Bethel High’s first eight points came relatively easily.
It took just 31 seconds for Braves defensive back JonJon Taimanglo to return an interception of Puyallup quarterback Nathaniel Holcomb’s pass 14 yards for the score.
Holcomb’s pass went through the hands of intended receiver Tyler Torgerson, and Taimanglo was in perfect position to grab the deflection.
The other 17 points were a bit harder for the Braves to attain, but they were still enough to beat the Vikings, 25-13, on Friday night in the 4A SPSL South opener for both teams at Art Crate Field in Spanaway.
“It was huge. One of our team goals by our seniors was set the tone,” Bethel coach Mark Iddins said. “So we said coming out, ‘Let’s set the tone.’ They picked us to (be) last in this conference, by the coaches. Right away, that set the tone, it got the crowd into it, it was huge.”
The pick-six was especially sweet for Taimanglo. It was his first varsity touchdown and his first interception of the season.
“We were in Cover 2 and I saw (Holcomb) take his first step back, and that’s when I read it and jumped it,” Taimanglo said. “I wasn’t intending to pick it off because I thought he was going to catch — it went through his hands — and made a play on it.”
Braves quarterback Bryce Missey completed eight of his 18 passes for 121 yards and one touchdown.
Missey imitated Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s ability to avoid sacks in pressure situations when he connected with receiver Collin White for a 38-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
The score put the Braves (3-0, 1-0 4A SPSL South) up 17-0 with five minutes remaining in the third quarter, until Holcomb launched a bomb to receiver Brady Winter for a 42-yard touchdown.
Braves running back Cody Ford added some insurance in the fourth quarter with a 2-yard score, after Bethel had chewed off eight minutes of the clock to effectively seal the victory.
Holcomb connected with Winter again for a 20-yard score with less than two minutes remaining for Puyallup (1-2, 0-1).
Winter finished with four receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns.