Shannon Edwards said it entered his mind as his teammates jumped on him in the end zone after he had crossed the goal line late in the fourth quarter for his third touchdown run.
Two and a half minutes later it was official.
The Graham-Kapowsin High School football team is heading to the 4A state semifinals for the first time in school history.
Edwards carried the load, rushing 37 times for 199 yards behind his bulldozing offensive line to lift the sixth-ranked Eagles to a 27-7 victory against Wenatchee on Friday at Art Crate Field.
“I just wanted to win with my team,” Edwards said. “That’s all that matters.”
Graham-Kapowsin (12-1) advances to face the winner of Chiawana-Gonzaga Prep taking place at 1 p.m. Saturday at Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco. It has won 10 consecutive after a 34-31 loss to Emerald Ridge on Sept. 19.
For Eagles coach Eric Kurle, it’s his fourth state-semifinal appearance after taking cross-town rival Bethel there three times. But now to take G-K there 10 years after taking over is that much more special, he said.
“With this group of guys – we just have great kids. It’s so awesome,” Kurle said.
Graham-Kapwosin ran the ball 48 times and threw it five times. Edwards sprang through an opening on the Eagles second drive, running 42 yards to the Wenatchee 30. He then finished the drive five plays later ran with a six-yard touchdown run to put the Eagles on the scoreboard.
Two possessions later, Graham-Kapowsin’s Trevor Asbjornsen threw deep to Austin Ewell on one of those five passes, and Ewell caught it through a pair of defenders and ran to the 11 before being tackled after 62 yards. Daniel Lorenz pounded it into the end zone from the 1 to make it 14-0 Graham-Kapowsin in the second quarter.
“We got that lead and they are so fast with (running back Chase Resch), so we wanted to milk the clock and we thought we could control the game up front,” Kurle said.
Resch had 20 carries for 104 yards. But Wenatchee (9-2) didn’t capitalize on chances to keep the score tighter.
The Panthers looked to put the first points on the scoreboard, but without their all-league kicker Garrett King (out because of a team violation, according to Wenatchee coach Scott Devereaux) they missed a 26-yard field goal try on their second drive. And Graham-Kapowsin responded with its first TD.
G-K picked off Wenatchee quarterback Brandon Graves twice in the first half, with Lorenz getting the first and Nate Alfonso the second. And the Panthers went for a 29-yard field goal midway through the second quarter, but it was blocked by G-K’s Aaron Wright.
“We didn’t execute very well today,” Devereaux said. “I think their physicalness up front was a big difference in the game. They overpowered us. I don’t think we played our best, but a lot of that has to do with playing a great team.”
Edwards added two more TDs in the second half, with his third score coming with 2:34 remaining to put the Eagles ahead 27-7. Jeremiah Kekoa picked off Graves’ pass Wenatchee’s ensuing possession to put the icing on the cake.
“We battled, man,” said Graham-Kapowsin left tackle Foster Sarell. “We’re fighters. We scrap games out and we play as a team.
“We are just going to work hard this weekend and get better. We are going to come out and bust our butts and get a win. We are going to the state semifinals. That’s exciting.”
Though questions surrounded Graham-Kapowsin on how they would replace all-area running back Teague James, Edwards has provided plenty of answers.
“Teague James was a good running back. He taught me what to do,” Edwards said. “I continued with the team he left me and we just rocked it.”
Rocked it to school history.