Steilacoom scored the first 34 points as the Sentinels closed out the 2016 regular season with a 34-14 win over visiting Fife on Friday night.
Steilacoom came in having outscored its last two opponents 94-0, and the Sentinels continued that trend.
Sophomore quarterback JJ Lemming connected with receiver Marques Hampton on a 16-yard touchdown to cap the first drive for a 6-0 lead. A punt return for a touchdown by senior Jenard Johnson made it 13-0, and the Sentinels closed out the first quarter up 20-0 after Lemming hit senior wide receiver LaJon Carter from seven yards out.
“We’re playing really good defense, and our special teams are killer,” Steilacoom head coach Rich Lane said. “The first half we had one drive that started on our side of the field, and that wasn’t because our offense was great or anything like that. It was because our defense came out and played defense. They shut down a team that’s been scoring 30 or 40 points a game, held them in check.”
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The first play of the second quarter saw Steilacoom extend its lead, as senior Anthony Garcia made his way into the end zone on a 17-yard run. Steilacoom pushed its lead to 34-0 on a 32-yard scoring pass as Lemming found Carter for their second touchdown connection with 9:48 to play in the second quarter. Lemming finished the night with three touchdown passes.
The Trojans did not put their first points on the board until midway through the second quarter. A third-down pass by junior quarterback Falani Maileoi found senior running back Wes Nixon up the seam, and Nixon took it 60 yards for the touchdown and a 34-7 halftime score.
“We all worked out in practice our keys and our reads for their offensive line, and were just dialed in every single play,” said Steilacoom’s Hampton.
In the third quarter, Johnson nearly had his second touchdown return of the night for Steilacoom. A holding penalty negated the return, however, and the teams exchanged empty possessions in a scoreless quarter.
A Steilacoom fumble ended another scoring opportunity at the beginning of the fourth quarter, giving the ball to Fife at its own 5-yard line. Fife picked up the final score late in the fourth. Maileoi had his second long touchdown pass of the night, connecting with Jackson Cooley on a 74-yarder.
The win improves Steilacoom’s record to 7-2, while Fife falls to 7-2. Both teams will advance to the 2A district playoffs next week. Steilacoom will have the SPSL No. 3 seed, while Fife will have the No. 4 seed.
“It’s just about doing our job, being fundamental and taking care of business,” Lane said of the upcoming district contest.