For the fourth time in six years, the Neah Bay Red Devils are the 1B football state champions.
State titles have become commonplace for Neah Bay head coach Tony McCaulley. His team hasn’t missed a state semifinal since 2009. Neah Bay lost to Lummi in the second week of the season. McCaulley claims it’s what made this team different from teams in the past.
“The best thing about this group is that they got better every week,” McCaulley said. “We didn’t play well early in the season. We played some really horrible football. These guys played better every single week.”
After Saturday’s state championship game, a 64-34 win over Odessa-Harrington at the Tacoma Dome, it’s hard to imagine this team playing horrible football. Red Devils senior running back Cole Svec scored the first two touchdowns of the game — a 5-yard run in the first quarter and a 16-yard reception in the second — to put Neah Bay up 12-0.
Odessa-Harrington answered when Brad Johnston caught a 38-yard pass from Colton Hunt. Neah Bay answered quickly with Cameron Buzzell scoring on a 59-yard run. Buzzell would score two more times before the half, giving the Red Devils a 34-14 lead at the break.
“We wanted to get an early start on them,” McCaulley said. “We typically start slow. They are a fast, well-coached ball club. They got away with some stuff. A lot of formations we got confused on. With our depth and our size we wanted to run the ball at them and wear them down.”
Svec had 20 carries for 87 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown plus four receptions for 82 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Buzzell was the star beginning in the second quarter. Buzzell rushed for 168 yards on just eight carries, scoring three touchdowns, and had 59 receiving yards and a touchodown.
Buzzell wasn’t done, adding a 32-yard pass to his final numbers. Buzzell finished with 259 total yards of offense and four touchdowns.
“I’m used to it a bit because this is my fifth state title,” Buzzell said. “This is my third in football, one in basketball and another in track. It always feels amazing. There’s no rush like winning a state title game.”
Neah Bay’s win was convincing as the team had a total of 498 offensive yards. They did most of their damage on the ground, running for 303 yards on 45 attempts. Rwehabura Munyagi made the most of his 12 pass attempts, completing seven for 195 yards and throwing two touchdowns.