CENTRALIA — Zack Chamberlain and the Tenino Beavers delivered an emphatic message to the rest of the Class 1A state playoff field.
“We’re for real,” Chamberlain said after Tenino’s 41-7 win over Columbia of White Salmon in Friday’s 1A District IV playoff game at Tiger Stadium.
The red-hot Beavers (6-4), winners of four straight and six of their past seven games, host King's next week in the first round of the 1A state playoffs.
The Beavers trailed at halftime in nearly every one of their nine regular-season games, but Friday night was a different story. They held a 14-7 halftime lead, in spite of some late-half dramatics by the Bruins’ Gabe Guzman, who took a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown with 6.2 seconds left in the first half, only for Tenino to score 27 unanswered in the second half to break the district playoff curse. Tenino has failed to make it out of the district playoffs the past two years, but now it’s the program’s first time back at state since 2007.
“We took it to the next step,” Chamberlain said. “It’s awesome. I’m so excited for our team and so excited that everybody did their job tonight, and this is what happens.”
After a quiet first half, of eight carries for 51 yards, Chamberlain, the 1A Southwest Washington Evergreen Division’s MVP, finished with a game-high 158 yards on 15 carries and three second-half touchdowns on runs of 66, 15 and 6 yards. His 15-yard touchdown run with six minutes left in the game gave the Beavers a 41-7 lead, its largest of the night.
Sophomore Thomas Pier had five catches for 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns – 28 and 66 yards – the latter coming on a four-play, 66-yard drive that took just 1 minute, 42 seconds off the second-half clock to take a 21-7 lead.
But while the 41 points might be a sign of what the Beavers are capable of on offense, Chamberlain was quick to note the defensive effort. Tenino held White Salmon’s offense to zero points, allowing only Guzman’s 80-yard kickoff return on special teams.
John Stephens (114 yards, 32 carries) provided much of the Bruins’ offense.
“Our defense tonight was unreal,” Chamberlain said. “It was one of the best defensive performances we’ve has all year.”
Friday’s “home” game was a last-minute move to FieldTurf on Tiger Stadium because of unplayable field conditions on Beaver Stadium’s grass field. It prevented the 1A Southwest Washington Evergreen Division champions from playing a true home game.
Woodland 47, Rochester 21: Eli Whitmire scored three touchdowns, including two on back-to-back offensive drives in the third quarter, as the Beavers ended the Warriors’ season at 6-4 in the 1A District IV playoffs. Danny Arellano, Wyatt Singer and Tyler Yarber had second-half touchdowns for Rochester.
W.F. West 35, R.A. Long 28: Tanner Gueller’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Moon broke a 28-all fourth-quarter tie, giving the Bearcats the No. 3 seed to the 2A state playoffs.
4A WCD/SW bi-district: Olympia plays Union in a loser-out match at noon Saturday at Kentwood High School after splitting its first two matches at Day 1 of the 4A West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament.
The Bears knocked off Auburn Riverside, 3-1 (22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-14) before falling to Camas, 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-14).
3A WCD/SW bi-district: 3A Narrows League champion Timberline improves to 16-0 after its 3-1 win over Enumclaw to earn a 3A state tournament berth.
The Blazers face defending 3A state champion Prairie, which bested Kennedy, 3-2, in the noon semifinals. If they win, Timberline will play for the bi-district title at 3:30 p.m. at Auburn Mountainview.
North Thurston and Shelton are still alive in the tournament, but play in loser-out matches today.
After topping Hazen, 3-1, Shelton fell in a three-set sweep to Columbia River and faces 3A Narrows foe Mount Tahoma at 10 a.m. Saturday.
North Thurston lost to Bonney Lake, 3-1, and faces Enumclaw at 10 a.m.
Both North Thurston and Shelton must win three matches to reach state.