With the recent problems of player turnout at Tacoma Baptist, head coach Mark Smith was already at a bit of a disadvantage heading into the Crusaders’ season opener – having cancelled a game against Charles Wright the week before. But in the end the bigger problem was the juggernaut Life Christian offense, which rolled to a 55-8 victory on Sept. 14 at Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood.
“We came back nicely after the La Conner loss (27-7 on Sept. 7) last week, and it gives us a bit of a boost when you look at our next two weeks with Charles Wright and Cascade Christian on the docket,” said first-year Life Christian coach Tim Kuykendall.
Following Taylor Roelofs’ 60-yard touchdown run that started the scoring, Tacoma Baptist captured their only lead of the night at 8-7 after Elijah Kazarovich’s six-yard touchdown run. But the Eagles would make short work of the deficit when Roelofs completed a six-yard scoring pass to Chris Haley to give the Eagles the lead for good.
Limited to just 30 players themselves, the Eagles took advantage of every opportunity given to them, and the multi-faceted talents of Roelofs took the Eagles to the easy win on the night. Roelofs, who went just 3-for-11 passing on the night, did the real damage with his feet as he carried 10 times for 111 yards and four touchdowns.
"I can’t say enough about Taylor’s efforts tonight, he was incredible,” said Kuykendall. Knowing full well the advantage that he would have, Kuykendall decided he would take another approach in preparing his team for the game.
“I wanted us to focus on just the strengths of our team and ultimately our own execution tonight,” said Kuykendall.
The win for Life was also about the exploits of running back Lionel Hampton, who added a 60-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“The defense set the tone right away and after giving up the early score they did a masterful job of shutting down the Baptist offense on the night,” Kuykendall said. Kuyendall’s next challenge will be a large one in the upcoming two weeks, as they will face Charles Wright and Cascade Christian back to back. “It will be tough for sure, but we’ll have to be up for the challenge in consecutive weeks against these two fine teams,” Kuyendall said.
By Steve Mullen
LINCOLN CRUISES PAST STADIUM
In a renewal of the great football tradition that has featured many names from the past – including Dave Williams and Tim McDonough (Lincoln) and Sam Baker (Stadium) – the Lincoln Abes would celebrate their school centennial with a 62-0 win over the Stadium Tigers in a game that was never in doubt from start to finish on Sept. 14 at Lincoln Bowl.
“We could not have played better on the defensive side of the ball,” said Abes head coach Jon Kitna. “It was a good win from that standpoint.”
Jordan Kitna would ignite the Lincoln offense by throwing for 240 yards and three touchdowns, continuing his steady play on the young season. The Abes rolled up 377 yards of total offense, and got a lot of scoring help from their defense as well.
“It was as dominating a defensive performance as I’ve seen in a while,” said Kitna of the performance by the Abe defense, which reached the endzone four times on the afternoon. Foremost among the Abes’ defenders was Rayshaun Miller, who scored on both sides of the ball to continue his stellar early season play for Lincoln.
Entering week two of the season and cracking the 3A rankings last week at No. 10, the Abes have their sights set on a higher goal – the Narrows League title and a trip to the state playoffs.
“Timberline and North Thurston are the teams to beat, but we cannot look ahead beyond one game at a time,” said Kitna. “That is a good way to lose focus.”
Coming out of the locker room at halftime, the Lincoln defense would turn the Tigers back again, leaving Stadium head coach Jess Nelson applauding the Abes as well.
“That was as good a defensive effort as I have seen in a while,” Nelson said.
The Abes improved to 2-0 on the young season, with a homecoming date against Mount Tahoma on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. at Lincoln Bowl. Stadium will look to rebound in their Narrows 4A opener at Yelm on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.
By Steve Mullen
LATE FIELD GOAL LIFTS LIONS PAST LANCERS
After struggling offensively in the early going against Lakes, Bellarmine Prep turned to the smallest player on the field when it mattered most. And Nathan Goltermann delivered.
The junior running back – standing at just 5-foot-4 and weighing 122 pounds – carried nine times for 38 yards on the Lions’ final drive to set up Matthew Philichi’s game-winning field goal to give Bellarmine Prep a 16-14 win over the Lancers on Sept. 13 at Harry Lang Stadium.
“That’s (my) first time being in that situation,” said Goltermann, who finished with 23 carries for 118 yards. “It’s really hard, but if you keep pushing through you’ll come out on top. That’s what I did…my running back coach just tells me to believe in myself and have faith.”
Lakes dominated the first half, but held a slim 7-0 lead at the break on Caleb Lyons’ six-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. The Lancers turned the ball over on downs at the Lions’ 26-yard line on their first drive of the game, and fumbled at Bellarmine’s five-yard line on their next possession.
Philichi had a chance to put the Lions on the board midway through the second quarter, but his 43-yard field goal sailed just left. Lakes then stormed 77 yards in seven plays, but were stopped short on fourth-and-goal, denying them a chance to go up by two scores at the break.
The Lancers finally added their second touchdown early in the second half, as Xzavier Weston scored on a 26-yard run to cap a 10-play, 86-yard drive. But Goltermann answered with a nine-yard touchdown for the Lions four plays later, after quarterback Lou Millie hit Drew Griffin for a 50-yard completion on 3rd-and-8 to keep the drive alive. Goltermann added a key 29-yard scamper on the Lions’ next possession, setting up Millie’s one-yard touchdown seven plays later.
“He’s a tough kid,” said Bellarmine Prep head coach Tom Larsen of Goltermann. “He’s so small and slippery, slick and quick. He gets the job done. I’m proud of him.”
But the extra point was botched, leaving the Lions down 14-13.
After Lyons – who led Lakes with 16 carries for 89 yards – returned the ensuing kickoff to Bellarmine’s 26-yard line, the Lions’ defense stood firm, as Garrett Letts and Nick Dionas came up with back-to-back clutch tackles to snuff out the Lancers’ threat. That set up the final drive, fueled by Goltermann and finished by Philichi’s game-winning boot from 33 yards out with just over a minute remaining.
“I didn’t really expect the game to come down to a kick, because I believe in our team,” Philichi said. “But I was prepared.”
Bellarmine quickly ended Lakes’ final chance when Letts intercepted Kemonee Jenkins on the first play of the next drive.
By Jeremy Helling