With two games left to play in the regular season, this Timberline High School football team is on the cusp of repeating as Class 3A South Sound Conference champions.
But, coach Nick Mullen doesn’t want to think that far ahead just yet.
“We’re in a good spot,” he said. “But, anyone can beat anyone on Friday night.”
Seven weeks in, though, no team has topped Timberline.
Another convincing win over Gig Harbor on Friday night in Purdy has the eighth-ranked Blazers (7-0, 5-0) alone at the top of the 3A SSC standings, with North Thurston and Peninsula remaining on the schedule.
Hunter Campau and Ty Edmond scored two touchdowns apiece, and the Blazers played three quarters of shutout football to remain undefeated with a 27-10 win over the Tides at Roy Anderson Field.
“We knew it was going to be a tough environment here,” junior Colton Steepy said. “The student section is big, loud. We prepared for this all week.”
And, though the Blazers gave up a pair of early scores in the first quarter, their sturdy defense — which is allowing just 9 points per game this season — left little room for doubt in the final three frames.
Steepy picked off Gig Harbor quarterback Ryan Baerg early in the second quarter, and scored the game-winning touchdown a minute later.
Michael Barnes — who rushed for a game-high 150 yards on 19 carries — picked up 33 yards on consecutive attempts to set the Blazers up at the 10.
Campau found Steepy alone in the back of the end zone two plays later for a 6-yard score with nine minutes, 46 seconds to play in the first half.
“We have one of the best defenses in the state, so that really helps us right there,” Campau said. “We’re a run team first, so our offensive line helps us out running the ball the whole game.
“We really only pass when we need to. This week, we got all of the wide receivers together and talked about it, and I feel like we’re getting better every week as we go.”
Gig Harbor never reached the red zone after that drive.
Timberline held Gig Harbor to negative rushing yards, and dropped the Tides behind the line of scrimmage 10 times.
Forced turnovers twice led to Blazers touchdowns.
“We got turnovers when we needed turnovers, we got takeaways when we needed takeaways,” Mullen said. “I think up front we played really well, we read all of our keys right.”
Timberline took an early lead on a 3-yard touchdown plunge by Campau in the first quarter before the Tides answered with scores on back-to-back drives.
Ben Hollenbeck beat Steepy down the sideline, and Baerg found him for a 46-yard touchdown to tie the score.
Gig Harbor took its only lead with a minute to play in the first quarter when Logan Kinney connected for a 34-yard field goal.
Steepy intercepted Baerg’s pass three minutes later before eventually scoring the winning touchdown.
Baerg finished 18 of 31 for 238 yards, with the one touchdown and interception. Hollenbeck led all receivers with 122 yards on eight receptions.
But, the Blazers limited the Tides to just 62 yards through the air in the second half.
“We just changed our alignment a little bit,” Mullen said. “Once we fixed a few things, we got better over the top.”
Edmond, primarily a middle linebacker, added two rushing touchdowns of 8 and 2 yards in the second half to help the Blazers pull away.
Timberline combined for 262 yards on the ground, with five players contributing carries.
“We’ve got guys who can carry the ball,” Mullen said. “We are very lucky to have that many guys in the stable.”
Gig Harbor remained within striking distance until midway the fourth quarter when a fumble at midfield set Timberline up for its final score with five minutes to play.
Edmond stamped the eight-play drive, powering 2 yards up the middle to push Timberline’s lead to three scores with 1:13 remaining.
NO. 7 TIMBERLINE
T – Hunter Campau 3 run (Tolby Selvester kick)
GH – Ben Hollenbeck 46 pass from Ryan Baerg (Logan Kinney kick)
GH – Logan Kinney 34 field goal
T – Colton Steepy 6 pass from Campau (Selvester kick)
T – Ty Edmond 8 run (kick failed)
T – Edmond 2 run (Selvester kick)