Willapa Valley blew a 9-point lead with 2 minutes to play during a 24-21 loss at the hands of the host Olympia junior varsity team at Ingersoll Stadium Thursday night. The Bears (1-1) scored the winning touchdown with 21 seconds to play on a 6-yard pass. The Vikings coughed the ball up twice to give the Bears a chance. Valley also lost the ball on a fumble on the Bears’ 1-yard line in the third quarter.
Seth Flemetis rushed for 207 yards on 23 carries and 2 touchdowns for the Vikings (1-1). Flemetis also led the Vikes on defense with 17 total tackles. Trevor Cook gained another 141 yards rushing on 9 attempts. The Vikes netted 336 yards on the ground at 9 yards a pop.
“Coming out flat, three fumbles, and missed interception opportunities proved to be more than the outnumbered Vikings could overcome last Thursday when they took the field against the jv. team from Olympia.
“I think that the title jv might have led to misconceptions and been part of the reason for our less than intensive beginning,” WVHS head coach Greg Wonhoff told the Herald. “When some of the players hear jv they immediately think of j.v. teams for schools our size. When a 4A school fields a jv team, it is a horse of a different color. Having a roster numbering 130-plus players is a concept hard for us to fathom.
“I just kept thinking that we were going to wake up and play with Viking intensity,” Wonhoff added. “It seemed to take about a quarter before it showed. I think we played pretty well. I'm frustrated again about our lack of a passing game. The Bears did a good job holding that in check. They kept us on our heels by stunting linebackers. Butts down, heads up was the often-repeated order of the day.
“Defensively, I felt like we did a pretty darn good job,” Wonhoff continued. “They ran a counter play that hurt us at the beginning of the game, but when the boys went to work taking care of their assignments, we did a much better job.
“The Bears had a pinpoint passing game,” Wonhoff offered. “They obviously have spent a lot of time on their timing routes. I have always thought that one of the most difficult positions to play in a small school is defensive back versus a passing team. We just don't drill on that technique that much. I tip my hat to our two corners, Matt "Front End" Konigsberger and Hunter "Stash" Gray. Stash reeled in his first varsity interception and nearly collected his second, while Front End was tested and in position for the majority of times the ball came his way.
“I don't think we gang tackled quite as well as we did against the Heart of the Tribe (at South Bend Sept. 6), especially in the first half,” Wonhoff noted. “There was improvement during the second half.
“Again, I was happy with our kickoff and punt coverage, as well as our P.A.T. team,” Wonhoff said. “Robert "Roberto" Espina was 3 for 3 on his kicks.
“Offensively, we rode our workhorse, Seth "Silo" Flemetis, for the second week in a row,” Wonhoff said. “Play after play, this hard hitting Vike hit the line of scrimmage, broke tackles, and rumbled, stumbled, and bumbled (in a positive way) down the field constantly eating up large amounts of field turf per carry. He was aided by the shiftiness of Trevor "Captain" Cook, who bounced around the field like a ball in a pinball machine. His quickness coupled with Silo's battering ram style are our early season keys to success. Now, we have to come up with a complimentary passing game.
“There were a couple of pleasant surprises we came away with,” Wonhoff said. “Lucky, "Lucky Dog" Wood, went into the his first game as a Vike after becoming eligible. He did a great job at defensive tackle. Dylan "Marshal" Barrett held his own at outside linebacker, stepping up and taking the Bear's running attack on.
“I commend our players highly for their ability to stay on the field for 48 minutes without a break,” Wonhoff said. “We just don't have the luxury of being able to platoon groups in throughout the game. We can't get tired.”
Valley visits Ocosta in Pacific League action Friday (7 p.m.) at Westport. The Wildcats are 1-1 after defeating Chief Leschi 32-12 last week. Ocosta opened the season with a 42-12 home loss against Concrete.