The Mountaineers fell to Forks 34-8 Friday night, Oct. 8, in a football matchup.
Rainier Coach Andy Bartell said his team did not play to their potential.
“It was a little rough,” Bartell said. “We didn’t play our best football. As much as we game-plan and get ready to go, we kind of expected to have a performance like that with the way our season has gone. It’s been a really weird start.”
Bartell was out for the first game due to contact-tracing COVID-19 precautions. The team was also quarantined due to three or four positive COVID-19 cases and missed subsequent games.
“It’s kind of our first prepared week with everybody,” he said. “We didn’t play our best game.”
The Mountaineers have played three games and had to cancel three others.
Bartell said one of the good parts of the game was the effort made by senior Logan Bowers.
“He had an outstanding game,” Bartell said. “He had like nine tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and one touchdown on defense.”
That touchdown was made on an interception in the first quarter.
“His whole season has been really outstanding,” Bartell said, adding that Friday’s contest was the only game this season that Bowers did not have an offensive touchdown.
“We didn’t play very well on offense at all last night,” Bartell said on Saturday. “But we did make some minor adjustments on defense at the half and we managed to only give up seven (points) in the second half.”
Bartell said Forks only had 10 yards to go at one point on an offensive drive, but a Rainier interception stopped the advance.
“So the defense kind of responded, even though we were down big,” Bartell said. “I think it was 27-8 at the half. And so we responded well. The defense had a really strong showing in the second half. I was happy with that.”
He said Forks is ranked as high as fifth in overall rankings, and when the Mountaineer’s offense made a move, the opposing school “just swarmed and did really well on defense.”
So far, the Rainier schedule has been tough, he said, adding there hasn’t been much room for confidence given the opponents the team has been up against.
“I talked to the team last night, you know,” Bartell said. “I said, ‘Hey, we responded well and you guys battled the whole time and the defense was set up, so there’s that. We need to regroup on offense, get some blockers and get the offensive linemen fixed up.’”
Bartell said he still hopes for post-season competition, but the team needs to hold onto the information they learn from practice and from the film of their opponents.
“It’s just finding the best way to retain the game plan that I want them to run and execute that on Friday night,” Bartell said. “I think that once we get a few more games under our belt, we’ll get there.”
Rainier’s next game is at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15 on the road against Willapa Valley High School.