TACOMA - A key component in Tumwater's past state title football teams was remembered by the players Saturday during the Thunderbirds' 34-14 Class 2A state title victory over Archbishop Murphy, as well throughout the season.
The Thunderbirds have “GT’ stickers on their helmets in remembrance of the late Gary Taylor, a former assistant coach at Tumwater.
Taylor died on June 29 after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 63.
Taylor was an assistant coach for Sid Otton at Tumwater from 1975-1996, working with the offensive linemen, and he was in charge of the freshmen teams.
“He was the greatest one-on-one coach I’ve ever been around,” Otton said. “He’s so loyal ... we miss him a great deal.”
Taylor’s sons – Casey and Gentry – were starters on the T-Birds’ 1989 and 1993 state title teams and have been on the sideline most of the season. They also were in attendance for Saturday’s Class 2A state title game.
SID AND TERRY
The Tumwater and Archbishop Murphy programs have many similarities.
Besides running the same wing-T offense, the top two coaches for most wins in state history come from these two programs.
Otton is ranked No. 1 all-time in career wins with 327, and right behind him is the late Terry Ennis, who compiled 287 victories in his 36-year career.
Otton considered Ennis a friend, and Ennis even helped the Tumwater coaching staff transition to the Wing-T in 1987.
Ennis, who previously coached at Bellarmine Prep, Renton. Stanwood and Cascade of Everett before going to Archbishop Murphy, died Sept. 12, 2007, after battling prostate cancer for five years. Otton attended Ennis’ memorial service.
Ennis’ last game was a 49-7 victory over Black Hills, a few days before his death.
The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Tumwater’s Ronnie Hastie in Monday’s 63-27 semifinal win over East Valley of Spokane received national attention for Hastie and the call itself when Hastie went down to one knee and pointed upward after scoring a touchdown.
In Saturday’s victory over Archbishop Murphy, Hastie had 30 yards on eight carries and didn’t score.
Add Class 2A to the list of state-title accomplishments for the T-Birds.
Tumwater’s first three state titles came in the AA (now 3A) ranks, followed by the AAA (now 4A) in 1993.
When the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association added the 2A classification in 1997, that bumped up Tumwater’s previous state titles by one classification. They are now recognized as 3A and 4A titles.
Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com www.theolympian.com/prepsportsblog