Who said high-action rivalry football games have to wait until November?
The regular season in Spanaway kicked off with a doozy of a season opener Friday night – and it all came down to the final play.
Ryan Smolko, the single-season South Puget Sound League record-holder in scoring, kicked a 24-yard field goal with one second remaining, lifting Bethel to a 38-35 victory over Spanaway Lake at Art Crate Field.
The two teams combined for 552 rushing yards, with the Sentinels netting 313. But it was Bethel that went 55 yards in the final 2:54 to set up Smolko’s game-winner.
“I am very proud of them,” Bethel coach Gavin Kralik said about his offensive players on that final drive. “And no question (Smolko) is a stud. He never missed an extra point last year (59-for-59) ... and that field goal was basically an extra point from the hash(mark).”
Spanaway Lake was seeking its first win over the Braves since 2005, led much of the first half – and ended up tying the score at 35 on quarterback Joe Martin’s 2-yard touchdown scamper with 3:06 remaining.
But the Sentinels aided Bethel’s final drive by committing a couple of penalties.
And earlier in the game, special teams also swung in the Braves’ favor – they returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score, and a punt 71 yards for a TD.
At Curtis 20, Emerald Ridge 0: Scott Wismer threw for 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his first start at quarterback, and the Vikings shook off a sluggish start to upend the Jaguars in University Place.
At Federal Way 41, Rogers 14: Five different Eagles scored touchdowns in the first half – capped by sophomore Chico McClatcher’s 64-yard punt return, and the No. 5 Eagles cruised to the victory over the Rams at Memorial Stadium.
Bellarmine Prep 38, at Peninsula 14: Lou Millie scored four times – three on touchdown runs – as the 4A No. 2 Lions overcame an early deficit to rout the Seahawks in Purdy. Peninsula, ranked No. 8 in 3A, committed five turnovers.
Lake Oswego (Ore.) 34, at Olympia 0: The defending 6A champion Lakers from Oregon forced three turnovers, rolled up 415 total yards and posted the first shutout of the Bears since 2007 – when Olympia lost to Gig Harbor, 14-0.
At South Kitsap 37, Kentridge 20: Bryce Broome tallied two short touchdown runs, and the Wolves’ defense pitched a shutout for nearly three quarters in helping new coach Eric Canton to record his first career victory in Port Orchard.
At Orting 21, Eatonville 9: Jaysen Yoro scored twice, including the decisive touchdown on a 19-yard gallop in the third quarter, and the Cardinals limited the Cruisers’ wing-T offense to 34 rushing yards in a victory in Orting.
At Cashmere 39, Cascade Christian 0: The four-time 1A finalists were hammered on the road in Cashmere. Moe Roberts had a pair of scoring runs in the first quarter to lead the Bulldogs to the win.
At Charles Wright Academy 56, Tacoma Baptist 6: Fritz Jacobson ran for two touchdowns, passed for another and the Tarriers ran away for the victory over the Crusaders in University Place.