Scoring three times from at least 45 yards away, the Timberline Blazers rolled to a 35-7 season-opening, non-league victory Thursday night over Black Hills at South Sound Stadium.
Senior running back Michael Barnes fueled the Blazers’ offense with 187 yards on 20 carries and Timberline’s defense held the Wolves’ young offense in check until the fourth quarter on a penalty-plagued evening for both teams.
Sophomore running back Zach Loveless carried 13 times for 71 yards for Black Hills and Preston Lee gained 44 yards on eight carries, all of which came during the fourth quarter.
Two of Timberline’s big plays gave the Blazers a two-touchdown lead before the game was eight minutes old.
Faced with a third-and-10 at his own 47, Black Hills quarterback Ethan Loveless rolled left and tried to get out of trouble with a touch pass that was intercepted by the Blazers’ Ty Edmond, who ran it back 45 yards untouched for the first score of the night.
After Timberline took over on downs on the Wolves’ next possession, Barnes sprinted 51 yards to the left corner of the end zone to put the Blazers’ up 14-0.
In the second quarter, Timberline’s offensive efficiency meshed with lax ball security by Black Hills to put the game out of reach.
The Blazers marched 80 yards on 10 plays, scoring on a 28 yard pass from Garrett Warrington to Jamarcus Graham. On the Wolves first play from scrimmage after the Timberline score, Black Hills turned the ball right back over on the first of two fumbles it would yield in the quarter.
Four plays later, Barnes tallied his second touchdown from two yards out and Timberline led, 28-0, at the half. The Blazers ran 21 of the 30 plays from scrimmage in the quarter.
There was no further scoring until 5 minutes and 35 seconds were left in the game and Black Hills culminated a nine-play, 72-yard drive behind rushes by Lee and Jordan Claridge with a four-yard Zach Loveless touchdown carry.
The excitement was short-lived for the Wolves, though, as on the Blazers’ first play after the kick-off, Lonnie Anderson broke tackles just beyond the line of scrimmage and sprinted 61 yards for Timberline’s final touchdown.
Black Hills will continue a stretch of four games against Class 3A teams to open the season when it hosts Capital next week at Tumwater District Stadium while Timberline will host Bonney Lake.