The Graham-Kapowsin High School football team dug itself into a 10-point hole, turned the ball over four times, didn’t have standout offensive lineman Foster Sarell and was playing fifth-ranked Skyline with a first-year freshman quarterback and first-year running backs.
And it held on for a 38-34 victory anyway on Thursday at Art Crate Field in Spanaway.
Aaron Wright ran for 196 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries — including an 81-yard TD run on his first touch — and the fourth-ranked Eagles got a game-saving tackle from Ezra Bolton to rally back and hold on for the nonleague victory.
“We just got to come out every week just like this,” Wright said.
“We want to get back to where we were last year (with G-K reaching the 4A state semifinals), but we are a whole new team, we got a bunch of young guys. But we play as hard as we can, execute on Friday, Thursday, whatever day it may be — we’ll get there.”
Skyline started its final drive with less than a minute and a half to play at its own 6 after a G-K punt.
Quarterback Blake Gregory then bombed it deep to senior receiver Danny Sinatro, the son of former Seattle Mariners catcher Matt Sinatro, who caught it and ran 77 yards before Bolton caught back up, dove for his foot and just tripped up Sinatro enough to caught him to stumble to the turf on what otherwise would have been a sure touchdown.
“I was just like, ‘Oh boy,’ ” Graham-Kapowsin coach Eric Kurle said.
Instead, Skyline had the ball at G-K’s 17. Gregory then spiked it, threw a 2-yard bubble screen to Sinatro, an incomplete pass and another into the back of the end zone that just went off the fingertips of his intended receiver as the Spartans (4-1) turned the ball over on downs with 11.3 seconds to play.
“Our kids made plays when they needed to,” Kurle said. “The thing is — they just don’t give up. They rally around each other and they are confident kids. They weren’t at all worried about this game.”
It was Skyline’s seventh trip into the red zone. Of those seven trips, the Spartans got two touchdowns and three field goals.
“Graham-Kapowsin did a great job of mixing things up offensively. It was hard to stop their run and they got after it,” Skyline coach Mat Taylor said. “But I hate to say this because I don’t want to take anything away from G-K, but we just didn’t execute in the red zone. … Those should have been more points.”
Skyline took a 34-31 lead late in the third quarter on Jack Krane’s fourth field goal of the game (he missed two). But Wright responded with an 8-yard run with just over 10 minute to play in the fourth quarter for his fourth TD.
Wright, who was also part of G-K’s state-title winning 4x100-meter relay team this past spring in track and field, was the different maker for G-K running behind a stout offensive line despite missing Sarell, who said he still hopes to return by the end of the regular season.
“(Wright) is just lights out, man,” Kurle said. “He plays special teams, he plays corner. … We try to rest him on offense as much as we can, but we have to have him out there.”
Gregory was 18 of 35 passing for 297 yards and Sinatro caught eight passes for 161 yards for Skyline.
No. 3 Gig Harbor 51, Timberline 0: The Tides made the first of its back-to-back trips to Thurston County a pleasant excursion, shutting out the Blazers at South Sound Stadium in Lacey.
Gig Harbor quarterback Davis Alexander completing 19 of 24 passes — without an interception — for 269 yards and four touchdowns to end the suspense early against Timberline.
The Tides head to Ingersoll Stadium for a date with No. 7 Olympia next week.
No. 5 SKYLINE
No. 4 GRAHAM-KAPOWSIN
S – Jack Krane 41 field goal
S – Bradley Kim 17 pass from Blake Gregory (Krane kick)
G – Aaron Wright 81 run (Noah Harden kick)
S – Danny Sinatro 68 pass from Gregory (Krane kick)
G – Harden 23 field goal
S – Krane 29 field goal
G – Eian Olmos 30 pass from Dylan Morris (Harden kick)
G – Viliami Hansen 3 run (Harden kick)
S – Krane 32 field goal
G – Wright 16 run (Harden kick)
S – Kim 1 pass from Gregory (Sinatro pass from Gregory)
S – Krane 33 field field
G – Wright 8 run (Harden kick)
RUSHING – Skyline: Rashaad Boddie 23-128. Graham-Kapowsin: Aaron Wright 17-196, 3 TDs; Kobe Meriweather 16-54.
PASSING – Skyline: Blake Gregory 18-35-0-297, 3 TDs. Graham-Kapowsin: Dylan Morris 10-21-2-189, TD.
RECEIVING – Skyline: Danny Sinatro 8-261, TD; Caleb Johnston 1-69. Graham-Kapowsin: Eian Olmos 3-103, TD; Beau Blowers 2-54; Dalton Merson 2-22.