Tumwater High School lost on Saturday night at Civic Stadium. Coach Bill Beattie acknowledged that fact, but also felt it if given more time, the result might have been different than a 28-27 defeat at the hands of Lynden at Civic Stadium in a Class 2A quarterfinals game.
“Heck of a battle by our kids,” Beattie said. “Our defense shutting them down in the second half. We were just grinding out runs. You know, that’s the way the game goes. If we played another quarter, we’d be fine. But it’s a four-quarter game. (Lynden) is a very great football team.”
The T-Birds put themselves into an early 14-0 hole, but rallied in the fourth quarter. Dylan Loftis scored on 2-yard run, but Nathan Vani’s PAT attempt was blocked. That made it 28-27 with 5:42 to go in the final quarter.
Tumwater’s defense hunkered down on the Lions’ next possession, forcing a punt with 3:59 left. After converting a fourth-and-13, the T-Birds were inching into Lions territory as the clock wound down.
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With 16 seconds left, the T-Birds lined up for a 22-yard field goal attempt. Despite Vani having been the primary kicker for the game, junior Reid Little was the one who trotted out onto the field for the attempt.
Beattie said that decision was not out of the ordinary as Little handled the kicking responsibilities for a majority of the season until Little went down an injury. Additionally, Little has more distance than Vani, Beattie said.
But the kick sailed wide left, which ended the T-Birds’ season.
“We played our hearts out,” Loftis said. “Lynden’s a great team. We had some mistakes early on in the game, which in my opinion caused us this loss. But, I have respect for their team, and they deserve it.
“I think we beat ourselves early on in the game. Lynden took advantage of our mistakes. From then on, they just had the momentum. We finished strong, but not strong enough.”
The sixth-seeded T-Birds (10-2) fell behind early with fumbles on their first two drives to begin the game. This allowed for third-seeded Lynden (11-0) senior quarterback James Marsh to flash his versatility with a 1-yard touchdown run and 11-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, which gave the Lions a 14-0 lead.
Tumwater freshman tight end Austin Terry got the T-Birds on the board first with a 4-yard touchdown reception at the 11:54 mark in the second quarter, to cut the lead to 14-7.
Marsh answered again for the Lions, scoring on a 6-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.
Tumwater sophomore running back Turner Allen answered with an 8-yard scoring run about five minutes later, but Lynden had a response. Marsh threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Kobe Elsner to make it 28-14 at halftime.
The T-Birds came out swinging in the second half. Loftis punched in a 2-yard touchdown to cut the Lions’ lead to 28-21 with 3:37 left in the third quarter to start the team’s rally.
For the game, Loftis led all rushers with 148 yards on 19 carries. Of those 148 yards, 117 came in the second half.
NO. 6 TUMWATER
NO. 3 LYNDEN
L – James Marsh 1 run (Marko Sarnoukovic kick)
L – Marsh 11 pass from Brock Heppner (Sarnoukovic kick)
T – Austin Terry 4 pass from Cody Whalen (Nathan Vani kick)
L – Marsh 6 run (Sarnoukovic kick)
T – Turner Allen 8 run (Vani kick)
L – Elsner 20 pass from Marsh (Sarnoukovic kick)
T – Dylan Loftis 2 run (Vani kick)
T – Loftis 2 run (kick failed)
Passing: L – Marsh 12-19-162; Heppner 5-8-34. T – Whalen 3-6-23.
Rushing: L – Trevin Melendez 6-30; Marsh 19-72; Heppner 7-7. T – Loftis 19-148; Zane Murphy 7-44; Allen 17-109; Hunter Baker 10-41; Whalen 4-16; Terry 2-13.
Receiving: L – Melendez 3-15; Heppner 3-8; Grant Vander Yacht 6-90; Marsh 1-10; Carson Bode 1-18; Elsner 3-55. T – Danny Goodburn 2-19; Terry 1-4.