The difference in style between the River Ridge High School football program and W.F. West’s is expressed nowhere better than in the teams’ lead running backs.
River Ridge’s Trey Dorfner is speed and elusiveness. W.F. West’s Kolby Steen runs to contact and often drags it with him.
Saturday night, the fast guys in the open field won.
Dorfner ran for two long touchdowns, senior wideout Ryan Blash caught two deep balls for scores and the seventh-ranked Hawks advanced in a Class 2A first-round state playoff game with a 35-7 victory over the Bearcats at South Sound Stadium.
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Dorfner also intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown, the flashiest part of a hardnosed River Ridge defensive performance that six times turned the Bearcats over on downs.
“That’s just not breaking,” River Ridge coach Steve Schultz said, noting his defenders look at fourth-and-short situations as opportunities.
“That’s the best performance we’ve had on offense and defense, both at the same time. And (W.F. West) is a good team, big and tough and physical, and coached by Bob Wollan.”
River Ridge (9-1) moves on to face Liberty next weekend at Renton Memorial Stadium in the quarterfinals. W.F. West closed its season with a 9-2 record.
“Unfortunately they were as good as I thought they’d be,” W.F. West coach Bob Wollan said. “That’s a special group of athletes.”
Dorfner racked up 158 yards on nine carries. Sanders was 9 of 18 passing for 181 yards and one late interception by Bearcats defensive back Gabe O’Neil. Blash had four catches for 128 yards.
Steen punched for 129 yards on 21 carries.
“Kolby Steen was a warrior tonight,” Wollan said.
If you blinked you missed the Hawks’ first touchdown. Quarterback Kelle Sanders looked for Blash deep on the game’s first scrimmage play, with Blash outmaneuvering a Bearcat defender to catch the ball, then spinning away to complete a 57-yard scoring play.
Later in the same quarter, Sanders and Blash clicked again, with the fleet Blash gathering in a midrange pass and outracing two defenders to the goal line for a 61-yard score.
At this point, Steen asserted his brand. The 5-foot-8, 180-pound senior crashed for a 12-yard run with tacklers draped on him, followed with a 15-yard gain and then bumped into the end zone with Hawks attached for all of the 10 yards to the goal.
Dorfner’s first touchdown was a 67-yard burst up the middle virtually unsullied by contact. On his second, a 29-yarder, he ran into traffic at the line of scrimmage, then swiveled left and won a footrace to the outside.
Dorfner’s pick-six was part of a group effort by the Hawk defensive backs that made passing a tough task for Bearcat quarterback Nole Wollan.
“We hadn’t seen speed in the secondary like that,” Bob Wollan said.
In Wollan’s judgment, the Hawks belong among the state’s 2A elite.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see them in the (Tacoma) Dome,” he said.
NO. 7 RIVER RIDGE
RR – Ryan Blash 57 pass from Kelle Sanders (Matthew O’Leary kick)
RR – Blash 61 pass from Sanders (O’Leary kick)
WFW – Steen 10 run (Cory Davis kick)
RR – Trey Dorfner 67 run (O’Leary kick)
RR – Dorfner 29 run (O’Leary kick)
RR – Dorfner20 interception return (O’Leary kick)