TACOMA — The North Thurston High School football team is known for its bulldozing running game behind Hayden Maliska, Josh Ramirez and Josh Mosquera, who have combined for 11 of the Rams’ touchdowns through three games. But its defense is pretty good, too.
North Thurston picked off three passes in the fourth quarter – two by Seth Meredith and one by Malachai Hicks – and stopped a potential tying two-point conversion attempt by Foss with 28 seconds to play to emerge with a 22-20 victory over the Falcons on Friday night at Mount Tahoma Stadium.
The Rams won their 3A Narrows League opener and improved to 3-0 overall.
North Thurston led, 22-14 with 3 minutes, 24 seconds remaining, but Foss marched 72 yards – with the help of two Rams penalties – and then capped the drive with Patiole Pesefea’s 1-yard run. That made it 22-20 and set up a try to tie the game.
Pesefea, who also had a Foss’ 7-yard touchdown run on its first possession of the game, took the handoff and went up the middle but was stopped by a swarm of Rams defenders.
Two of North Thurston’s fourth quarter interceptions led to points by the offense. Foss had a 14-13 lead before Luke Yanna’s go-ahead 27-yard touchdown catch from Ryan Mets – his second touchdown pass of the game – with 10:01 remaining. The score was set up by Meredith’s first interception.
Then came Matthew Longnecker’s 21-yard field goal after Hicks ran back his interception 43 yards to set up a first-and-goal at the 7.
North Thurston held a 13-7 lead at halftime, getting touchdowns from Ramirez (1-yard run) and Brandon Morgan (11-yard pass from Mets).
At Black Hills 55, Bainbridge 27: The Wolves gave Dominic Yarrington his first win at Black Hills in grand fashion, getting 456 yards of offense, including 256 yards on the ground. Mitch Stone rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns, and the Wolves’ defense held Bainbridge (0-3) to 90 net rushing yards.
Tumwater 41, at Inglemoor 24: Christian Cummings had five touchdowns – including a 63-yard punt return in the fourth quarter – as the No. 2-ranked T-Birds won their final non-league game before 2A Evergreen Conference play begins next week against Capital.
Cummings had scoring runs of 75, 38, 27 and 11 yards. Tumwater had a 7-3 halftime lead, but broke it open in the third quarter on two of Cummings’ TD runs.
River Ridge 39, at Ridgefield 3: For the second straight week, the Hawks held their opponent to single-digit scoring, and quarterback Kobe Key passed for 204 yards and four touchdowns while completing 10 of 21 passes
Jason Kananin had three catches for 122 yards and a touchdown, and Daniel Montesa had seven tackles (two tackles for loss) and a forced fumble for River Ridge (2-1).
At Wilson 41, Shelton 7: Isaiah Simpson rushed for a season-high 230 yards, including first-half touchdown runs of 59, 63 and 53 yards, and the Rams rolled up 525 total yards in a Narrows 3A victory at Stadium Bowl.
The Highclimbers’ lone touchdown came in the second quarter on Gordon Henry’s 13-yard run.