Yelm – Stay in a seasonlong offensive hibernation and miss the playoffs for the first time since 2004, or put some bite back into the running game and prolong the season.
Those were the choices facing the Olympia Bears. They went with the latter.
Casey Bond rushed for 195 yards and a touchdown, Michael Naipo caught a TD pass and added another score on the ground, and Olympia wrapped up a playoff spot with a hard-fought 29-22 road victory over Yelm in Narrows League 4A action on Friday.
“Our defense has been bailing us out all season,” said Olympia coach Bill Beattie. “I was very pleased with how we played on offense tonight. The offensive line did a fantastic job opening up holes for Casey.”
It was a night of several accomplishments for Beattie.
Not only did he lead his squad to the playoffs for an eighth consecutive season, but he also became Olympia’s leader in career coaching wins with 137 victories.
The record-setting win came two hours after Beattie learned he had became a grandfather for the first time.
“Not a bad night,” a beaming Beattie said.
The Bears, who have been shut out four times this season, improved to 4-5 overall and 4-2 in league, securing the No. 3 seed.
Olympia will play at Auburn, the South Puget Sound League North’s second-place team, in the state preliminary round.
Yelm (4-5, 2-4) had two chances to tie the game late, advancing to the Olympia 13 with 21/2 minutes remaining before the drive stalled.
The Bears were unable to run out the clock, punting the ball back to the Tornados, who advanced to the Olympia 30 before running out of time.
Jacob Swilley put on a show in defeat, rushing for 209 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns.
Swilley’s second score, a 10-yard run on the last play of the third quarter, made him the school’s career leader in rushing touchdowns with 43 and cut the Tornados’ deficit to 29-22
“Yelm’s a great team. They battled the entire game,” Beattie said. “There was a couple times they could have folded it up and quit and they just kept coming at us.”
Olympia turned two Yelm third-quarter turnovers into touchdowns.
Mitch Fettig opened the second half with his second interception.
Bond became the Bears’ primary weapon from there – doing all the heavy lifting while carrying the ball eight times for 69 yards on the drive, which Naipo capped with a 1-yard TD plunge to break at tie at 15.
Yelm fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Kyle Alfonso recovered the Tornados’ 47. Bond pounded it down to the 1 again on a handful of carries before Isaiah Brooks made it a two-score game on his own 1-yard scoring run.
Yelm put the ball in Swilley’s capable hands to keep the game close in the first half. On the Tornados’ final drive of the second quarter, the gifted senior opened with a 35-yard scamper before tacking on runs of 15 and 12 yards.
Swilley’s last run of the first half, a 4-yard touchdown with 16.9 seconds left on the clock, trimmed the deficit to 15-13. Swilley’s pass to a diving Kyle Brownell on the 2-point conversation knotted the game at halftime.
Yelm’s Anthony Allred opened the scoring with a 27-yard run with 5:25 remaining in the first quarter.
Olympia scored twice in the second quarter to grab a 15-7 advantage, getting a 12-yard TD run from Bond followed by a 2-point conversation on a Tanner Hartsoch run.