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Union organizes win over Wildcats

The Vancouver team rolls up a 41-0 lead before Westview scores
by: Miles Vance LINE OF FIRE — Westview senior quarterback CJ Garcia throws past Union linebacker Brandon Snyder during his team’s 41-14 non-league loss at Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Wash., on Sept. 15.

VANCOUVER, Wash. - Westview's football team knew that it had a tough row to hoe in last week's match-up against Union.

And then, unfortunately, the Wildcats went out and made it tougher.

Westview turned the ball over three times in the first quarter and fell behind 24-0 against the Titans, and never recovered in its 41-14 non-league loss at Evergreen High School on Sept. 15.

The loss dropped Westview's season record to 0-3, while Union, a member of the Greater St. Helens League, improved to 2-1.

'We definitely need to practice at the rate we want to play and right now we haven't done that,' said Westview senior linebacker Billy Loftis. 'The intensity needs to increase if we want to compete on Friday nights.'

'They're a good team, but we just didn't come out to play the first half,' added Wildcat senior wide receiver Dylan Fields, who made four catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. 'We just weren't ready.'

The Titans were certainly ready to go last week. They forced a Westview fumble on the Wildcats' second play from scrimmage, saw it recovered by Trevé Ensley at the Westview 23-yard line, and scored themselves two plays later. Gabe Rego took a toss off tackle for 8 yards on first down, then Ensley got 15 more yards and the touchdown on an end around with 10 minutes, 17 seconds to go in the first quarter.

The Wildcats fumbled the ball away again two plays into their next series, and this time, Union recovered at the Westview 35. From there, Tanner Nelson caught an 11-yard pass from Kaben Humphrey-Butler, Rego ran twice for eight yards, and Rego then took a dive play up the middle for 16 yards and the score to make it 14-0 just four minutes into the game.

Union tacked on a 34-yard Trent Cowan field goal to make it 17-0, and when Rego picked off a CJ Garcia pass, the table was set for another Titan TD. They cashed in after just two more plays, with Humphrey-Butler hitting Cowan for a 53-yard pickup, and Rego then busting up the middle for 2 yards and a 24-0 lead with 1:37 to go in the quarter.

'They were just stopping us, getting turnovers,' Fields said. 'It's tough to come back from that, especially from that far down.'

And things got worse before they got better. The Wildcats managed just one first down in the opening quarter - when Garcia hit Kyle Henderson for a 17-yard pickup - and just two in the half while Union scored 10 more points in the second to take a 34-0 lead to the half.

Ensley picked off another Garcia pass at midfield to set up his team's next score, a 24-yard Humphrey-Butler TD pass to Nelson at the left flag to make it 31-0 with 9:47 left in the half. The Wildcat 'D' did get a pair of stops later in the half, one of those highlighted by a Shane Suyama sack, while Cowan hit a 29-yard field goal with 33 seconds to go before the break to make it 34-0.

Union then capped its scoring with an 11-play, 61-yard drive at the start of the third quarter, with Rego carrying four times for 20 yards and Humphrey-Butler ending it with a 1-yard sneak.

The Wildcats finally got their offense untracked after that, scoring touchdowns on back-to-back possessions for the final 41-14 margin. On the first of those drives, Westview marched 74 yards on nine plays, getting a 16-yard Garcia-to-Fields completion and a Union pass interference penalty along the way, then a 36-yard TD pass from Garcia to Fields on the right seam with 23 seconds left in the third quarter. Diego Gonzalez added the first of his two extra points to make it 41-7.

Union then fumbled the ball away to Loftis at the Titan 40-yard line and Westview was back in business. Jordan Bacon picked up 2 yards on a catch, added 11 more on two rushes, and Garcia then scrambled around left end for 10 yards and the score with 5:19 left to play.

'We could compete with them on our best day, but our defense was on the field a lot,' Loftis said. 'It was us not taking advantage of the lucky breaks we got out.'

'They were just faster, better, stronger - it was kind of an eye opener,' Fields added.

For the game, Westview rushed 21 times for just 28 yards, while Garcia completed 15-of-26 passes for 138 yards with one TD and two interceptions. Henderson added three catches for 29 yards.

For Union, Rego carried 15 times for 63 yards, and Humphrey-Butler hit on 8-of-12 passes for 166 yards, with Cowan catching two for 92 yards and Nelson four for 66.

On Friday: Central Catholic at Westview, 7:30 p.m.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, go to milesvance.exposuremanager

.com.