Mount Tahoma High School football coach Ricky Daley said he did not believe Lincoln was out of line in the Abes’ 91-0 blowout Friday night.
Lincoln — coached by former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, who graduated from Central Washington University and spent four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks — led 70-0 at halftime.
Kitna’s son, junior quarterback Jordan Kitna, was 12 of 18 passing for 197 yards and eight touchdowns (seven through the air), Jon Kitna said. All Jordan Kitna’s touchdowns came in the first half.
“I know Jon from before he was a head coach. I know he’s a good man,” Daley said. “We’re good friends. I don’t think they were running up the score. They were trying to get some other guys some work later in the game and we just couldn’t keep them from scoring. We had to go and stop them and we weren’t able to do that.
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“People are going to question (the score), but what are you going to do? Just give us the ball back? They had a lot of short field and that just made it that much easier for them to score. We just have to work on a lot of things.”
Jon Kitna said that none of his starters played in the second half and all 60 players on his roster had a chance to play. He did not blitz from the second quarter on and a pass did not travel more than five yards in the air.
“As I told my coaches at halftime, it was the most difficult thing I think I’ve had to do here is coach the second quarter of that football game because of the commitment to our football players that if the game gets like that, we want them to be able to play the whole first half because they have put in the work,” Kitna said.
“But at the same time, we didn’t want to do anything in that second quarter and beyond that could be misconstrued as rubbing it in someone’s face or going over the top. That was a difficult second quarter.”
Sophomore Joey Sinclair replaced Jordan Kitna at quarterback after halftime and freshman Willie Hamilton later replaced Sinclair.
Of the Abes’ 13 total touchdowns, nine came on passes, two on runs, one on Darien Williams’ 35-yard interception return and one on Dehonta Hayes’ 40-yard punt return.
On why so many passing touchdowns: Jon Kitna said Lincoln’s passes act a lot like runs, with a lot of quick passes and screens.
“Outside of just not running the play at all, or taking a knee, I didn’t think there was much that could be done at that point,” Kitna said. “It’s hard because on one end we are trying to preach our guys to not play according to the scoreboard … for our kids, we want them to play hard all the time, winning or losing. So when our backups come in and they are playing really hard in a lopsided game, I don’t really know what to tell them. So you just change what you call as a coach and that’s why we didn’t blitz from the second quarter on and never threw the ball more than five yards in the air in the second half.”
Washington Interscholastic Activities Association rules call for a running clock once a team leads by 40 points or more. The WIAA updated that rule last spring to keep the running clock in effect during official timeouts.
A similar 40-point rule exists in basketball. But there is no “mercy rule” like there is in softball and baseball, where the game ends after five innings if a team leads by 10 runs or more.
A 91-0 game isn’t unprecedented. Elma beat Tenino by the same score in 2002, while, more recently, Lakes beat Sumner 83-0 in 2008.
Aledo of Texas’ 91-0 victory against Western Hills last year sprung a bullying complaint from a Western Hills parent, blaming Aledo coach Tim Buchanan and his staff for not instructing his players to ease up and quit playing hard once the game got out of hand.
But Mount Tahoma’s Daley — in his first year with a program that won its first game since 2011 when it beat Stadium 20-13 in its season opener — said most of Lincoln’s touchdowns Friday were the result of short fields.
“I have no qualms with what happened with Kitna and all that,” Daley said. “I shook his hand afterward and said good game and he said if I needed anything to let him know.
“I told him good win and go represent our league and go take it to everybody else. That is a really good team. That team is dominant. We just got to get better.”
Said Kitna: “As I said when I first got the job, I want high school football in Tacoma to be great and for all the programs in this city to be great. Last night was a tough deal … nobody wanted that. I didn’t want that myself.”