Trailing by six at halftime and on pace to fall to 0-6 on the season, the Bonney Lake High School football team turned its attention to senior Robert Combs in the locker room.
“I told them it was time to play like we’ve been waiting to play like all season,” Combs said. “I pushed them, and after I pushed them I was ready to take the torch.”
Combs took the second-half kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. He added two TD catches, a TD run and a 2-point conversion all in the third quarter.
With 31 straight points to start the second half, the Panthers cruised to a 38-19 South Puget Sound League 3A victory against Decatur on Friday at Federal Way Memorial Stadium for its first win of the season.
Bonney Lake (1-5 overall, 1-1 SPSL 3A) is only one loss away from matching its total from last season. The Panthers had allowed opponents to average 43.2 points per game coming in.
But Combs believes the team’s once bleak outlook has flipped.
“We turned a new leaf,” said the senior, who caught five passes for 102 yards. “I think we’ve got everybody to prove wrong. Just because we lose one league game doesn’t mean we aren’t going to win out. I think that’s what we are going to do.”
Decatur (1-5, 0-2) struck quick, as quarterback Isaiah Hatch connected with Isaiah Diggs on a 69-yard touchdown on the third play from scrimmage.
Diggs recorded 124 receiving yards and 113 yards rushing (helped by a 60-yard TD with 4.2 seconds left in the game).
Hatch completed 10 of 16 passes for 142 yards before leaving with an ankle injury in the third quarter. He was on the sideline with crutches after the game and his status for next week is uncertain.
Bonney Lake recorded a kickoff TD, a blocked punt for a safety (one of Cameron Goenner’s two punt blocks), and a TD pass to take a 31-13 lead in a span of less than five minutes to start the third quarter.
“(Combs) stepped up and challenged kids in the locker room and I told him, ‘If you are going to challenge your teammates, you better be willing to step up,’ ” said Bonney Lake coach Jason Silbaugh. “And he did.”
Jefferson 26, at Auburn 23: Quarterback Niko de la Cruz capped a frantic fourth-quarter rally by the Raiders with a 1-yard touchdown plunge with 46 seconds remaining, and Jefferson shocked the Trojans at Memorial Stadium.
Auburn held a 23-12 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but de la Cruz hit Phillip Cuadros on a 51-yard TD pass at the 11:47 mark.
STADIUM TEAM MANAGER REMEMBERED
Paul Snyder was dedicated to Stadium football.
He was an alumnus of the school. All three of his sons played football for the Tigers. And for the past 14 seasons, Snyder served as the team’s equipment manager.
Snyder, 67, collapsed last weekend at halftime of the Tigers’ game at Bellarmine Prep. He died later than night at Tacoma General Hospital.
The team will hold a moment of silence for Snyder before its home game Friday against Gig Harbor. The school is also holding a canned-food drive (Snyder ran a non-profit food bank through his church) at Stadium Bowl, and is asking for public donations.