Kai Van Sickle scored three of his team’s five touchdowns in the second quarter, and the Cougars went on to a 55-18 victory over River Ridge to clinch the No. 2 seed from the Evergreen Conference to the state Class 2A playoffs.
“Offensively we looked good tonight,” Capital coach J.D. Johnson said. “This one goes to the offense.”
Van Sickle rushed 24 times for 312 yards and five touchdowns for Capital (7-2 overall, 4-1 EvCo 2A).
The loss by River Ridge ended any playoff hopes for the Hawks, who finished their season at 4-5, 2-3 in EvCo.
“In the long run, what matters is the time you spend with these guys,” River Ridge coach Steve Schultz said. “This was a real special team to coach.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the big plays came fast and furious in the second as the teams combined for seven touchdowns and 46 points.
Capital opened the scoring on a 64-yard pass-and-run touchdown from Derrick Becker to Sam Hollingsworth.
River Ridge turned that around in a hurry, with sophomore Chris Leiba taking the ensuing kickoff and returning it 85 yards for a score.
Becker found Jakob Racimo for a 6-yard touchdown pass to give Capital a 14-6 lead.
The Hawks’ quick-strike passing game answered. Wesley Coats made an acrobatic catch of a Colby Schultz pass on a 44-yard play, which set up a 28-yard scoring pass to a wide-open Coats to cut the Hawks’ deficit to 14-12.
Then it was time for three consecutive episodes of the Van Sickle show, first-half edition.
With six minutes to go in the first half, the senior powered untouched over left guard 56 yards to the end zone.
On Capital’s next possession, Van Sickle cruised 70 yards for a score on a near-identical play, and then, after Becker tucked-and-ran for 47 yards to the Hawks’ 16, Van Sickle covered that distance to the end zone to push the Cougar lead to 34-12.
A fumble ended a threat by the Hawks at the Cougars’ 1 on the last play of the first half.
On the first scrimmage play of the second half, it was more Van Sickle. He took off right to get past the first line of defense, then angled back to the left and broke free for a 57-yard touchdown run.
Van Sickle recorded his fifth TD of the game on a 6-yard run after River Ridge had cut the score to 41-18 behind the pass-catch combo of Schultz and Coats. The duo clicked for completions of 12, 8 and 21 yards to set up a 4-yard scoring pass. Coats had 13 receptions for 192 yards and two TDs.
At Tumwater 35, Black Hills 7: The Thunderbirds, champions of the 2A Evergreen Conference for the third straight year, amassed 221 yards on the ground, led by senior Andrew Brown (137 yards, 22 carries, two TDs).
The T-Birds will host Hockinson, the third-seeded team from the 2A Greater St. Helens League, in a 2A District IV crossover playoff game next week.
Sophomore kicker Elijah Hill was a perfect 2-for-2 on field goals (26, 19 yards) and 3-for-3 on PATs.
North Thurston 57, at Mount Tahoma 14: The Rams scored 36 points in the first quarter on its way to winning its 3A Narrows League regular-season finale.
The Rams will be the league’s No. 2 seed into the playoffs and will host Rainier Beach, the Metro League’s No. 4 seed, next weekend in the Week 10 district crossover playoffs.
Tenino 50, at Rochester 6: Mac Shaw threw for 219 yards and three touchdowns on 18 of 26 passing as the Beavers cruised in their 1A Southwest Washington Evergreen Division finale.
Tenino will be the league’s No. 3 seed and will travel to play Woodland, the 1A Trico’s No. 2 team, next Friday in the 1A District IV crossover playoffs.
W.F. West 28, at Centralia 7:The Bearcats scored 14 unanswered points to win the annual Swamp Cup game. W.F. West will be the No. 3 seed into the 2A District IV crossover playoffs next week and will travel to 2A GSHL champion Mark Morris.
At Rainier 28, Seton Catholic 7: The Mountaineers ended the 2012 season with a 21-point non-league win.