The Class 3A South Sound Conference title game is all set up, and Timberline High School is well prepared to play for a second consecutive crown next week in Purdy.
“We’re hyped, and we’re ready for it,” senior Isaac Thompson said.
Friday night at South Sound Stadium, the sixth-ranked Blazers shut out North Thurston, 21-0, to remain undefeated.
Across the county, Peninsula picked up a win over Yelm to force a rematch of last year’s title game, which Timberline won on a goal-line stand.
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“We know what the competition is like going against them, and we try to give it our all when we play them,” senior linebacker Mason Simeta said.
But, first the Blazers (8-0, 6-0 3A SSC) had crosstown rival North Thurston to contend with in the 53rd playing of the oldest rivalry game in Thurston County.
The Rams (1-7, 1-5) still hold the series lead, 28-25, but the Blazers have won five of the past six meetings.
“Anytime you play a crosstown rival, you can throw the records out the window,” Timberline coach Nick Mullen said. “It doesn’t matter. That’s how it is every year.”
The two programs went scoreless in the first quarter before Timberline broke into the end zone just before halftime.
Aided by back-to-back rushes by senior Lonnie Anderson (11 and 18 yards), the Blazers eventually drove to North Thurston’s 16.
Junior quarterback Hunter Campau found Thompson on a slant, and Thompson spun off a defender for the 16-yard score.
It was a warm welcome back for the veteran receiver, who missed the first seven weeks with a broken collarbone.
“We wanted to ease him in, but we needed him,” Mullen said.
Thompson said he was nervous coming back from the injury, but started feeling good following the touchdown.
“It’s just a play we run all of the time in practice — our bread and butter,” Thompson said. “They were spaced out super far. So I told Hunter to look at it, it’s open. And he trusted me and just put it in there for me.”
That sent Timberline’s offense in motion. The Blazers scored on their first two drives in the third quarter to take a three touchdown lead they didn’t lose.
Senior Michael Barnes, who led all rushers with 117 yards on 13 carries, punched in the second touchdown on a 12-yard run.
The following drive, Campau found Simeta for a 39-yard score. Campau rolled out and saw Simeta open, waving his hands.
Simeta, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker, hauled in the pass, hurdled one defender and barreled through another before diving into the end zone.
“I just had to get in the end zone,” Simeta said. “Whatever I could do, I was going to do.”
“He’s a freak athlete,” Mullen added. “He gets it done.”
Campau finished 7 of 13 passing for 108 yards and the two touchdowns. Timberline finished with 338 yards of total offense, while allowing just 132.
“We tried to scheme up as many shifts and motions, and tried to get them moving and as uncomfortable as we could, but we weren’t able to break anything big,” North Thurston coach William Garrow said.
North Thurston found some success early, led by workhorse running back Zion Kirk, who finished with 62 yards on 21 carries.
On their first possession, the Rams marched to the red zone, but the drive stalled. The Blazers kept them out of scoring range on their final eight drives.
Donovan Fenwick picked off Campau midway through fourth quarter, and caught a 32-yard pass on the ensuing drive, but the Blazers pushed the Rams back twice, and Colton Steepy knocked down a sure touchdown pass, forcing a turnover on downs.
“They’re about as good a defense as I’ve seen in a long time,” Garrow said.
NO. 6 TIMBERLINE
T – Isaac Thompson 15 pass from Hunter Campau (Tolby Selvester kick)
T – Michael Barnes 12 run (Selvester kick)
T – Mason Simeta 39 pass from Campau (Selvester kick)