After seeing drive after drive ended by an interception in the first half, it seemed as if Tacoma Baptist was quickly out of the game by halftime. Quarterback Taylor Martindale rebounded to lead a strong second-half effort, but it fell just short as the Crusaders lost 25-22 to Napavine in the 2B state quarterfinals on Nov. 18, ending their season.
“It showed our character. It showed who we were,” said Tacoma Baptist coach Mark Smith of the Crusaders’ comeback efforts. “They battled back.”
Napavine quickly went up 13-0 in the first quarter after interceptions by Ty Lorton and Lorenzo Brown set up short touchdown runs by Tucker Stanley and Layne Hellem.
Tacoma Baptist drove deep into Napavine territory on its next two drives, but interceptions by Brown and Ro Sevilla ended their threats, and Stanley hit Lorton on a 15-yard touchdown pass to put the Tigers up 19-0 at the half.
The Crusaders came out strong in the second half, as Martindale – who finished with 21 carries for 139 yards and two touchdowns – scored from five yards out to cut the deficit to 19-7. After a three-and-out defensively, Martindale capped a 12-play, 79-yard drive when he hit a diving Kody Lyons in the back of the end zone from 13 yards out to make it 19-14.
“That’s a play we run out of our thunder package, which is a short-yardage (formation),” Smith said. “We wanted to try to catch them off guard a little bit and got behind them. It was a tremendous throw and a tremendous catch.”
After Hellem scored from a yard out to put the Tigers up 25-14, Martindale led the Crusaders back downfield, scoring on a 12-yard run as he plowed over defenders. Zach Finley dove in from two yards out for the two-point conversion to make the score 25-22 with just over three minutes left in the game.
“That’s one thing about our team. When we are down, we have the potential to always get back,” said Finley, who also made several key tackles at linebacker. “We just never give up.”
Despite the second-half efforts, Stanley helped Napavine run out the clock, ending the Crusaders’ hopes of a stunning comeback.
“What we did in the second half, we should have done in the first half,” Smith said. “We were out of sync in the first half, we just didn’t get it going. But that’s high school football.”
Martindale went 13-for-21 for 111 yards and a touchdown with the four interceptions, while Scott Peterson had seven catches for 67 yards and Lyons tallied five catches for 41
yards. Stanley led the Tigers with 127 yards rushing on 22 carries.
“We wanted it bad,” Finley said. “We gave it our best, we tried our hardest. No regrets.”
By Jeremy Helling
SKYVIEW CRUISES OVER BELLARMINE
Heading south on I-5 into hostile territory gives one plenty of time to think about many things. Coming off of two postseason wins over Graham-Kapowsin and Edmonds-Woodway, the Bellarmine Lions rode that mighty wave of momentum into Vancouver on Nov. 19.
Carrying a three-point lead into the locker room at halftime, the Skyview Storm seized the momentum and advanced to the semifinals at Tacoma Dome with a 42-17 win at the Kiggins Bowl to bring Bellarmine’s season to an end.
“Two great teams played here today and Skyview was definitely the better team,” said a somber Bellarmine coach Tom Larsen as he tried to put the great 2011 season into perspective for the Narrows League champions. “I’m so proud of the great leadership of the senior class and could not have asked for more with their great attitude all season long.” And as the emotions began to show from this 2011 Lions squad long after the final whistle, one could not begin to look back to the many great moments in this memorable season until all the emotions from the game had evaporated.
“The time that I have spent here was such a life-changing experience and the friendships that I developed both on and off the field is something that I will never forget,” said senior co-captain Michael Rector, who will attend Washington next year.
While emotions ran high for the better part of an hour after the game, great memories were at the forefront of many.
“The Lion pride experience was incredible for all four years of my education here,” added Rector.
While emotions would subside among the players, they began to take over with the assistant coaches.
“You guys have left a legacy here for many years to come, it will be a challenge for upcoming senior classes to duplicate,” said linebackers coach Mike Mauss.
One could not but think ahead to the 2012 season. With eight starters returning on the offensive side of the ball, including quarterback Sefo Liufau and running back Isaiah Flynn, the future remains extremely bright for the defending Narrows League champions.
By Steve Mullen