Ridgeview coach Andy Codding knew that Bend High finishes games strong.
It showed on Friday night, when the Class 5A Lava Bears scored with 4 minutes and 29 seconds left to play, recovered the ensuing onside kick, and posted another touchdown with 3:33 left to narrow what was once a 15-point deficit to a two-point game.
But the 4A Ravens stopped the Bears' rally there.
Ridgeview fell on top of Bend's second onside kick and ran out the clock to seal a 35-33 nonconference football victory at Punk Hunnell Stadium in Bend.
“Beating Bend, they're a quality program that's been around forever,” said Codding, who coached at The Dalles Wahtonka before taking over the Ridgeview program. “They've historically finished games like this. I know because I've been on the back end of a few of them over the years. To come out on top finally is great, especially since it's our first meeting (against the Bears) as Ridgeview.”
Boomer Fleming carried the load for Ridgeview (4-1), rushing for 202 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries.
Fleming is the heart and soul for the Ravens, Codding said.
The senior running back not only provides Ridgeview with a solid ground game, but he picks up yards after contact, as shown during the Ravens' final drive of the game, when they milked 3 minutes, 33 seconds off the clock to get the win.
Fleming was beat up afterward. Nearly 30 carries will do that to you, but for him, and for Ridgeview for that matter, it is all about the win.
“Bend High's always tough,” Fleming said. “They always finish out games. Their record doesn't show it because they've played some of the best 5A teams around. But we know they're always tough, and it's always a good rivalry.”
Momentum shifted for the Ravens at the end of the second quarter, when Ridgeview drove 65 yards and punched in a two-yard touchdown run by Fleming to even things up 14-14 with 19 seconds left in the first half.
After the break, Ridgeview's first two drives consisted of just six plays. But those six plays went for 136 yards and two touchdowns — a 40-yard sprint by Cody Simpson and a 67-yard run by Tanner Stevens — to put the Ravens ahead 28-14 with less than four minutes having run off the clock.
“Those first two drives were critical coming out of halftime to regain momentum, especially on (Bend's) homecoming night when they've got the crowd behind them,” Codding said. “To take the wind out of their halftime celebration and kind of wreck their homecoming was great for us.”
Ridgeview accumulated 436 yards on the ground, thanks in part to Stevens' 104 yards rushing as well as Simpson's 80 yards. Those two, Fleming said — combined with the execution of the offensive line — allow for Fleming to break out into the open field.
“That's mainly what our offense is about, is spreading it out to the sides so it opens up the middle for me to be able to run,” Fleming said. “And while (the defense) shuts down the sides, the middle's open, and vice versa.”
Creighton Simmonds paced Bend (0-5) with a 23-of-32 passing game, racking up 325 yards through the air and three touchdowns.
“Tonight was a huge step forward because it really made our offense two-dimensional,” Lava Bears coach Matt Craven said, pointing out that for the past few weeks Bend High has been a run-heavy team. “He (Simmonds) started to feel really comfortable back there. It really makes us a dangerous team.”
Bend's Chris Wallace ran for 69 yards and two scores to go along with a 14-yard receiving touchdown, and Quinn Fettig hauled in 12 passes for 165 yards and two scores.
Fettig's 11-yard touchdown catch with 3:33 to play cut the gap to 35-33, but that was as close as the Bears would get, as Ridgeview recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
“The one thing I'm most pleased with is how far we've come in our kicking game,” said Codding, whose team visits The Dalles Wahtonka next Friday. “Five for five on PATs, and that was the difference in the ballgame. That two-point differential was because we were five for five. It comes down to the PATs. We've been on the bad end of that PAT battle before, but Calvin Rodman had a fantastic game.”
The Lava Bears came up short, but for Craven, their resiliency shows that Bend High is on the rise, and the Bears will look to continue their ascent with a visit to Summit next Friday.
“At this point, this team can still meet a lot of its goals,” Craven said. “This was a great confidence-building game. We've been through the wringer the last couple weeks playing absolute quality football teams. I think it gives them a lot of confidence.”
For Fleming, the heart and soul of the Ravens, this win against a 5A program is huge as Ridgeview strives to be one of the top 4A teams in the state.
“That's our goal all along,” Fleming said. “We want to be on the top. And this is just another steppingstone on the way.”