At the start of the week, coach Marty Parkhurst had already inquired about a caterer and ordered team plaques for his end-of-season football team banquet at Orting High School.
By the end of the week, he scratched his head in disbelief – his team was headed to the Class 2A football playoffs after a 35-20 home victory over Fife.
While he and his team celebrated claiming the No. 4 – and final seed – from the SPSL 2A, across Pierce County, a Clover Park team was heartbroken and devastated after it learned Friday afternoon it would be forfeiting two games over an eligibility infraction.
In fact, under a new state law, because the hearing happened within 10 days of the start of the postseason, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association had to convene a special executive board meeting to determine the Warriors’ fate.
A two-game deduction was leveled, giving Clover Park – once a lock for a district playoff berth – faint hope to make it back into the postseason. But the Warriors were eliminated later Friday night in a 48-14 loss to Steilacoom in Lakewood.
Meanwhile, Orting players had heard the news Friday afternoon, and arrived in the locker before the game and saw three things written by Parkhurst on the grease board.
“Go Orting, beat Fife!”
“Go Sumner, beat White River!”
“Go (Steilacoom), beat Clover Park!”
“Our kids had a little extra bounce to their step tonight,” Parkhurst said.
And when it was announced right after halftime that Sumner led White River, the Cardinals went on a seven-minute, 75-yard drive, capped by Trevor Grzelak’s 1-yard TD run, to grab a 29-7 lead to take firm control.
The Cardinals will travel to Lindbergh next week for a state play-in game. Also qualifying from the SPSL 2A are league champion Sumner (No. 1 seed), Steilacoom (No. 2) and Washington (No. 3).
“A lot of things fell into place,” Parkhurst said. “What were the odds – 1 in a million?”
Rogers 31, at Puyallup 29: This time, the Rams did not let the game get away late, stopping the Vikings on a final drive near midfield and earning the division’s No. 4 seed to the district playoffs.
In a 121/2-minute span around halftime, Rogers ran off 17 straight points, capped by LaGrant Pegram’s 80-yard touchdown gallop.
At Graham-Kapowsin 49, Spanaway Lake 14: Six of the Eagles’ touchdowns were 20 yards or longer, starting with receiver Kahlil Dawson’s 64-yard run in the first quarter, and the Eagles cruised at Art Crate Field.
Olympia 29, at Yelm 22: Bill Beattie’s group advanced to the playoffs for an eighth consecutive time, but had to turn away the Tornados twice inside the Bears’ 30 in the final 21/2 minutes to grab the league’s No. 3 seed.
Yelm stalled at the Bears’ 30 as time expired.
At Bellarmine Prep 38, Gig Harbor 20: In a Memorial Field mud pit, the Lions rode Brandon Thompson for 181 rushing yards and three touchdowns to head into the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak.
Garret McKay’s 60-yard punt return in the third quarter set up Thompson’s final score, a 7-yard run, giving the Lions a 35-6 lead.
Auburn Mountainview 30, at Bonney Lake 26: The Lions broke a 14-all tie by scoring 16 consecutive points in the third quarter – highlighted by a gadget play – to win at Sunset Chev Stadium.
On an end-around, receiver Joey Cassano passed to running back Kekoa Nahaku on a bubble screen, and he took it 65 yards for a TD – and 30-14 lead.
Coupled with Enumclaw’s 22-20 win over Decatur, the Lions go to the district playoffs as the league’s No. 3 seed.
Wilson 41, at Stadium 14: Devon Phillips rushed for 215 yards and four TDs – two coming 39- and 3-yard runs in the first quarter, and the Rams won at Stadium Bowl. Phillips gained 145 of his 215 yards in the first half.
Cascade Christian 14, at Cedar Park Christian 0: For the second time in three weeks, the Cougars traveled north to play the Eagles. And for the second time, Cascade Christian shut them out, clinching the No. 3 spot to the 1A playoffs – and a date next week at No. 1 King’s.