Olympia almost did it.
The No. 6 Bears recovered an onside kick with 17 seconds to play against No. 3 Gig Harbor, but threw incomplete on three deep passes as time expired in a 27-26 loss Friday night at Ingersoll Stadium.
On the previous scoring drive, Olympia marched 76 yards down the field before Jack Bell connected with Zaiden Hernandez on a 2-yard pass to trim Gig Harbor’s lead to one.
The defense of the Tides (7-0, 4-0 Class 4A Narrows) held up Clay Markoff on the two-point conversion attempt that would have given the Bears (6-1, 3-1) the lead.
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“There was no hesitation going for two,” Olympia coach Bill Beattie said. “You’re in a game that everyone thinks you’re supposed to get beat in. We tried it, we came up an inch short.”
For 41 minutes, the Bears led, and controlled the Tides. Olympia bottled up Gig Harbor quarterback Davis Alexander — a Portland State commit — sacking him eight times.
Amir Matheney wrapped up Alexander three times, while Brett Thompson was credited with 2 1/2 sacks.
“We came out flat,” Alexander said. “I think their coaches did a good job of scheming up on us. They blitzed very well. I think they did a good job of spying on me.”
But not quite good enough.
Alexander finished 11 of 23 passing for 178 yards and three touchdowns. He threw one interception in the second quarter — his first of the season.
“I was proud of how physical we played, we just came up a little short,” Beattie said.
Despite the slow start, the Tides rallied for 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Kyle Olson-Urbon broke free on a 98-yard kickoff return to cut Olympia’s lead to 20-13 with 11 minutes, 40 seconds left to play.
“You saw a shift in the kids,” Gig Harbor coach Aaron Chantler said. “We came back and we started flying around and playing the way we’re capable of playing.”
The Tides forced a 3-and-out on Olympia’s next drive, and then evened the score at 20-20 with seven minutes left to play on a 51-yard pass from Alexander to Olson-Urbon.
Gig Harbor took its first and only lead with 1:43 to play as Alexander connected with Olson-Urbon again for 10 yards to make it 27-20.
Olson-Urbon had five receptions for 104 yards. He scored three of Gig Harbor’s four touchdowns.
“It’s indescribable, just the way this team worked,” he said. “It’s more than just me. I told the guys, we’re springing this and we’re housing it, and we’re right back in this game.”
The win marks the third straight in the series for the Tides.
Olympia outscored Gig Harbor 20-7 in the first three quarters, led by David Woodward, who finished with 24 carries for 158 yards and three touchdowns.
The Bears ended a 0-0 deadlock with 4:34 to play in the second quarter on Woodward’s run up the gut for nine yards that capped a 10-play, 66-yard drive.
He scored again on a 9-yard run to open the third quarter to make it 13-0, and carried a mixed Olympia offense that was missing running back Scott Gunther, who is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
“We had to do some things different not having Scott around, and that’s what I told the kids,” Beattie said. “We were down some guys, and we made some mistakes, but if they’re the No. 3 team in the state — we feel like we beat them, but lost the game.”
Alexander found Martin Brazier on a 19-yard pass for Gig Harbor’s first score with 4:59 to play in the third quarter.
Woodward scored again with 11:55 to play in the fourth to increase Olympia’s lead to 20-7, but that’s when Olson-Urbon’s kickoff return on the following drive sent the Tides on a 20-6 scoring run.
“I don’t think anyone in the world expected that game tonight,” Beattie said. “And you have to give them a little bit of credit, too. They were down and they battled back and played.”
Gig Harbor 0 0 7 20_27
Olympia 0 6 7 13_26
O-David Woodward 9 run (kick failed)
O-Woodward 9 run (Skyler Davis kick)
G-Martin Brazier 19 pass from Davis Alexander (Rafael Borges kick)
O-Woodward 5 run (Davis kick)
G-Kyle Olson-Urbon 98 kickoff return (kick blocked)
G-Olson-Urbon 51 pass from Alexander (Borges kick)
G-Olson-Urbon 10 pass from Alexander (Borges kick)
O-Zaiden Hernandez 2 pass from Jack Bell (2-pt attempt no good)