Yep. The Banks Braves are the No. 1 team in the state. If there was any doubt coming into Friday’s game at CMH Field, there shouldn’t be now.
The Braves looked downright good in rolling up a 49-7 Cowapa League win over Astoria, pushing Banks to its fifth straight win to open the 2019 season.
Coming into the contest, the Braves were ranked No. 1 in both the OSAA and the 4A coaches’ polls, while the Fishermen, coming off an 8-0 loss to Seaside, were ranked 28th out of 31 teams.
But the two longtime rivals looked a lot closer than their rankings indicated in the second half.
Yes, the Braves ended up with a 42-point win, but the victory looked anything but routine over the final two quarters, as the Fishermen played undoubtedly their best half of the season.
Defensively, Astoria held Banks to seven first downs in the second half, after the Braves had rolled up 11 first downs and 288 yards in total offense in the first half.
The Fishermen, meanwhile, saw their junior quarterback take a major step forward against the No. 1-ranked team in the state.
At halftime, Bo Williams was 6-of-14 for 63 yards.
But when the night was over, the 6-foot-2, 155-pound Williams was 17-for-29 passing, for 206 yards and no interceptions.
Included in his second half statistics was a string of 10 straight completions.
Ryan Stutznegger was on the receiving end of seven passes for 53 yards, while the big target for big plays was Dylan Junes.
The 6-foot-3 junior receiver caught six passes for 97 yards, an average of 16.1 yards per catch for No. 16.
While the Fishermen were moving the ball with ease between the 20-yard lines, several Astoria drives bogged down in the red zone, resulting in a scoreless second half.
The big playmaker for the Braves was receiver Jarred Evans, who latched on to eight passes for 175 yards, including a couple of circus grabs from quarterback Tanner Shook, who finished 13-of-19 for 292 yards passing.
Evans caught two touchdown passes, including a 54-yard effort early in the second quarter.
Running back Martial Stegemeier carried the ball 16 times for 94 yards and three first-half touchdowns.
Astoria’s lone score of the night was a 4-yard pass from Stutznegger to T.J. Colvin with 6:06 left in the first half.
Tristan Boyle caught a 67-yard option pass to key the drive.
The Fishermen return to action next Friday at Tillamook, while the unbeaten Braves travel to Valley Catholic.