Markus Goldbach never rode on a charter bus before this week. The hotel stay, indoor playing field and the bright lights of the Tacoma Dome added to a unique experience for him and the Freeman High football team.
The experience? That was great. Leading his school to its first Class 1A state championship with a 31-13 victory Saturday against Mount Baker? He had few words to describe it.
“Just euphoria,” said Goldbach, who rushed for 170 yards — 164 in the second half — and returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. “I just can’t explain it.”
Freeman traveled almost 5 hours from Rockford to the Dome to complete its 14-0 season.
Mount Baker tied the score at 13 on Izaiha Schwinden’s 48-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. But Freeman’s Max Laib capped an 84-yard drive with his second touchdown run of the game to put the Scotties ahead, 19-13, with 17 seconds till halftime.
It was all Freeman from there. And Goldbach.
Mount Baker ran for 165 yards in the first half behind Schwinden and Liam Short, with each back scoring a TD. The Mountaineers (11-2) ran for 44 yards in the second.
On offense, Freeman turned to Goldbach.
Goldbach ran the ball four times in the first half. He said Laib was feeling ill, so he got the rock and had nine carries for 86 yards on Freeman’s first possession of the second half. He capped the drive with a 16-yard TD run.
Goldbach accounted for all but 5 yards on the drive — that came on a Mount Baker penalty.
“He ran hard, and their line did a good job of getting bodies on our guys,” said Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper, whose team made its first state title game appearance. “We just couldn’t get many clean shots on him.”
Goldbach deflected some of the credit.
“I feel like I’ve put in a lot of time, but honestly it’s not me — it’s the line,” he said. “The line and the coaches just did a phenomenal job.”
Freeman coach Jim Wood attributed part of the Scotties’ second-half surge to adjusting to playing at the Dome. Freeman hadn’t played there since 2004.
“You come into this environment, and it’s pretty exciting for these guys,” Wood said. “You just had to get them to settle down.”TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677 firstname.lastname@example.org