If coach Jess Nelson could have picked quicksand instead of the surface he and the Life Christian Academy Eagles were stuck playing on Friday night, he might have done it.
He might have found more traction in that.
As it was – with heavy rains dousing Grays Harbor County all week – much of the grass at Lt. Jim Davis Field gave away to thick, gooey mud, especially between the hashmarks.
That surface was just fine for host North Beach, blessed with a college-size offensive line capable of pushing an army backward. Facing a chance to clinch a share of their first league title since 1990, the third-ranked Hyaks handled the Eagles, 38-6.
It was also an important game for Life Christian Academy, too. A win would have put the Eagles in position to be part of a three-way tie for the 2B Pacific League championship.
But North Beach put together a 10-play, 74-yard drive to score a touchdown – a 5-yard Jordan Chung run – quickly to set a powerful tone.
All of the Hyaks’ 54 plays were rushing attempts, racking up 381 yards. They eventually would take a 22-0 lead on Saul Gonzalez’s 30-yard scoring gallop down the right sideline with 6 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the first half.
What sparked the Eagles, oddly enough, was the passing game – something that do not do with regularity. But quarterback Jack Hohimer completed a 35-yard pass to Sam Absten on fourth-and-1 late in the first half, leading to the team’s only score – a 1-yard Wyatt Dunlap touchdown run with 27.3 seconds to go to cut it to 22-6.
It was Dunlap’s 21st touchdown run of the season.
“We wanted to work on the perimeter, so we tried to establish the inside run game, but could not against their big boys,” Nelson said. “In this type of mud bowl – it has been raining for three hours – we completed more passes than I thought we would.”
In the end, what the Eagles needed was a rushing attack. They opened the second half reaching the Hyaks’ 17. But they fumbled on three of four plays, and ended up scoring no points after attempting a fake punt on fourth-and-18.
“We had to score there,” Nelson said.
Two plays later, North Beach’s Skyler Wells slipped through two tackles and rumbled 71 yards for a touchdown, giving the Hyaks a 30-6 lead.
In the second half, Life Christian rushed 17 times for 6 yards.
“It was pretty muddy,” Dunlap said. “This was definitely an advantage for them but no excuses, they played a great game.”
Hohimer completed 13 of 24 passes for 104 yards. Absten caught seven of them for 79 yards.
It all sets up the showdown for the league title next Friday at Bellarmine Prep, which lost 21-14 at Olympia on Friday.
Edwards finished with 161 yards on eight carries.
The Spanway Lake defense picked off Bethel quarterback Jamon Jones in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Quarterback Gresch Jensen rushed for 148 yards.
The Trojans broke a 10-10 tie on Caden Borden’s 27-yard field goal with 4:16 to go.
Garvin threw two touchdown passes to Misensol — the last one on a 30-yarder in the third quarter that broke a 7-7 tie. Misensol caught four passes for 157 yards.
Kody Martinez’s 31-yard touchdown run for Washington cut the Cardinals’ lead to 28-27. Orting then went 65 yards in a 4:40 span, capped by Ronnie Collins’ 11-yard scoring run with 36 seconds remaining to sew up a win.
Orting gets in the playoffs with a win next week, and a Steilacoom loss to River Ridge.
Cheney rushed for 60 yards and a pair of scores — both short touchdown runs to give Charles Wright a 14-0 lead in the second quarter. He also threw for 192 yards and three touchdowns.