LACEY – Lightning struck first, but the final strike came courtesy of the Tumwater Thunderbirds.
A lightning strike early in the first quarter forced Thursday’s 2A Evergreen Conference football game between Tumwater and River Ridge into an immediate 30-minute delay. But when play resumed, the league-leading T-Birds claimed their third straight EvCo title with a 27-12 victory over the Hawks.
The win also gave Tumwater (7-1 overall, 4-0 EvCo) the league’s No. 1 seed into the District IV crossover playoff game scheduled the weekend of Nov. 2-3.
The downpour began right at kickoff at South Sound Stadium, and the soggy conditions continued the rest of the game. River Ridge ran one offensive play from scrimmage – a 6-yard run by Elijah Camacho – before the one-and-done lightning strike came and sent both teams into their respective locker rooms. The game resumed with 11 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Tumwater led 14-6 at halftime, despite holding a 157-59 advantage in total offense. With the T-Birds leading 14-0 late in the second quarter, River Ridge freshman Kobe Key picked off quarterback Jayden Croft and took it 63 yards for a touchdown with 1:29 to play in the half.
Four players scored touchdowns for Tumwater – Kyle Plamondon (10-yard catch), Tyrus Snow (8-yard run), Jaimie Bryant (2-yard run) and Dakota Tresner (2-yard run).
The scoring runs by Bryant and Tresner in the third quarter helped the T-Birds finally pull away. Tresner (137 yards, 20 carries), Snow (91 yards, 14 carries) and Andrew Brown (127 yards, 12 carries) led a T-Birds offense that finished with 343 total yards.
The Hawks hurt themselves with turnovers in the first half – four fumbles (three lost) – but Wesley Coats’ 8-yard touchdown catch in the back of the end zone with 6:17 to go in the third quarter pulled River Ridge to 21-12. The Hawks were limited to 112 yards of total offense with Coats tallying 37 yards on three catches.
Despite the loss, the playoff hopes for River Ridge (5-3, 2-2) come down to next week’s regular-season finale against Capital. If Capital tops W.F. West tonight in Chehalis, the Hawks not only will need to upset the No. 6-ranked Cougars on the road next week, but also will need a Centralia victory over No. 8 W.F. West.
2A District IV tournament: W.F. West senior Brady Calkins fired a 5-under-par 67 during the final round at Three Rivers Golf Course in Kelso to win the individual title by five shots with a two-day total of 5-under 139.
Calkins, the first-round leader with an even-par 72, was one of two golfers under par for the day. Hockinson’s Nick Huff shot a 69 to finish as runner-up with a two-day total of 144.
The top 17 golfers are expected to advance to the 2A state tournament, which will be held in May at Chambers Bay in University Place, home of the 2015 U.S. Open.
Hockinson, led by Huff, won the team title for the second straight year with 173.5 points, and had three golfers place in the top six. W.F. West was second (126) and Tumwater was third (102.5).
Thurston County’s top finisher was Capital’s Joel Christopher, who had a 72 Thursday and tied for eighth (153) with Washougal’s Bryce Samwell.