High School Sports

Takeaways from the state quarterfinals for high school football in Thurston County

Black Hills wide receiver Ethan Loveless (4) lays out for a pass in front of Fife defensive back Kacey Koehn during Friday night’s 2A football state quarterfinal game at Tumwater District Stadium on Nov. 16, 2018. Fellow wide receiver Nic Bovencamp (82) came away with the reception.
Black Hills wide receiver Ethan Loveless (4) lays out for a pass in front of Fife defensive back Kacey Koehn during Friday night’s 2A football state quarterfinal game at Tumwater District Stadium on Nov. 16, 2018. Fellow wide receiver Nic Bovencamp (82) came away with the reception. toverman@theolympian.com

The weekend was not kind to the four Olympia-area teams in the quarterfinals of state playoffs. Each team — Yelm, Timberline, Tumwater and Black Hills — all saw their seasons come to an end.

1. Black Hills’ stellar season over

The 2018 campaign from the Wolves will be remembered as one of the best in school history, but the ending of the season will certainly want to be forgotten.

No. 2 Black Hills turned in their worst offensive performance of the year in their Class 2A quarterfinals game against No. 7 Fife at Tumwater District Stadium as the Wolves were shut out 14-0.

It was the lowest point total since Week 8 when Black Hills beat Tumwater 22-17. On the season, there was only one other instance when the Wolves failed to score 33 points in a game — Week 5 against W.F. West.

And last week in the opening round of the 2A playoffs, the No. 2 Wolves looked every bit of a top seed as they dismantled Burlington-Edison 48-8.

But the No. 7 Trojans were able to stop the Wolves in their tracks.

Black Hills running back Taylor Simmons, who came into the game with 1,149 rushing yards and 21 total TDs, was held to just 17 yards on 12 carries. As a team, the Wolves finished with 190 yards of total offense. Two interceptions, a fumble and eight penalties didn’t do the Wolves any favors, either.

Despite the offense failing to get anything going, it was still a tie game with four and a half minutes remaining the fourth quarter. Two late touchdowns, a 55-yard pass and 23-yard run, sealed the deal for the Trojans.

The Wolves (11-1) end the year as the first team in school history to reach the quarterfinals, to win the 2A EvCo league championship and to receive a No. 2 seed in the state playoffs.

2. Tumwater learns the other side

Last week, No. 6 Tumwater was able to get revenge as they took down No. 11 Prosser, 21-14, in the opening round of the 2A playoffs. It was a rematch of the 2015 State Championship, a game in which the Mustangs edged out the T-Birds, 22-15.

This week, the T-Birds went on the road to face No. 3 Lynden at Civic Stadium in the quarterfinals. The T-Birds knocked out the Lions in the opening round, 23-21, last year.

The Lions were the victors this time in a 28-27 thriller. The T-Birds fell behind very early on with two fumbles, which resulted in a rushing and receiving touchdown from versatile Lions quarterback James Marsh to put his team ahead 14-0.

The Lions would eventually build a 28-14 lead heading into halftime. But the T-Birds responded with a strong second half as running back Dylan Loftis chugged his way to 148 rushing yards on 17 carries.

Loftis ran for TDs in the third and fourth quarters to cut the Lions’ lead to 28-27 after the tying PAT was missed. With 3:59 left in the game, the T-Birds were able to march the ball into Lions’ territory to set up a 22-yard field goal attempt as the clock was whittled down to 16 seconds.

Reid Little’s kick sailed wide left though, ending the T-Birds’ (9-2) season.

3. Yelm’s fast start not enough

Early on in No. 12 Yelm’s match up against No. 4 Belleuve in the 3A quarterfinals, it looked like the Tornados were going to stage another unlikely upset.

Coming off a 15-14 win over No. 5 Lakes in the opening round, the Tornados took a 20-0 first-quarter lead over the Wolverines. Quarterback Kyle Robinson tossed a 17-yard TD to Sylas Franklin and running back Carson Amendt scored from 3 yards and 1 yard out.

That would be the end of the scoring for the Tornados. The Wolverines defense shut out the Tornados for the final three quarters, intercepting Robinson four times.

Meanwhile, the Wolverines’ wing-T offense shredded the Tornados for 357 total yards on 61 carries.

Running back Drew Fowler finished with four TDs and 72 yards on 12 carries for the Wolverines in their 37-20 win. Teammate Alex Reid had 169 yards and a score on 20 carries.

“We were hoping to start fast and stay fast,” Yelm coach Jason Ronquillo said. “We did that. We started fast. We met goal No. 1.

“But, they kind of woke up, got to our speed, and we struggled to stop them.”

It’s the end for Tornados (8-4), who were playing in their first state playoffs since 1987.

4. Timberline outmatched by Eastside Catholic

Heading into No. 8 Timberline’s 3A quarterfinals match up against No. 1 Eastside Catholic at Seattle Memorial Stadium, it was no secret that the Blazers had a tough task.

The Crusaders boast a rich history (two state championships and seven playoff appearances in this decade) and carry a roster that is loaded with collegiate talent.

Eastside Catholic steamrolled the Blazers, 44-14. Three different players rushed for at least 50 yards for the Crusaders, with running back Sam Adams leading the way with 97 yards and three TDs on 17 carries. Adams added a 70-yard punt return TD.

The Blazers (11-1) bow out in the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year. Before 2017, the Blazers hadn’t reached the quarterfinals since 2006.

“Nobody expected this group to be here,” Timberline coach Nick Mullen said. “If you would have asked anyone at the beginning of the season, besides these kids, they would’ve said maybe (our record is) 5-5 or 6-4. They wouldn’t have said quarterfinals.

“The kids just believed in each other. This is the first group in a long time that just loves each other and would do anything for each other.”

5. 3A SSC’s run is done

The 3A SSC fielded three teams in the state quarterfinals with Yelm, Timberline and Peninsula all winning their respective opening round games.

It was a notable showing from the three schools and sent a message that the 3A SSC should be recognized as one of the tougher conferences.

With No. 7 Peninsula’s 35-19 loss against No. 2 O’Dea at Seattle Memorial Stadium, that now means all 3A SSC teams are out of the playoffs.

The 3A SSC is only in its third year of existence, but it’s the first time ever that the conference sent three teams to the state playoffs.

Logan Stanley: 360-754-5433, @LSscribe
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