The Timberline Blazers have played one 3A Narrows League football game, but they know there’s no room for error.
Three losses in a row — including Thursday’s 28-26 loss to the unbeaten Wilson Rams – puts the Blazers (1-3 overall, 0-1 3A Narrows) in a difficult spot heading into next week’s game at Lincoln, which brings its unbeaten record to South Sound Stadium on Friday night for a showdown with unbeaten North Thurston.
Timberline’s schedule the next few weeks doesn’t do any favors for the Blazers. Three of Timberline’s next four opponents (Lincoln, Foss, North Thurston) have a combined 8-1 record.
Unlike its previous two losses in which the offense was sluggish, the Blazers were able to move the ball against Wilson.
Timberline racked up 288 yards of total offense and had a 19-14 halftime lead, thanks to two rushing touchdowns by Andrew Paquin.
Paquin finished with a game-high 155 yards rushing and three touchdowns (42, 32, 5 yards).
The second half featured four lead changes, with the final one coming on a wild play.
After Timberline took a 26-21 lead on Paquin’s 42-yard touchdown run, Wilson took over its own 23.
On the next play, Rams quarterback Isaiah Yates-Brown scrambled and was nearly sacked, yet found Kyler Stecker for a 77-yard catch-and-run down the right sideline for the go-ahead touchdown with 8 minutes, 1 second remaining.
Within 24 seconds on the clock, Timberline’s seven-point lead on Paquin’s third score of the game quickly turned into a deficit.
Timberline, on its final offensive possession, had a shot at a possible game winner but on fourth-and-1 at the Wilson 10, quarterback Gabe Gutierrez was sacked, turning the ball over on downs to Wilson with just over three minutes to play.
The win by the Rams (4-0, 2-0) their first over Timberline since 1998 – the year they both were members of the 4A Narrows League Bay Division.
Timberline’s defense kept Wilson’s ground game in check all night with 10 plays for negative yardage, yet couldn’t stop Wilson’s passing attack. Yates-Brown threw touchdown passes of 77, 64 and 45 yards, with two going to Brandon Montgomery, who finished with five catches for 126 yards.
Jeff Winstead had a 3-yard touchdown catch just before halftime for Timberline.