OLYMPIA – Tumwater football coach Sid Otton wanted his Thunderbirds to make a good memory Saturday night against the No. 1-ranked Capital Cougars.
After an abysmal first half with minus-2 yards of total offense, Tumwater roared back to tie its 2A Evergreen Conference opener with the Cougars late in the fourth quarter, then won it in double overtime, 35-28, at Ingersoll Stadium.
“We’re going to enjoy this tonight,” Otton said. “I want these kids to enjoy it, but not for long. It’s back to work because we have some work to do.”
Trailing 21-13 inside 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter after Kai Van Sickle's 39-yard touchdown run for Capital, Tumwater quarterback Jayden Croft, who was responsible for four touchdowns (one rushing), found Jaimie Bryant, a 6-foot-5, 255-pound Washington commit, for a 4-yard touchdown catch with 2:59 left. And the two-point conversion was a play from Otton’s bag of tricks: Croft had his back turned to the end zone, flipped the ball up over his head, and found a leaping Bryant. His catch tied it and forced overtime.
Bryant hurt his back on the play, and did not return. He finished with three catches for 43 yards and two touchdowns.
“Jaimie was awesome,” Otton said. “If you get (two-point conversion play) wrong, you’re just a dumb coach, which I can take. But if you get it right, it’s such a big momentum changer.”
Both teams scored touchdowns in the first overtime. Tied at 28 in the second OT, Croft ran in for a 2-run touchdown run to give Tumwater (3-1 overall, 1-0 2A EvCo) a 35-28 lead after Elijah Hill’s successful point-after try.
Then, it was Capital’s turn. On first-and-10 at the 25, the Cougars fumbled but recovered 5 yards back. Tad Maiava then made a drive-saving catch on third-and-30 pass from Derrick Becker to set up a first-and-10 at the 11. But Capital was dropped for negative yardage on the next two plays. Facing a fourth-and-21 from the 22, Becker’s pass was picked off in the end zone to seal the T-Birds’ victory.
Capital led 7-0 after a first half of strong defensive effort from both sides. Capital’s defense sacked Croft three times and held the T-Birds’ offense to negative yardage on eight of their 20 plays in the first half. Tumwater generated minus-2 yards of total offense in the first half compared with Capital’s 88 yards.
Capital gained a 14-7 lead midway through the third quarter when Becker found Derek Chase for a 10-yard score, and Tumwater followed that up on its next drive with a 19-yard touchdown to Bryant.
Saturday was the first time the two teams had played since 1998, when they were both members of the Rivers League.
Mary M. Knight 74, Lake Quinault 0: The Owls rushed for 307 yards and put up a school record in points scored as they cruised to their third straight win. Mary M. Knight (3-0) has outscored its three opponents, firstname.lastname@example.org 360-754-5473 www.theolympian.com/southsoundsports @megwochnick