Friday Night Flashback: Ridgefield’s defense shines in claiming 2003 Trico title
This story was originally published in The Columbian on Nov. 1, 2003
LA CENTER — Without Jonny Peru, the Ridgefield Spudders didn’t run away with the Trico League championship Friday.
They found other ways to win it.
Jordan Davis did a bit of everything, and the Ridgefield defense stepped to the forefront as the Spudders finished an undefeated regular season with a 14-0 victory.
Davis scored on a 28-yard run in the first quarter, then threw a 34-yard scoring pass to Pat Byrne in the second quarter to produce the points. He also pinned the Wildcats deep with his punting, and helped the Ridgefield defensive line disrupt the La Center offense.
“The best time I’ve ever had playing a football game or any sports game,” Davis said. “We’ve been waiting for this game all year.”
The win secured the Trico League championship and a state playoff berth for Ridgefield (9-0, 5-0). La Center (7-2, 4-1), which had previously lost only to Class 3A Camas, must play a district qualifying game next week to earn a state berth.
Peru, the Spudders’ speedy game-breaker, suffered a broken collarbone a week ago. But Ridgefield’s strength along the line of scrimmage and versatility in the backfield got the job done against La Center.
Davis shifted from quarterback to a ball carrier, and netted 99 yards on 17 carries. The first time he took the ball he found a hole off right tackle, cut to his right, and dashed 28 yards to the end zone, capping a five-play 80-yard drive on Ridgefield’s first possession.
The second touchdown came late in the first half as the Spudders took advantage of one of La Center’s two fumbles. Davis took a handoff on what looked like a sweep play, then pulled up and threw to Pat Byrne who was open behind the fooled Wildcat defense.
Those plays were fun, but they weren’t the highlight for Davis.
“Definitely defense,” David said. “That’s our team right now.”
When the Spudders fumbled on the first play of the third quarter, La Center managed only four yards before giving the ball back on downs.
The Wildcats crossed midfield two more times in the third quarter, but a fumble ended one drive and consecutive holding penalties doomed the other.
By the fourth quarter, La Center was forced to try for big plays through the air. Consistent pressure from the Ridgefield defensive line made sure that didn’t happen. Wildcats quarterback Chris Williamson was sacked four times in the game and tackled for a loss on two other plays.
“Our coach told us this week that La Center’s a good team, and they’re going to get some plays on us but we have to keep our heads high,” senior lineman Corey Kuhlman said. “But you know what, we shut them out.”
La Center coach John Lambert credited the Spudders defensive linemen for making the difference on a night when the teams were close statistically.
“Our offensive line averages about 185 pounds,” Lambert said. “We can’t normally drive (block) people. We need angles and double-team blocking, and we just did not execute very well, and they did a great job.”
Kuhlman said the key for the lineman was to follow the La Center guards rather than watching the ball in the Wildcats’ deceptive attack.
La Center was limited to 114 rushing yards and 76 passing yards for a net total of 190. Ridgefield finished with 208 yards and each team had nine first downs. But poor field position, six penalties for 50 yards and two lost fumbles made La Center’s task more difficult.
“We might look back on this as something that really helps us,” Lambert said.
“Sometimes teams need to be shocked into recognizing we need to get back to the drawing board, we need to make sure we’re doing the right things.”
For Ridgefield, it was a night to show a few new things.
“We showed that we’re just not a one-man show, and that we can play in the Trico League,” Corey Kuhlman said.
Trump and Biden hit unlikely battleground state of Minnesota
DULUTH, Minn. — A solidly blue state for the past half-century, Minnesota became an unquestioned presidential battleground on Friday as President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden fought for working-class voters in dueling events that marked the beginning of early voting.
Their campaigning was knocked off front pages and broadcasts in the state and nationally by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but before that, their contrasting styles and stances during the day and evening gave fresh signs of the campaign to come in the final weeks before Election Day.
The candidates steered clear of the state’s most populated areas near Minneapolis to focus on blue-collar voters, some of whom shifted to Republicans for the first time in 2016. Trump went to Bemidji, about 200 miles north of Minneapolis, while Biden campaigned in a suburb of Duluth, on the banks of Lake Superior and close to the Wisconsin border.
Biden railed against Trump’s inability to control the pandemic, casting the president’s reluctance to embrace more serious social distancing safeguards as “negligence and selfishness” that cost American lives. Trump, before leaving the White House, said as he has many times that “we’ve done a phenomenal job” against the virus and predicted mass vaccinations by spring.
Biden, at a carpenter union’s training hall in Minnesota, emphasized his plans to boost American manufacturing.
“It’s time to reward hard work in America and not wealth,” Biden declared with roughly a dozen workers looking on.
“When the government spends taxpayers’ money, we should spend that money to buy American products made by American workers and American supply chains to generate American growth,” Biden said. He promised to invest $400 billion in federal money over his first term to ensure more products are made in America.
Trump, meanwhile, predicted victory in Minnesota in November despite the state’s long history of backing Democratic candidates.
“Forty-six days from now we’re going to win Minnesota and we’re going to win four more years in the White House,” Trump told thousands of supporters at the airport in Bemidji.
Since narrowly losing Minnesota in 2016, Trump has emphasized the state in hopes that a victory this year could offset losses in other states. He has visited regularly and kept a close eye on issues of particular importance to rural corners of the state. He’s reversed an Obama administration policy prohibiting the development of copper-nickel mining and has bailed out soybean, corn and other farmers who have been hurt by trade clashes with China.
More recently, he’s embraced a “law and order” message aimed nationally at white suburban and rural voters who may be concerned by protests that have sometimes become violent. That’s especially true in Minnesota, where the May killing of George Floyd by a police officer sparked a national reckoning on racism.
But for all the work Trump has put into the state, it may elude him again in November.
A series of polls over the past week show Biden has built a consistent lead in Minnesota. And in the 2018 midterms, Democratic turnout surged in suburbs, small cities and even on the Iron Range, across the blue-collar mining towns that were once labor strongholds but had been trending Republican.
David McIntosh, president of the conservative Club for Growth, which has produced anti-Biden ads, said Minnesota may help the Trump campaign build momentum.
Pikeminnow program extended on Columbia, Snake rivers
State and federal agencies are extending the season for the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program on the Columbia and Snake rivers until Oct. 11, the Bonneville Power Administration announced on Friday.
The per-fish reward amounts will also be boosted for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Effective Saturday, Sept. 19, the reward for all eligible pikeminnow will increase from the $5-8 range, to $10 per fish — regardless of how many northern pikeminnow an angler catches. The reward for verified specially-tagged pikeminnow will also temporarily increase from $500 to $1,000 per fish.
The program’s goal is to encourage more anglers to participate by harvesting predator-sized pikeminnow this fall, which will help protect more young salmon and steelhead from predation next spring.
Nearly anyone can make money fishing for pikeminnow, and biologists say late summer and early fall can be one of the best times of the year to catch the salmon eaters. In 2019, the program paid out nearly $1.2 million to pikeminnow anglers, with the top fisherman making more than $53,000.
For more details on the season extension and reward increases, go to www.pikeminnow.org.
Availability of COVID-19 testing declines in Oregon
SALEM, Ore. — The availability of coronavirus testing in Oregon decreased this week due to the massive wildfires and the hazardous air quality that stretched across the state.
Despite this, officials said Friday that data continues to show a decline in the rate of COVID-19 transmission in the state. Many outdoor testing sites in Oregon and the state’s laboratory that processes and holds tests were closed this week.
In August, Oregon performed an average of 32,000 tests per week. Last week, as thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes because of wildfires, Oregon tested 19,465 people, officials said.
To date, Oregon has tested approximately 616,600 people for COVID-19.
Symptoms from wildfire smoke and COVID-19 overlap — cough, runny nose, fatigue, difficulty breathing and headaches. But smoke impacts don’t typically include fever, chills, muscle or body aches, vomiting, loss of taste or smell or diarrhea.
Since the start of the massive wildfires, about 10 percent of all emergency room visits across the state are for asthma-type symptoms — an increase.
Smoke across the state began to clear overnight Thursday and Friday, as many communities reported improved air quality.
The Oregon Health Authority reported 295 new coronavirus cases Friday, bringing the state total to 30,342. The state’s death toll remains at 521.
The health authority’s most recent COVID-19 modeling shows that the current rate of transmission is continuing in a downward trend that began in mid-July, meaning that each case is generating less than one other case.
If transmission continues at the current rate, by early October new cases could decrease to 80 a day.
However, officials warn that it is unclear what effects the evacuations and the poor air quality might have on COVID-19 transmission.
While testing centers may have been closed for a portion of the week, health experts used resources elsewhere in attempt to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 — specifically among firefighters and evacuees.
Earlier this week, the state reported that 3,185 Oregonians who fled from the fires were being sheltered. Most people were placed in non-congregate shelters and hotels to minimize the risk of exposure.
In addition, firefighters who have traveled from across the state and the country to fight the wildfires are being screened for coronavirus symptoms.
‘Really big break’ for Brent Luyster’s son in assault case
In a written plea statement, the teenage son and namesake of convicted triple murderer Brent Luyster told a judge Friday that he believes charges brought against him in an assault case were overblown because of his notorious last name.
Clark County Superior Court Judge Jennifer Snider, who’s seen Brent Luyster III appear before her since he was 12, did not necessarily disagree.
“I do think sometimes you get a bad rap because of your last name,” she told him after the 16-year-old pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in Clark County Juvenile Court.
Snider said many things that have happened to him are out of his control, but he controls his choices.
“I don’t think that you’re a lost cause, but you need to believe that,” she told him.
Still, the judge said if Luyster keeps doing what he’s doing, he will end up serving a long time in prison.
Luyster was arrested May 5 after he slashed at and threatened to kill a man near the intersection of East 27th Street and Grand Boulevard in central Vancouver. The confrontation apparently started when Luyster stared at the victim’s girlfriend. No one was injured.
Luyster had been released from a juvenile facility about a month before the attack and was on parole.
He faced attempted second-degree murder accusations in adult court, but the prosecution opted to file a charge of first-degree assault. The case was later transferred to juvenile court.
If convicted on the original charge in adult court, Luyster would have faced 10 3/4 to 14 1/4 years in prison, before a deadly weapon enhancement, based on the charge and his criminal history — which has included fourth-degree assault, malicious mischief, possession of a stolen firearm, and first- and second-degree robbery.
Instead, he was sentenced Friday to 15 to 36 weeks in a juvenile facility. He’s already served approximately 19 weeks of that sentence locally.
“The state hopes he understands he got a really big break this time,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes said during the hearing. The prosecutor added that he hopes Luyster learns from this and doesn’t end up in trouble again.
Hayes asked that the court order Luyster undergo anger management and mental health evaluations, along with any necessary treatment.
Luyster’s mother said during the hearing that she strongly feels her son would benefit from mental health and anger management treatment. But he has to want it.
“He’s been taught things he needs to unlearn,” she said.
The teen’s defense attorney, Michele Michalek, told the court that Luyster has been exposed to things most people don’t witness in a lifetime, and he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Eyewitness to murders
In November 2017, Luyster, then 13, was briefly held in contempt of court after refusing to testify at his father’s triple-murder trial. The ruling prompted an explosive outburst from the teen outside the presence of the jury.
Luyster Sr. was on trial for the July 2016 slayings of his best friend, Zachary David Thompson, 36; friend Joseph Mark LaMar, 38; and LaMar’s partner, Janell Renee Knight, 43, at LaMar’s home southeast of Woodland. He also shot Thompson’s partner, Breanne Leigh, then 32, in the face, but she survived.
Luyster Jr. was an apparent eyewitness to the shootings.
A jury later convicted his father of three counts of aggravated first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and one count each of first- and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. The elder Luyster received three life sentences without the possibility of release, plus another nearly 54 years to run consecutively.
Luyster, a known white supremacist, was convicted a year later on federal firearms charges and sentenced to serve another 10 years. A state database shows he is incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton.
Jessica Prokop: 360-735-4551; firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter.com/JProkop16
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