A lot was on the line for both Timberline and North Thurston in the 52nd all-time meeting between the two Lacey high schools.
The Blazers were looking to take another step toward a Class 3A South Sound Conference championship, while the Rams wanted to prevent the program’s longest losing streak since 1955.
It looked like a lopsided matchup on paper, but when you’re talking about a 46-year-old rivalry, records can usually be disregarded.
That was certainly the case Friday night at South Sound Stadium.
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Anthony Hathaway rushed for 191 yards and a touchdown, and the Blazers’ special teams swung the momentum as Timberline pulled away late to knock off North Thurston, 19-10.
“Records are meaningless in games like this. You can throw them out when you have a rivalry,” Timberline coach Mike Spears said. “We knew coming in North Thurston was going to battle, and that’s what they did. Both teams played great.”
The win places Timberline (6-2, 5-1 3A SSC) one game away from clinching the league championship. The Blazers will get their chance to secure the top spot on Thursday, when they host undefeated Peninsula.
“We’re right where we wanted to be,” Spears said. “The kids will be ready next week.”
After opening the season with an overtime victory over Auburn Riverside, North Thurston (1-7, 0-6) has lost seven in a row. The Rams will attempt to avoid their first eight-loss season since 1984 when they travel to Gig Harbor next week.
This one needed to get to the final frame before everything was ultimately decided.
The momentum swayed completely in Timberline’s favor late in the third quarter when Jamin Faalogo blocked a Rams’ punt, and the Blazers recovered at the North Thurston 3.
“We didn’t have a punt block on, but that’s Jamin’s job to go in there like that,” Spears said. “It was a huge play. It was something we needed to get the momentum on our side.”
Hathaway had a 4-yard touchdown run two plays later, giving Timberline its first lead at 16-10.
The Blazers added a Madison Douglas 21-yard field goal, the senior’s second of the contest, midway through the fourth.
The Rams failed to threaten the rest of the way.
In the history of the rivalry, 20 games between the two Lacey schools have been decided by a touchdown or less, including last year’s 38-32 triumph by the Rams.
This one had all the makings of becoming No. 21 as the teams headed into the halftime tied at 10-10.
The Blazers struck first, seeing Douglas cap their opening 13-play drive by drilling a 25-yard field goal.
The Rams answered right back, putting together an equally impressive first possession, highlighted by Zion Kirk’s 25-yard run.
Three plays later, Ross Sherrer scored on a 2-yard scamper, giving North Thurston a 7-3 lead with two minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Aided by Devin Santos’ 40-yard punt return, which placed the ball at the Timberline 15, North Thurston pushed their lead to 10-3 on Wesley Krall’s 36-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
The lead would stand for just 2 1/2 minutes until the Blazers’ Michael Barnes scored on a 27-yard run.
Timberline has won four of the past five in the crosstown series, which began in 1970, and featured the two teams playing twice a season during the first five years of the rivalry. North Thurston still leads the all-time series, 28-24.
T – Madison Douglas 25 field goal
NT – Ross Sherrer 2 run (Wesley Krall kick)
NT – Krall 36 field goal
T – Michael Barnes 27 run (Douglas kick)
T – Anthony Hathaway 4 run (kick blocked)
T – Douglas 21 field goal