where they're at, they're playing as good as they can play. They were good enough to finish second in league, and that's special. They got to 5-4, and that's special.”

The Hawks have the opportunity to make their season even more special, as they'll open play in the Class 3A state playoffs Friday when they play Rainier in a first-round game starting at 7 p.m. at Rainier High School. Rainer, the Lewis & Clark League champion, is 6-3 on the season.

“We get to move on,” Horizon sophomore quarterback/linebacker Sandis Chhay said. “We're looking to play a tough team, but we want to show what Horizon Christian football is about.”

“We're hoping for another week of practice like we had this week,” Satterwhite said. “We're going to keep working hard. I was nervous at the beginning of the season, but the younger guys really stepped up. We're all playing with a lot of heart.”

All of that heart seemed to pay off for the Hawks early on in Friday's game with Willamina.

In its first offensive series of the game, Horizon Christian quickly moved 60 yards in four plays, capping the drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Chhay to Hall. Junior Colton Cosner added a two-point conversion run to have the Hawks an 8-0 lead less than a minute into the contest.

Horizon kept rolling from DAN BROOD - TD GRAB -- Horizon Christian senior tight end is about to make a catch for a 22-yard touchdown pass play.

A 63-yard touchdown run by senior Daniel Parsons and a 1-yard TD blast by junior Michael Weber upped the lead to 22-0 with 4:31 left in the first quarter.

Junior running back Dan Hernandez capped off the first-quarter scoring spree with a 26-yard touchdown sprint, making the score 29-0 with 21.7 seconds left in the period.

In the second quarter, Chhay and Hall teamed up for their second touchdown pass play of the contest. This score came from four yards out and upped the lead to 35-0 with 7:47 left in the first half.

“That was good,” Hall said of his two TD catches. “We were working on that all week, and it went well.”

A 55-yard touchdown run by Hernandez and a 41-yard touchdown scamper by sophomore Noah Lubben gave the Hawks a 49-0 lead with 2:53 left in the second quarter.

Willamina got on the scoreboard with just 22.2 seconds left in the period on a 38-yard halfback pass from senior Tyler Heidt to sophomore Brodey Bruckner, making the halftime score 49-6.

Senior Mitch Sheldon scored on a 29-yard run for the Hawks with 4:27 remaining in the third quarter to cap off their scoring attack in the 55-18 victory.

“That felt great,” Chhay said. “We worked hard all week for this. It was a phenomenal week. We all pulled together — go hard and don't let up.”

Horizon Christian, as a team, rushed for 320 yards on 33 carries in the win. Hernandez led a balanced rushing attack with 81 yards on just two carries. Parsons had 63 yards on one carry and Lubben ran for 42 yards on four carries.

Chhay completed four of six pass attempts for 58 yards. Hall had three catches for 30 yards.

The Horizon Christian defense held Willamina to 188 total yards of offense.

“We play a fast-paced defense,” Satterwhite said. “We all run to the ball.”

Sophomores Weston Groth and Trystn Brazie each had a fumble recovery for the Horizon Christian defense. Satterwhite, Chhay, Weber, junior David Parsons, sophomore Ben Rose and Brazie each had a tackle for a loss.

For Willamina, Heidt completed five of six pass attempts for 85 yards and he also rushed for 24 yards.

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