Lightning struck first, but the final strike came courtesy of the Tumwater Thunderbirds.
A lightning strike early in the first quarter forced Thursday’s 2A Evergreen Conference football game between Tumwater and River Ridge into an immediate 30-minute delay. But when play resumed, the league-leading T-Birds claimed their third straight EvCo title with a 27-12 victory over the Hawks.
The win also gave Tumwater (7-1 overall, 4-0 EvCo) the league’s No. 1 seed into the District IV crossover playoff game the weekend of Nov. 2-3.
The downpour began right at kickoff at South Sound Stadium in Lacey, and the soggy conditions continued the rest of the game. River Ridge ran one offensive play from scrimmage – a 6-yard run by Elijah Camacho – before the one-and-done lightning strike came and sent both teams into their respective locker rooms. The game resumed with 11 minutes, 28 seconds left in the first quarter.
Tumwater led 14-6 at halftime, despite holding a 157-59 advantage in total offense. With the T-Birds leading 14-0 late in the second quarter, River Ridge freshman Kobe Key picked off quarterback Jayden Croft and took it 63 yards for a touchdown with 1:29 to play in the half.
Four players scored touchdowns for Tumwater – Kyle Plamondon (10-yard catch), Tyrus Snow (8-yard run), Jaimie Bryant (2-yard run) and Dakota Tresner (2-yard run).
The scoring runs by Bryant and Tresner in the third quarter helped the T-Birds finally pull away. Tresner (137 yards, 20 carries), Snow (91 yards, 14 carries) and Andrew Brown (127 yards, 12 carries) led a T-Birds offense that finished with 343 total yards.
The Hawks hurt themselves with turnovers in the first half – four fumbles (three lost) – but Wesley Coats’ 8-yard touchdown catch with 6:17 to go in the third quarter pulled River Ridge (5-3, 2-2) to 21-12.