LACEY — Mother Nature wasn’t going to do the River Ridge Hawks any favors.
The driving rain and occasional piercing winds played a part in five fumbles (four lost), which made Saturday night’s final non-league tuneup that much harder against an unbeaten Hockinson squad.
Yet, a fumble recovery saved the potential winning drive.
With Hockinson driving and little more than a minute to go, River Ridge forced and recovered a fumble as quarterback Jess Krahn’s keeper for a first-down attempt, which preserved the River Ridge Hawks’ 17-14 victory over the Hawks of Clark County in a rain-soaked game.
River Ridge (3-1 overall) is the winner of three straight games going into next week’s 2A Evergreen Conference opener against Black Hills while Hockinson is 3-1 after looking to move to 4-0 for the first time in school history.
Kicker Chris Behnke’s 37-yard field goal with 6:21 remaining proved to be the winner after Hockinson scored touchdowns on its first two offensive possessions in the second half after trailing 7-0 at halftime.
Hockinson had been a second-half team through its first three games, scoring 57 second-half points entering Saturday, and having only 14 first-half points.
Credit River Ridge’s defense with eight first-half sacks on Krahn, leaving Hockinson with minus-5 yards rushing in the first half.
River Ridge had multiple opportunities to score in the red zone in the second half, yet turned the ball over to Hockinson. The third time was the charm, thanks to freshman Zachary Carter’s interception of Krahn, which set up Michael Key’s 1-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 14-all at the start of the fourth quarter.
River Ridge’s Kobe Key completed eight of 20 passes for 183 yards with a bulk of his yards going to Jason Kananin, who finished with four catches for 74 yards.
Mary M. Knight 42, at Lake Quinault 38: The Class 1B (8-man) Owls put up 30 first-half points, including a pair of first-half rushing touchdowns by Brent Boley, in their long-awaited season opener on their way to a victory in Amanda Park. MMK (1-0) withstood the Elks’ late-game comeback after quarterback Kobe Kalama’s 23-yard touchdown pass with 4 minutes left. Kalama accounted for four of Lake Quinault’s touchdowns.