The defense stole the show in Morton-White Pass’ 12-0 victory at the Tacoma Dome on Friday night.
The Timberwolves advanced to the state championship for the second consecutive year against the winner of today’s Waitsburg-Prescott vs. Lind-Ritzville-Sprague game.
The Timberwolves may get a chance in next Friday’s title game to get some revenge on Waitsburg-Prescott. The Cardinals beat the Timberwolves, 14-0, in last year’s championship game.
“We can only worry about what we can control,” Morton-White Pass coach Aaron Poquette said. “And we’re going to take on whoever they send over.”
The Timberwolves’ defense has been exceptional, limiting opponents to an average of 4.2 points per game, but not many could have predicted a shutout against La Conner, which averaged 42 points a game this season.
Though the Timberwolves were in control, they never felt comfortable.
“We knew we were going to have to grind it out until the end,” said junior quarterback Rylon Kolb, who threw two touchdown passes. “I knew that if I put the ball in the playmakers’ hands, they would make something happen.”
The first score for Morton-White Pass came when Kolb threw a 31-yard pass to Gianni Bertucci with 2 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
The Timberwolves widened their lead in the third quarter with a drive that started with an interception by Tyler Barnett and ended when Kolb threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Ben Powell.
But the game was far from over. With 10 minutes to go, La Conner drove from its 23 to the Morton-White Pass 18, only to turn the ball over on downs.
The Braves got a second chance when Morton-White Pass’ Brian Reynolds fumbled the ball at the 18, and it was recovered by La Conner’s Wil James.
A touchdown for La Conner could have changed the game but the chance to rally ran into stiff resistance from the Timberwolves.
A penalty for an illegal block sent the Braves to the Morton-White Pass 28, then an interception with about 2:30 to go left the Braves out of options.
Their passing-oriented offense was new for the Timberwolves. Before Friday, Kolb had thrown an average of four pass attempts per game. He completed 13 of 20 passes against the Braves.
Kolb knew his team’s strategy was to control the ball with the passing game.
“We knew not to go for the home run or the big play,” Kolb said. “We were going to have to throw short passes.”
La Conner added some pressure by limiting the Timberwolves’ running game. Morton-White Pass averaged 260 rushing yards a game this season, but the Braves limited the Timberwolves to 56 yards.