After struggling all night against the Eatonville defense, the Charles Wright offense finally struck when it mattered most. Trailing 6-0 in the fourth quarter, the Tarriers launched a 10-play, 45-yard drive, scoring on Colin Reynolds’ 10-yard run with 7:36 left to beat the Cruisers 7-6 and claim the Nisqually League title.
Eatonville’s final drive – coming with just under a minute left in the game – was stopped quickly when Tarrier safety Fritz Jacobson picked off the Cruisers’ Zach Fairhart on the first play. The interception was the second of the game for Jacobson – the Tarriers’ quarterback making his first start at safety – after he squashed an Eatonville drive in the second quarter with a pick on the Tarriers’ five-yard line.
The beginning of the game looked as if it would be an offensive showcase, as Reynolds and Alexander Moore both ripped off runs over 20 yards on the Tarriers’ first drive, but an incompletion on fourth down turned the ball over to the Cruisers on their 30-yard line. They promptly marched back downfield on the legs of fullback Bradon Atkins, but were forced to punt on the Charles Wright 36-yard line.
The game then became a defensive struggle, but the Cruisers finally got on the board after launching a 12-play, 51-yard drive capped by Atkins’ one-yard plunge with just under a minute left in the first half. The Tarriers struggled to move the ball early in the second half, but finally got good field position after a penalty forced the Cruisers to re-punt early in the fourth quarter, and Collin Hungate’s 15-yard return set Charles Wright up at Eatonville’s 45-yard line. Hungate then came up with a huge 12-yard reception on 4th-and-7 to keep the resulting drive alive, and Hughey and Reynolds continued to churn out yards. Reynolds then provided the winning score after sweeping right and cutting back to the middle of the field from 10 yards out.
Reynolds finished with 11 carries for 60 yards, while Hughey led the Tarriers with 16 carries for 63 yards. Atkins led Eatonville with 20 carries for 58 yards.
The win not only gives the Tarriers the league title, but a bye directly into the 1A state playoffs, where they await their first matchup on either Nov. 9 or 10.