Breaking the game open on the first two plays of the second quarter, the Timberline High School football team scored all its points during the first half and kept Yelm off the scoreboard until the final moments to open 4A Narrows League play with a 31-7 victory Thursday night at South Sound Stadium.
Blazers quarterback Gabe Gutierrez completed 15 of 17 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns before giving way to backup Bailey Thomas in the fourth quarter. Running back Coltrane Barron reached a hard-fought triple digits in rushing, carrying 20 times for 105 yards.
But Blazers coach Nick Mullen was buzzing more over his defense — one that allowed 35 points in a Week 2 loss to Tumwater.
“Defensively, we came out a lot better than last week,” Blazers coach Nick Mullen said. “It was a tough loss last week (to Tumwater 35-33), but we took a lot of things from it. The kids got better and they learned from it. As long as we continue getting better and improving, I think it will be a good for 4A season for us.”
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Timberline (2-1, 1-0 4A Narrows) rolled up 243 of its eventual 365 yards of total offense and 15 first downs in a cleanly played first half in which each team was penalized only once.
The Blazers had just a 7-0 lead after the first quarter. Gutierrez got the Blazers on the board with an 11-yard touchdown pass.
The game turned for good right after the teams changed ends to begin the second quarter.
Gutierrez capped a 74-yard, 9-play drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Dowell over the middle to put Timberline up 14-0. On Yelm’s first play after the ensuing kickoff, the Tornados fumbled and Timberline’s Sava’auli Ma’ae recovered and ran the ball back 23 yards for a touchdown.
Timberline added a three-yard TD run by Barron and a 40-yard field goal by Matt Groeser, who was also a perfect 4-for-4 on extra points for the night.
The third quarter was scoreless, but costly for Yelm (2-1, 0-1) as both quarterback DeVante Pearson, who took off his helmet and pads, and running back Brandon Thompson went to the sidelines with injuries. The Tornados did produce an exciting flash of almost when kicker Vernon Parker nearly made a 52-yard field goal, booming it on target but just a few feet short.
Yelm drove 74 yards in 11 plays for its lone touchdown, scored with 2:34 to play when De’Onte Payne ran the ball in from two yards out.