Hawks hold off Bulldogs 38-32
September 3, 2020
When we get to the end of this season and look back, this football game in Mission Friday with the hometown Bulldogs that Thompson Falls just won 38-32, could loom very large indeed.
With the Western 8-Man division looking fairly wide-open this season after a slew of talented players from all corners of the conference graduated away this spring, Blue Hawk coach Jared Koskela could be excused that the win in Mission could take on a little extra meaning later on this fall.
“The way I see it, Mission an us are both potential playoff teams, and because of that, this was a big game to start the season with,” he said. “And that could be a big factor in the playoff picture later on.”
The Hawks took control early in Mission, taking a 16-0 lead on three and one-yard touchdown runs by Lucas Andersen and Jordan Fisher, with successful two-point conversion after each TD.
After Mission scored in the second quarter to make the score 16-6, Roman Sparks ran for a one-yard touchdown and finished off first half scoring with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Trae Thilmony to give the Hawks a 30-6 lead heading into halftime.
Although that may have seemed like a safe lead, Mission turned to an efficient passing attack to get back in the game in the second half. With the score now 30-20, Sparks scored what turned out to be the game-clinching touchdown on a three-yard run, to give the Hawks a 38-20 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs scored two more passing touchdowns after that but the Hawks held of for the win.
Koskela credited Mission for their fine aerial attack. “They were making some precision passes, guys were making one-handed catches,” he said. “They have a really good quarterback and some good receivers. Mission is a good team, we had to fight for every yard against them.”
Staring his first game at quarterback, Sparks completed 9 of 11 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, and ran the ball for 65 more yards and two touchdowns.
Nathan Schraeder rushed the ball 15 times for 69 yards, Thilmony had 11 carries for 38 yards and Fisher five totes for 26 yards.
Andersen had a team-high seven catches for 124 yards, Thilmony caught one pass for 15 yards and Schraeder had one for 10 yards.
Thilmony led the Hawk defense with 12 tackles, including two for a loss and a quarterback sack, and a fumble recovery. Sparks added nine tackles, Andersen six, Breck Ferris five, Dane Chojnacky four, Schraeder three (plus an interception), Brandon Fisher two and Cody Burk one.
With Mission out of the way, the Hawks face another potentially crucial conference test Friday versus Clark Fork in Superior Friday. The Mountain Cats, who advanced all the way to the State 8-Man championship last fall before falling to Fairview, started their season with a 56-12 win in Victor Saturday.
Picked to finish behind favored Flint Creek in the Western 8-Man race, Clark Fork will also be one of the teams to watch in the playoff race later on.
“We don’t play Flint Creek this year so this game with Clark Fork takes on added importance,” Koskela said. “These first two games of our season are both big ones, that could affect the way things go for the playoffs later.”
One wild card Koskela is holding is the fact that senior Kade Pardee, who sat out the first game last week, will be eligible to play this week. Koskela is looking at giving both Sparks and Pardee snaps at quarterback, hoping that creates an advantage.
“We are going to switch things up some, try to confuse them,” Koskela said.