There’s something about this round that continues to stump the Olympia High School football team.
It baffled the Bears two years ago against Newport, last year against Issaquah, and again on Friday night against Skyview in a 38-27 defeat. In fact, Olympia hasn’t advanced out of the district round of the playoffs since 2011.
The offensive shellacking the Storm delivered the Bears at Ingersoll Stadium was the latest iteration of that.
Skyview (7-3) tallied 529 yards of total offense — 296 in the first half — and averted a late comeback try to eliminate Olympia (7-3) from the Class 4A district playoffs.
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“The 4A football playoffs are so tough,” Olympia coach Bill Beattie said. “I’m proud that we get a chance to get in them — most teams don’t get to play in them, and we have been able to.
“We just run into buzz saws, and not by lack of effort on our kids part, but it’s just been a tough one for us.”
The Bears just couldn’t quite catch up.
Trailing 38-20 with just over 10 minutes to play, Olympia running back Owen Shea sidestepped defenders, and dove into the end zone on a 37-yard touchdown run to cut Skyview’s lead to 11.
Zaiden Hernandez recovered the onside kick for the Bears, setting them up at Skyview’s 38. They drove to the 13 before an errant handoff fell to the ground.
The Storm recovered with four minutes, 18 seconds remaining, and picked up four first downs to stall Olympia’s short playoff run.
But the lasting damage was done early.
The Storm scored three touchdowns and a field goal, on four consecutive drives, in the first half before Olympia ever found the end zone.
Hayden Froeber capped a 50-yard drive — that began after a Bears fumble — with a 2-yard jaunt. Wyatt Stallman connected for a 25-yard field goal on the following drive. Then Angelo Sarchi ran in an 18-yard score untouched.
And, Skyview made it 24-0 on an 85-yard touchdown pass from Brody Barnum to Jeremiah Wright.
The Storm’s passing game baffled the Bears all night. Barnum finished 22 of 34 passing for 384 yards and three touchdowns — all to Wright, who had 10 catches for 202 yards.
“That quarterback is really good,” Beattie said. “You can tell, he is well-schooled in the passing game, and he’s got a rifle for an arm. They’re big up front, they had a great game plan.”
Olympia finally scored with two minutes, 16 seconds remaining in the half, when Scott Gunther rushed for a 3-yard touchdown. That was set up by a 48-yard pass from Dayne Shafer to Ibi Ceesay two plays prior.
“We didn’t need to make that many adjustments, other than to just up our play a little bit,” Beattie said.
The Bears started to chip away in the second half, when Gunther broke for a 67-yard touchdown to make it 24-13, but Skyview immediately answered on a 20-yard pass from Barnum to Wright on the following drive.
Gunther, in the Wildcat formation, broke again on the first play of the next drive, this time for a 57-yard score to, again, cut the lead to 11.
“Defensively, they did some smart things, they clogged up the middle and they came from the outside,” Beattie said. “That’s why, in the second half, we switched to our little Wildcat offense and were able to start springing them a little bit.”
Gunther, a senior, and the area’s leading rusher the past two seasons, finished with 27 carries for 224 yards and the three touchdowns.
“It’s going to be sad to see him gone,” Beattie said. “I feel like he’s been running here for 10 years, which, believe me, it’s been great. Seeing how he’s improved and knowing he’s going to get to go play at the next level is exciting. He really deserves it.”
Skyview turned the ball over on downs, but Olympia did the same, setting the Storm up at the Bears’ 26. Seven plays later, Barnum again found Wright for a 14-yard score, to hush the crowd.
Shea’s touchdown run came on the following drive.
“Our kids played hard all the way to the end,” Beattie said. “I couldn’t be prouder of a group of young men. There’s so many times in that game they could have easily just folded. They kept going. The ball just didn’t quite bounce our way all the way.”
S – Hayden Froeber 2 run (Wyatt Stallman kick)
S – Stallman 25 field goal
S – Angelo Sarchi 18 run (Stallman kick)
S – Jeremiah Wright 85 pass from Brody Barnum (Stallman kick)
O – Scott Gunther 3 run (Skyler Davis kick)
O – Gunther 67 run (pass failed)
S – Wright 20 pass from Barnum (Stallman kick)
O – Gunther 57 run (Davis kick)
S – Wright 14 pass from Barnum (Stallman kick)
O – Owen Shea 37 run (Davis kick)