Week two of the high school football season is in the books in the Olympia area. Here are a few takeaways from the second week of action.
HARD LUCK AT QB CONTINUES FOR BLACK HILLS
Friday the 13th is rumored to bring bad luck.
For the Black Hills High School football team, the old superstition rang true this time. Not only did the Wolves lose a much-anticipated rematch with Fife, the squad that knocked them out of the 2018 2A state playoffs, 27-12 at Tumwater District Stadium, they watched yet another quarterback be injured.
Last season’s 2A Evergreen Conference champions went into ’18 counting on senior Ethan Loveless to cap his career with a great year under center, but midway though the season, he switched to wide receiver because of an elbow injury.
His replacement, Jaden Cote, now a junior, presided over a 4-1 end to the season and has a bright future. But Cote’s elbow has sidelined him as well. Off-season Tommy John surgery will need a year to mend.
Up stepped Ryan Moloney, a senior who backed up Loveless in 2017 and led a comeback last week as the Wolves beat Bremerton, 33-29 on the road. Down went Moloney on Friday night.
With Black Hills in the red zone, driving for a possible tying touchdown, Moloney was sacked near the Fife bench by linebacker Kasey Koehn and two other Trojans, twisting his lower back severely enough medical personnel determined he should be taken by ambulance to an emergency room.
Moloney never lost consciousness or movement but the injury could keep him out for an undetermined stretch. Running back Payton Hoyt slid over behind center for the final seven offensive snaps against Fife, but Black Hills coach Kirk Stevens didn’t immediately settle on a long-term solution.
“We’ve got some options,” he said.
Aside from Moloney’s injury, which resulted in a 35-minute delay, there were other bad breaks and challenges for the Wolves.
In last season’s 2A state playoff game between the teams, Black Hills couldn’t trick Fife.
After the Trojans had broken open a scoreless tie with little more than four minutes to play, the Wolves tried a halfback pass but Fife intercepted, all but ending Black Hills’ chances.
Friday, after Fife ran the ball every single previous play, fleet running back Jay Harper-Brooks took a pitch from quarterback Gabe Duenas and found senior Khalil Messiah for a 43-yard touchdown that broke the game open for good.
“We were keeping an eye out for it, but because they’d had so much success with their sweeps, we were late reacting to it,” Stevens said.
In a good news/bad news scenario, the game gave the Wolves an early look at an offense they’ll need to slow to hold off Tumwater later in the season, the wing-T. The bad news was it’s a tough scheme to prepare for.
“These kind of offenses are tough, especially when they’re run well,” Stevens said. “You can’t get that look in practice, can’t have your scout team run it. Once we settled in we were fine.”
Fife grabbed a 14-0 lead — the final score of that playoff win last season — after just five minutes, thanks to a Black Hills’ turnover and touchdown runs by Junior Faualo and Harper-Brooks.
After that “our defense kept us in the game,” Stevens said. “All night long we made big plays.”
He pointed to senior linebacker Ronnie Vader, back from injury, as a standout.
“He made some huge plays.”
The Wolves crossed the goal line on the final play of the first quarter on a six-yard run by Zach Loveless. They cut Fife’s lead to two points when the Trojans’ ensuing possession ended with a punt that Easton Casto blocked and Loveless returned 44 yards for a touchdown.
But Black Hills (1-1), which hosts 3A Prairie next week, would never score again.
“Offensively, we just couldn’t get in a rhythm,” Stevens said.
TUMWATER SPOILS ANOTHER 3A TEAM’S PLAN
Knowing how to beat Tumwater and actually doing it are two different things.
Yelm had a good game plan on Thursday night at Tumwater District Stadium and grabbed a first half lead. But after intermission, the Thunderbirds’ depth and precision took over.
After enduring a half hour delay mandated by nearby lightning strikes and a downpour that lasted most of the second half, the 2A Thunderbirds pulled away for a victory over a 2018 3A state playoff participant for the second week in a row, beating Yelm (0-2), 54-27.
Yelm had some sound ideas on defense and took advantage of the short kickoffs the T-Birds’ trio of kickoff specialists offered up to gain good field position. Problem was, with seven running backs piling up 479 rushing yards, Tumwater made sure there were too many kickoffs for Yelm to return.
“Our defense executed the game plan well in the first half,” Tornados coach Jason Ronquillo said. “We were trying to take away their main four plays — belly, trap, sweep and toss. In the second half, fatigue set in. They have a lot of skill. They’re a machine.”
Yelm did make the T-Birds rally from a rare halftime deficit.
Just after the resumption of play caused by a half hour delay mandated by the lightning strike, midway through the second quarter, the Tornados scored on a two-yard touchdown run by Carson Amendt. When Braden Hill kicked the first successful extra point of the night by either team, Yelm led 13-12.
The narrow advantage lasted through halftime, but Tumwater came out of the locker room upbeat, with one player yelling “T-Bird weather!” as his team ran through their cheerleaders’ second half poster.
“We wanted to keep playing,” said Dylan Paine, who rushed for 166 yards and a lifetime high five touchdowns. “We came out excited. We tried to stay hyped in the locker room even though we were down. We kept the energy high.”
Paine, who carried just a dozen times in his return from an ACL tear last week was the workhorse on Thursday, carrying 26 times. Fueled by an elusive 53-yard run, senior Jack Jones was right behind with 13 carries for 155 yards and a score. Turner Allen turned his one carry into a 66-yard scoring sprint up the left sideline.
“Dylan needed last week to get his feet under him,” Tumwater coach Bill Beattie said. “Jack Jones ran really hard tonight. We sputtered in the first half and Yelm played great defense. But our line did a great job blocking once we got going.”
It was Paine who put Tumwater ahead to stay, scoring on touchdown runs of 9 and 20 yards to cap the T-Birds first two possessions of the second half.
When Yelm closed to within a single touchdown on a 4-yard run by quarterback Ben Hoffman with five minutes left in the third quarter, Tumwater put it away with two more drives that ended with Paine touchdown runs.
Ronquillo hopes his team learned from the game.
“It’s a test of our physicality. They’re one of the most physical teams around here,” he said. “An early test of physicality is always welcome, especially when the kids get to watch it on film.”
BEARCATS STAY UNBEATEN, BLASTING CAPITAL
After senior running back Clayton Grady stunned the crowd in Chehalis with an 86-yard touchdown sprint that put Capital ahead, 7-0, the Cougars (0-2) didn’t enjoy W.F. West’s response.
The Bearcats scored all their points unanswered and went on to win, 47-29, to stay perfect after two.
Running back Jayden Carmoza rushed for 208 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries while quarterback Josiah Johnson figured in the other five W.F. West touchdowns, rushing for three and finding Max Taylor with two scoring passes.
Johnson rushed 10 times for 86 yards and completed 10 of 19 passes for 132 yards.
After the Bearcats prolonged scoring outburst, Capital countered with the final three touchdowns of the night. Quarterback Tristan Redman ran for a 12-yard score and connected with Troy Collard on a 65-yard pass. Alternate QB Elijah Hoffman found Grady Lindekugel for a 35-yard touchdown.
1A EAGLES SOAR IN ROAD ROUT OF 2A ROCHESTER
Elma continued to make its case for a return to the 1A state playoffs, crushing host Rochester, 63-14.
The Eagles took the lead early on the first of three Cody Vollan touchdown passes but Rochester immediately tied the score, 7-7, on a three-yard touchdown by Tristen Johnson. It was the last moment the game was in doubt.
Elma tallied four consecutive touchdowns before the Warriors could score again, on a 60-yard pass by Daniel May to Bodey Smith.
Vollan’s scoring strikes went to Noah Huttula, Tyson Richardson and Brady Shriver. Isaiah O’Farrill ran for three touchdowns while Vollan and Conan Baxter had one TD each on the ground.
Defensively, Richardson, Nick Church and Shriver had interceptions. Shriver’s was a pick six covering 21 yards.
TIMBERLINE RIGHTS THE SHIP
After that humbling 55-0 loss at Tumwater to start the season, the Blazers went on the road again and, this time, returned with a victory.
A touchdown pass from Adam Dafoe to Max Aunese with 1:13 to play lifted Timberline to a 21-16 win over Bonney Lake at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner. It was the Blazers’ third consecutive victory over the Panthers.
Running back Noah Cunningham, back from a minor injury that kept him from playing against the T-Birds, had a big kickoff return and coach Nick Mullen praised his defense’s play.