A strong Burlington-Edison running game, mixed with the bitter cold of early November, meant an exit from the Class 2A state playoffs for the Orting High Cardinals.
In just his third game as a full-time starter, tailback Tyler Morrison rushed for 211 yards on 23 carries to lead the Tigers to a 35-21 victory at Cardinals Stadium on Friday night.
Morrison’s 14-yard touchdown run – his second of the first half – gave Burlington-Edison the lead for good, 21-14, with two minutes remaining.
After that, the Tigers just kept pounding away at the interior of Orting’s undersized defensive line, and rolled up 395 rushing yards.
“The last couple of weeks, we have been running the ball really well,” said Burlington-Edison coach Herb Lehman, who played his college ball at Pacific Lutheran. “We have some powerful running backs and a great offensive line.”
Yet, it was never a comfortable enough lead for the Tigers. After quarterback Dalton Schwetz snuck it in from 1-yard out late in the third quarter for a 28-14 Burlington-Edison lead, the Cardinals came right back to score.
On a sweep to the right side, Jaysen Yoro broke a couple of tackles, spun and took off 42 yards for a touchdown with 9.8 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Right after that, the Cardinals forced a three-and-out, got the football back and methodically drove down to the Tigers’ 26 behind the hard running of fullback Connor Rose (16 carries, 95 yards) and Yoro (team-high 131 yards on 17 carries).
But on a second-down run, Rose was tackled for a loss by Jeff Bajema, and apparently didn’t like the extra shove he received on the turf. He tapped Bajema on the side of the helmet, and was whistled for a 15-yard personal-foul penalty. Eventually, Orting was forced to punt with eight minutes remaining.
And Burlington-Edison drove it 72 yards on seven plays, capped by Bajema’s 9-yard scoring run to give the Tigers a 35-21 lead with 5:10 to go.
“They were a difficult team. We made mental mistakes and didn’t go where we were supposed to on some of those plays – and things just happened for them,” Yoro said.
Aided by a WIAA ruling against Clover Park, Orting got into the playoffs on the final week of the regular season, won at Lindbergh in the district round last week – and played longer than it thought it would.
“Hey, at least we got a second chance,” Yoro said.
Tumwater 45, Steilacoom 22: Senior Andrew Brown piled up 152 yards on 12 carries with one touchdown, junior Christian Cummings scored four times, and the T-Birds’ defense got another touchdown in thumping the Sentinels in a first-round state playoff game.
“Making the playoffs is always your No. 1 goal, and we did that,” said Steilacoom coach Brian Koch, whose team finished 6-5. “Tumwater is definitely one of the better programs we’ve ever faced. Their No. 2s and No. 3s are phenomenal football players.”
Tumwater advances to a second-round game against Archbishop Murphy, which downed Bremerton, 45-21, on Friday.
Steilacoom’s season ends at 6-5.
Auburn 20, at Eastmont 7: Brier Atkinson ran for three short touchdowns, and the Trojans advanced to the state quarterfinals for the third time in the past four seasons.
Eastmont cut Auburn’s lead to 12-7 on Brock Grams’ 2-yard scamper with 5:43 to go. And the Wildcats got the ball back, only to have their drive halted by an interception.
Atkinson’s final score on a 2-yard run came with 1:23 remaining.Bart Potter contributed to this report. Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 email@example.com blogs.thenewstribune.com @ManyHatsMilles