HOOD RIVER — A last-second pass play as time expired in the first half helped propel Ridgeview to a 46-26 Special District 1 football win Friday over host Hood River.
Running back Josh Biever, a workhorse for the Ravens all game, caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Aiden Brenneman to give the visitors a 22-18 lead at intermission. The Ravens maintained momentum in the second half, outscoring HRV 16-0 in the third period en route to the win.
Biever, a 175-pound senior, ran 28 times for 209 yards and two touchdowns, as Ridgeview evened its record to 2-2. Brenneman threw for four scores, including two to Jeremiah Schwartz, as the Ravens broke open the game after the break.
The turnaround just before halftime — one of those pivotal moments that can occur when two evenly-matched teams square off - was crucial to Hood River’s chances. The Eagles (2-2) were driving toward what appeared might be a two-score margin, but instead found themselves trailing. A gutsy fake punt — in which up-back Zac Wells took the snap and went up the middle on a seven-yard, first-down run - gave the Eagles a first-and-10 at the Raven 38. Quarterback Preston Hughes threw to Jack Wilson for a seven-yard gain to the 31, but then the drive stalled as HRV gave up the ball on downs.
With 14.8 seconds left before halftime, Biever ran 47 yards on a reverse to the Eagle 12 and Ridgeview called timeout with 1.8 seconds on the scoreboard clock. After the timeout, Brenneman connected with Biever in the corner of the end zone, as Ridgeview retook the lead it would not relinquish.
“That was a huge momentum swing,” HRV Coach Caleb Sperry said. “On that reverse we gave up too many yards. We had a chance to tackle him … we missed a tackle at midfield. That (score) gave them the momentum.”
Up-and-down Ridgeview entered the contest on a two-game losing streak, but the Ravens showed some punch in week two when they led league-leading Pendleton by two touchdowns at halftime before losing 20-12. Ridgeview was shut out 27-0 last week by cross-town rival Redmond, while Hood River lost its first game, 26-6, at Pendleton.
Both teams looked strong offensively early, as each scored on their first two offensive possessions. The Eagles received the opening kickoff and scored after nine Tanner Fletcher running plays covered 56 yards. Ridgeview answered with Biever, who capped the Ravens’ initial drive of 58 yards in 10 plays with a 17-yard TD scamper. Biever carried on all but three plays of the drive, and his conversion run gave his team an 8-6 lead.
Conversion runs figured huge in the back-and-forth first half. Ridgeview was 2-for-3 on points-after touchdowns before intermission, while HRV failed on all three of its first-half attempts. The Eagles were hurt by costly penalties and fumbles — which they recovered, but not before the timing of the plays was thrown off.
Sperry said, “(Ridgeview) did a good job of making sure they didn’t make a bunch of mistakes.”
HRV all-state lineman Henry Buckles tipped his helmet to Ridgeview, which took advantage of its opportunities. “We made some mistakes defensively and a couple mistakes offensively,” he said. “That cost us a couple of touchdowns.”
HRV answered the Ravens’ first score, this time mixing in two Hughes completions into a nine-play drive, before Fletcher ran it in from the 2 for a 12-8 lead midway through the second period. The pass plays proved an indicator of things to come, as Hughes found Ryles Buckley on a slant pattern and the junior wide receiver raced 50 yards for the go-ahead score with 4:04 remaining in the first half. Ridgeview had matched HRV’s second TD with another Biever run to go ahead 16-12 before Buckley’s catch-and-run had once again given the Eagles the lead, 18-16.
For his part, Fletcher had 18 carries for 119 yards before intermission, but the senior halfback was slowed by the Raven defense after the break when Ridgeview seized control.
Brenneman connected with Gannon Jeter on a four-yard touchdown pass with 9:13 left in the third period. Hood River went four-and-out on its next possession and Brenneman and Schwartz hooked up on their first TD connection — this one covering 38 yards. The Ridgeview defense forced another four-and-out, and two plays later Brenneman threw to Schwartz for a 31-yard catch-and-run score. The sophomore quarterback was an efficient 7-for-9 passing for 109 yards, registering TDs on nearly half of his throws.