Five plays into Timberline High School’s district-playoff matchup Friday night, senior Colton Steepy tracked the movements of one of the South Sound’s top passers.
He caught the veteran quarterback’s eye, stepped inside and picked off Stadium’s Hunter Wendling, scurrying 53 yards before being brought down just short of the goal line.
That is how the seventh-ranked Blazers opened a game which eventually turned into their second blowout win in two weeks.
And that quick takeaway is just what Timberline needed, Steepy says.
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“The way the game goes is based on our defense,” he said. “If we get turnovers, that sets the tone for the offense, and they get going.”
Steepy’s interception set the tone, leading to junior Hunter Campau’s 1-yard quarterback keeper for a score on the next play.
From there, the seventh-ranked Blazers tacked on seven more touchdowns to remain undefeated, routing Stadium, 56-20, at South Sound Stadium in Lacey.
A week ago, the Blazers stomped Peninsula, 51-14, to win their second consecutive Class 3A South Sound Conference title.
The win over the Tigers, in similar fashion, has them in the state playoffs for a second straight year.
And two wins of this caliber prove just how menacing and unstoppable the Blazers can be.
“Our kids our dialed in and ready to play,” coach Nick Mullen said. “It was a long day, waiting to play at 8 p.m. Our kids are focused.
“They’ve had two good weeks of practice, and are starting to figure out that we’re doing well.”
Mullen said the team is starting to click at the right time, and improving every week, which is leading to such decisive wins.
“It’s a good momentum roll for us,” senior Mason Simeta said.
Simeta recorded three touchdowns for the Blazers, on runs of 4 and 5 yards, and adding a 55-yard interception return to close Timberline’s scoring in the third quarter.
He was one of six Blazers to find the end zone, and contributed to Timberline’s four takeaways.
Following Campau’s early score, junior Jamin Faalogo ran a 28-yard fumble recovery back for a touchdown.
Simeta rushed for two of his touchdowns in the first half, while junior Lonnie Anderson added a 2-yard score, and the Blazers took a 42-7 lead into the break.
Ty Edmond recorded a 1-yard touchdown run in the third, and Steepy caught a 25-yard pass from Campau for a score before Simeta converted the interception return.
Campau finished 8 of 10 passing for 73 yards, scoring two total touchdowns.
Senior running back Michael Barnes led all rushers with 77 yards on 10 carries, while Rico Spiegner chipped in 59 yards on five carries, and Anderson added 47 yards and a score on 10 carries.
The Blazers combined for 310 total yards of offense, while their defense effectively contained Wendling and the Tigers on most drives.
Stadium scored its only touchdown against Timberline’s starting defense when Nazje Briscoe ( who led the Tigers with 57 yards on nine carries) punched in a 2-yard score in the first quarter.
The Tigers didn’t score again until the second half, after Timberline recorded all eight of its scores.
Wendling finished with 231 yards on 16 of 36 passing and two touchdowns, but tallied much of his yardage against Timberline’s reserves.
Jaden Crooks led the Tigers with four catches for 94 yards, while Xavier Mason posted 86 yards on six catches.
The Blazers (10-0) host the winner of Saturday’s game between Lakes and defending 3A champion Kamiakin.
And with a second statement win in the books, Timberline is starting to prove just how it could end up in the Tacoma Dome a month from now.
“We’re rolling right now,” Steepy said. “I love it.”
NO. 7 TIMBERLINE
T – Hunter Campau 1 run (Tolby Selvester kick)
T – Jamin Faalogo 28 fumble recovery (Selvester kick)
S – Nazje Briscoe 2 run (Rodrigo DosSantos kick)
T – Mason Simeta 4 run (Selvester kick)
T – Lonnie Anderson 2 run (Selvester kick)
T – Mason Simeta 5 run (Selvester kick)
T – Ty Edmond 1 run (Selvester kick)
T – Colton Steepy 25 pass from Campau (Selvester kick)
T – Simeta 55 interception return (Selvester kick)
S – Xavier Mason 51 pass from Hunter Wendling (Selvester kick)
S – Dylan Hartman 5 pass from Wendling (DosSantos kick)