Defense was not on anybody’s mind in a freewheeling first half Saturday night at South Sound Stadium.
But the River Ridge defense, as much as its explosive offense, was the difference in the Hawks’ 55-27 victory over Lindbergh in a Class 2A district playoff football game.
The Hawks, who led the 2A South Puget Sound League in scoring defense in their league-championship season, limited Lindbergh to one second-half touchdown. On offense, the Hawks racked up 437 yards on the ground and 626 total yards in the game.
River Ridge (10-0) advances to a 7 p.m. game next Saturday in their home digs — the same South Sound Stadium — against North Kitsap.
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Lindbergh blinked first. The Eagles’ punt early in the second quarter — ending the first series of the game that didn’t result in a score — led to a Hawks touchdown on their next possession, earning River Ridge a two-score lead. Lindbergh never got within seven points again.
After a first half in which River Ridge scored five of the six times it had the ball, the Hawks got two second-half touchdowns from Padric Green and a closing score from Tre’Vonne Dorfner to bookend with his touchdown on the game’s second play from scrimmage.
If the Hawks never quite got a handle on DeMarco Sauls — who scored Lindbergh’s only touchdown of the second half on a 48-yard run, and also scored on runs of 65 and 43 yards — they squelched the rest of the Eagles, including the passing of sophomore quarterback Samuel Nehren.
The Hawks got big offensive numbers from a whole crew of players: Dorfner rushed 27 times for 191 yards and two touchdowns; Joshua Braverman had 109 yards and a score in six carries; Thomas Engel carried seven times for 79 yards and a score; and Green scored one TD on the ground and caught another.
Quarterback Kobe Key ran a tight ship — completing 13 of 16 passes for 169 yards and two scores, and running seven times for 53 yards and another touchdown.
Dorfner got the first-half scoring spree going early, taking a handoff on the game’s second play and, after a cut to the left, found himself in space and outran the world to the end zone on a 73-yard play.
Lindbergh countered with Sauls, who took a handoff, cut left and got past a last Hawks defender at the 1 before falling over the goal line.
As flashy and sudden as those scoring plays were, just as methodical were each team’s next possessions. Dorfner carried five times for 24 yards on a nine-play, 78-yard march on which the longest play was Kobe Key’s 17-yard completion to Kelle Sanders. Junior Thomas Engel powered 12 yards for the TD that gave Ridge a 14-6 lead.
The Eagles responded with an eight-play, 69-yard drive that netted a two-yard TD plunge by 250-pound lineman Korey Solo.
Late in the first quarter, it was back to flash and dash for the Hawks on Joshua Braverman’s 55-yard TD run. Key bumped the River Ridge lead to 28-13 on a 27-yard scoring scamper on the Hawks’ first series of the second quarter.
Lindbergh wasn’t done for the half, nor was Sauls. The 5-9, 190-pound senior broke loose for a 65-yard scoring sprint that got the Eagles within 28-20.
River Ridge built a two-score cushion late in the first half on a bit of trickery. The 6-5 Sanders, listed as a quarterback, took a double-reverse handoff and looked deep toward Padric Green, who snagged the pass in the end zone for a 34-20 Hawks lead.