BELLINGHAM - There won't be another state championship for the Lynden football team this season.
Tumwater’s punishing defense and powerful rushing attack made sure of that.
Tumwater’s Kyle Warner scored two first-half touchdowns to lift the third-ranked Thunderbirds to a 21-10 win over No. 2 Lynden on Saturday at Civic Stadium in the opening round of the Class 2A state playoffs. The Thunderbirds (9-1) host Burlington-Edison next week in the quarterfinals.
The win was the ninth in a row for Tumwater, which hasn’t lost since dropping its first game of the season to Class 4A Olympia.
It’s the first time Lynden (10-1) has lost an opening round game at state since 1997, when it was competing at the Class 3A level.
It also ended the Lions’ 23-game winning streak.
The streak was the state’s longest, dating back to the second week of the 2009 season.
Warner opened the scoring, hauling in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Hinkle in the first three minutes to cap a short drive that was set up by the Lions fumbling the open kickoff. The two hooked up again halfway through the second quarter, this time on a 21-yard touchdown to make it 14-0.
The Thunderbirds pushed that lead to 21-0 a few minutes later when Zach Wimberly caught a pass in the corner of the end zone on fourth-and-6 from the 21-yard line. Lynden finally found the end zone in the closing minute of the second quarter, with Nate Wielenga catching a 7-yard touchdown pass to cut the Thunderbirds’ lead to 21-7 at halftime.
The Lions chipped away at the lead when Santiago Lopez kicked a 20-yard field goal with less than two minutes to play in the third quarter to make it 21-10. Lynden moved down to the 2-yard line on the drive, but Tumwater’s defense came up with two big stops on consecutive running plays, and then an incompletion brought out the kicking team.
While the Lions struggled running the ball, particularly in the middle of the field, the Thunderbirds were ripping off big gains on the ground one play after another.
Christian Bush finished with 155 yards to pace Tumwater, Payten Olson had 78 and Warner added 56.
It looked like Lynden might have a chance to get back in the game in the fourth quarter, but with six minutes to play the drive stalled and the Thunderbirds took over on downs.
Tumwater moved down to the 2-yard line and then ran out the clock to seal the win.