You can flip through every page of the Stadium High School football team’s offensive playbook, but you won’t see the play quarterback Hunter Wendling dialed up on the game-winning touchdown.
With less than a minute to play, Bonney Lake had just kicked a 21-yard field goal to take a three-point lead. After a couple draw plays that caught the Panthers off balance, Wendling had them right where he wanted them.
He drew a play in the sand, so to speak, sending receiver Xavier Mason on an out-and-up. He persuaded coach and offensive coordinator Thomas Ford it would work, so into the game it went.
Forty yards later, Mason was standing in the end zone after hauling in a perfectly lofted pass from the senior signal caller for the 20-17 3A Pierce County League victory on Friday at Stadium Bowl.
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“The craziest part about that play is Hunter called that play,” Ford said. “We don’t have that play in our offense. He said, ‘Coach, he’s got him on an out and up.’ I was like, ‘All right, let’s run it.’”
Said Wendling: “We know what we can do. We just have to go out and execute like we can. We just tried to give him a chance one-on-one.”
The huge pass to Mason was the second connection of the evening for a touchdown, but otherwise, the Tigers (4-1) potent passing offense was held in check.
It was Bonney Lake that controlled the tempo with its patented, punishing running attack. Cody Coffey racked up 120 yards on 21 carries while quarterback Kaiden Hammond ran for 61 yards.
When it was time to score, they turned to Adam Fahsel, who found paydirt twice on the evening as Bonney Lake (1-4) looked to beat Stadium for the second consecutive year in a matchup of the reigning top offense in the 3A PCL (Stadium) against last year’s top defensive team (Bonney Lake).
“Words can’t describe the way I feel,” Ford said. “But I have nothing but respect for (Bonney Lake coach) Jason Silbaugh. He’s a phenomenal coach and they run a phenomenal program. And for us, if we want to get to where we want to be, we have to be able to beat teams like that – and we finally got that done tonight.”
And did so when everything was on the line. It was particularly satisfying for Ford, who saw the guile from his team in tough moments after a coasting with back-to-back 50-point outings their past two wins, including setting a school record with 633 yards of total offense last week against Mount Tahoma.
“I think this tells a lot about the resolve of our kids,” Ford said. “The last couple of weeks scoring 50 points, we can win that way. But we also showed we can get a little gritty, too, and play a little field position, play defense and run the football and get a victory as well.”
Wendling completed 12 of 21 passes for 157 yards and Mason had six catches for 111 yards.
Bonney Lake will host Wilson next week at Sunset Chevrolet Stadium while Stadium looks for its sixth win on the season at home against Bethel.
BL - Adam Fahsel 1 run (kick)
S - Hunter Wendling 45 pass to Xavier Mason (Dos Santos kick)
BL - Fahsel 3 run (kick)
S - Springstead 3 run (Dos Santos kick)
BL - 21 field goal
S- Wendeling 40 to Mason (failed kick)
RUSHING: Stadium: Nazje Briscoe 13-92; Bonney Lake: Cody Coffey 21-120, Kaiden Hammond 12-61
PASSING: Stadium: Hunter Wendling 12-21-157-2; Bonney Lake: Kaiden Hammond 3-11-18-1
RECEIVING: Stadium: Xavier Mason 6-111; Bonney Lake: Adam Fahsel 1-13