Tahoma High School survived a slow start and what looked to be a killer late mistake to pull off a near-miraculous 41-35 win against visiting Kent-Meridian on Friday night.
Down 28-7 at the half with quarterback Amandre Williams having thrown two interceptions, things didn’t look promising for the Bears (5-1 overall, 1-1 4A SPSL Northeast). When Williams fumbled a shotgun snap in the end zone with 3 minutes, 4 seconds to go in the game and the Royals’ Isaac Wright recovered in the end zone, the issue appeared decided.
Kent-Meridian (3-3, 2-1) led 35-26.
Tahoma had other ideas, however, as Caleb Brown returned the kickoff 46 yards and Williams, who finished 15 of 27 for 317 yards passing, went to work redeeming himself. With 2:28 to play, he found Austin Brown streaking up the right sideline for a 38-yard touchdown pass.
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The Royals could not run out the clock and with 1:46 to play, Caleb Brown fielded a punt at his own 25 and returned it for a touchdown, giving Tahoma its first lead. Williams, who finished with four touchdown passes, connected with Austin Brown for a two-point conversion to finish the scoring.
Austin Brown finished with four receptions for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
Kent-Meridian, taking advantage of an injury-depleted Bears defensive line, had two rushers go over 100 yards. Gabriel Gallman carried 15 times for 116 yards while Malik Woolery carried 27 times for 109 yards.
The Royals took the opening kickoff and drove 69 yards to the Tahoma 14-yard line on nine plays, but thanks to a sack of Ben Woods by Michael Clausen and Zach White, the Royals came away with nothing as they missed a 37-yard field goal.
When Tahoma was forced to punt on its next drive, Williams boomed the punt 53 yards, helping keep the ball in Kent-Meridian’s half until late in the first quarter.
Gallman scored the first Kent-Meridian touchdown, running untouched 37 yards for a touchdown after a Williams interception.
Tahoma evened the score with a one-play drive of its own when Williams found Aidan Harmon wide open behind the Kent Meridian defense for a 49-yard score with less than a minute to go in the first quarter.
The Royals wasted little time getting the lead back. Set up by a 75-yard pass from Woods to Marc Dennis, Kent-Meridian scored on the first play of the second quarter on an 11-yard run by Woolery.
They made it 21-7 with 8:29 to go in the first half on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Woods to Emmanuel Daigbe. Gallman made it 28-7 at the 1:36 mark when he capped an eight-play, 70-yard drive with a 7-yard run up the middle.