With sheets of rain driven across the field by hard winds ceaselessly throughout the game, leaving inch deep puddles between the hash marks, football became a little different on Rainier High School’s grass field Saturday night.
“The elements affect both teams,” said Mountaineers coach Terry Shaw, “but obviously the rain affected us on our snaps more.”
Both teams dropped the ball regularly, but with No. 3 Napavine rallied around junior quarterback Dawson Stanley’s 108 yards rushing, and the Tigers shut out No. 5 Rainier for the second straight year, 22-0.
With the exception of one play – a 53-yard gain by Napavine running back Cole VanWyck during a fourth quarter scoring drive – Stanley was the only offense either team would generate. Rainier barely reached positive offensive yardage while Stanley ran for two of Napavine’s touchdowns and passed for the third.
The victory kept the Tigers (7-1, 5-0) unbeaten in the 2B Central Mountain division with only a home game against Chief Leschi remaining. The Mountaineers’ (6-2, 4-2) next game will come in the postseason.
Napavine scored the only points of the first quarter when blitzing defensive back Noah Lantz sacked Rainier quarterback Zach Lofgren in the end zone for a safety. The Tigers extended their halftime lead to 8-0 when Stanley kept the ball five consecutive plays, finishing with a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter.
Stanley picked up where he left off after Napavine received the second-half kickoff. He carried all 11 snaps of a 67-yard drive, again scoring from one yard out.
“I told the guys I was proud of their effort defensively,” Shaw said. “They had to work for what they got.”
A six-yard pass from Stanley to Landon Dahl concluded the scoring in the fourth quarter.
Rainier also caught a bad break when, tackled at the end of a 9-yard third quarter gain, junior Cole Reise suffered a leg injury and was carried off the field by paramedics.
“It was a tough night.” Shaw said. “But except for a couple long gains, we hung with these guys. We can hang with any team in the state.”
N – Safety, Noah Lantz tackles Zach Lofgren in end zone
N – Dawson Stanley 1 run (pass failed)
N- Stanley 1 run (Lantz run)
N – Lamdon Dahl 6 pass from Stanley (run failed)