Neah Bay’s first play – an 80-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Josiah Greene – was just a glimpse.
The reigning Class 1B player of the year went on to a huge game – 305 rushing yards and three touchdowns – to lead the Red Devils over rival Lummi, 40-30, at the Tacoma Dome on Saturday to advance to the state championship game for a second consecutive season.
“I just trust my (offensive) line,” Greene said. “I just trust that they will seal their blocks, so I just stick with them and try to set up the best run behind them.
“That run I just tried to stay behind them and not get ahead as I ran down the line.”
The Red Devils faced the Blackhawks this season in Week 5 and prevailed, 48-28.
Now second-ranked Neah Bay (13-0) will meet No. 1 Liberty Christian (13-0) at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Tacoma Dome.
Returning to the title game is a satisfying achievement, but not the ultimate goal for the defending champions. The Red Devils want to win it again.
“After winning a state title, you know, you might think no one is going to beat us,” Neah Bay coach Tony McCaulley said. “These guys worked hard in the offseason to win it again. We would have been beaten today if they didn’t work in the offseason like they did.”
Neah Bay built a 24-6 lead before the Blackhawks had their chance at the end of the first half to cut into the lead, driving to the Red Devils’ 5.
But the Neah Bay defense pressured quarterback Logan Toby into a bad throw in the flat. It was intercepted by Joey Monje to stop the drive.
Greene galloped 22 yards for another touchdown early in the second half to extend Neah Bay’s lead to 32-6 – all before the Blackhawks staged a late fourth-quarter rally.
“We started out with high energy that kind of tired us out there a bit,” McCaulley said. “We gave them a chance there to get back in the game.
“We lost some of our older players last year so it’s good to see some of the young guys stepping up. It’s exciting that we have some of these guys next year like Greene. But we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves; we still have next week.”