Timberline High School found itself in an unusual position Friday night — trailing a Class 3A South Sound Conference game at the half.
The seventh-ranked Blazers rallied in the second half, eventually turning in a 23-14 win over Yelm on Friday night at South Sound Stadium, but it was Timberline’s closest call so far.
At the break, two big plays by visiting Yelm had the Blazers looking at the short end of a 14-10 score.
The Tornados countered Timberline’s first touchdown Carson Ament’s 95-yard kickoff return, and grabbed the lead four minutes before intermission on Kyle Robinson’s 16th touchdown pass of the season, a 33-yarder to Kodee Gifford.
Then, Timberline’s Michael Barnes and the offensive went to work. Held to just 28 yards rushing in the first half, Barnes finished with 30 carries for 146 yards. Lonnie Anderson ended the game with 10 carries for 53 yards. Quarterback Hunter Campau, on a combination of designed keepers and scrambles, totaled 77 yards on 24 carries.
“We started getting a good push from our line,” Barnes said. “I trust my guys. I was just following them.”
The Blazers (6-0, 4-0 3A SSC) also turned in a stellar defensive effort. Robinson, who came into the game completing 57 percent of his passes for 1,227 yards, was held to seven completions in 27 tries for 99 yards, with two interceptions and the touchdown pass to Gifford.
“Their quarterback is legit,” Timberline coach Nick Mullen said. “We played our game and held them to only two big passing gains.”
“It’s huge to keep him silenced for the most part,” added Barnes. “We know how good he is, we’ve seen a lot of tape. We take a lot of pride in our defense, though.”
Timberline took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter on an 8-yard touchdown run by Campau, only to see Amendt even things with a sprint up the left sideline on the kickoff.
A 28-yard field goal by Toby Selvester reclaimed the lead for Timberline before Robinson found Gifford to give Yelm (4-2, 3-1) its halftime edge.
Timberline caught a break just when it looked like it had squandered a break to take the lead for good. Jamin Faalogo fumbled the short opening kickoff of the second half, but alertly recovered it himself to seemingly give the Blazers a first down at their 45-yard line.
But one of three personal fouls against Timberline on the night set them back, and the Blazers were forced to punt on fourth-and-23.
The punt seemed about to roll dead, when it hopped up and hit Yelm return man Jacob McCown in the ankle, giving Timberline a chance to recover at the Tornados’ 32.
From there, the Blazers drove in to score on a 1-yard run by Campau.
“Our guys were running downfield with reckless abandon,” Mullen said of the recovery. “We were due for a break on special teams.”
Barnes iced the game for the Blazers with a 4-yard touchdown run five and a half minutes before the end.
NO. 7 TIMBELRINE
T – Hunter Campau 8 run (Toby Selvester kick)
Y – Carson Amendt 95 kickoff return (Cody Frye kick)
T – Selvester 28 field goal
Y – Kodee Gifford 33 pass from Kyle Robinson (Frye kick)
T – Campau 1 run (kick failed)
T – Michael Barnes 4 run (Selvester kick)