Nicholas Blanco scored on a 7-yard pass from Dakota Hill with 5:29 to play to give the Yelm Tornados a 34-31 victory over the Bethel Braves in a game characterized by big changes of momentum.
Earlier, Collin White dropped what might have been a go-ahead scoring pass for Bethel inside the 10 in the fourth quarter Thursday night at Art Crate Field in Spanaway.
White, a junior, got another chance. This time, he cashed in, grabbing a 29-yard touchdown pass from Tristyn Gese, and the Braves went up 31-27.
Yelm coach Jason Ronquillo took the blame for the score. “First of all, I take full responsibility for going for it on fourth down (at his own 28, which led to Bethel gaining possession). I believe every call is going to work. That’s how much I believe in these kids.”
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On Bethel penalties that negated two interceptions and set up two scores, the last the game-winner, Ronquillo said: “We were very fortunate with that. But that’s the nature of the beast in a first game. Luck was on our side.”
Kaleb Lunderville, a 6-foot-2, 198-pound senior, scored touchdowns for Yelm on the first two scrimmage series of the second half to give the Tornados a 27-13 lead.
Lunderville caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from Hill on Yelm’s first play of the second half, then stepped in front of a Bethel receiver on the Braves’ first pass of the half and cut back against the grain for a 45-yard return to the end zone.
The Braves were far from done. Jarrell Anderson, a 6-2, 220-pound junior, snared a 28-yard scoring pass from Gese, Anderson’s second TD catch of the night, to get the Braves back to 27-19. A series of Yelm miscues had the Tornados backed up, and a short punt set up a TD run by the Braves’ Seth Smith.
Bethel coach Mark Iddins commented on his team taking costly penalties: “We’re going to have to clean it up. We saw a lot of good things from a lot of our players, but all the big swings kind of went in their favor.”
In the first quarter, the teams swapped opening-drive touchdowns. Strong-armed Gese found senior Smith from 20 yards away for Bethel after an eight-play, 53-yard march.
Yelm countered with 2-yard TD pass from Hill to Brandon Thompson on the next series to pull into a 7-7 tie, but the Tornados failed to cash in on a Braves fumble on the following kickoff. With field position at the Bethel 16, the Tornados got as far as the 10 before stalling.
Bethel put together an efficient 10-play drive in the second quarter, with Gese finding a wide-open Anderson for a 21-yard scoring pass. The extra point was blocked, which left an opening for the Tornados on the oddest play of the half.
After Bethel’s Lane Brown came down with an apparent interception in the end zone on fourth down, a roughing-the-passer penalty took it away and gave the Tornados the ball at the Bethel 6.
Thompson, who ripped off runs of 10 and 11 yards to get the Tornados close in the drive, carried the final yard to the end zone with 49 seconds to go in the half. Cody Frye’s extra point gave Yelm a 14-13 intermission lead.
Yelm’s Hill went 9 of 29 passing for 133 yards and three touchdowns while Thompson finished with 94 yards on 19 carries.
Jefferson 26, Kentridge 19, OT: Jayvon Buckley’s 20-yard touchdown run in overtime lifted the Raiders over the Chargers.
Jefferson quarterback J’sias McKinley-Johnson found the end zone on a 15-yard run in the first quarter, and Leontre’ Griffin had a 14-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Jefferson held a 13-3 lead at halftime.
The Chargers got going in the third quarter with a 5-yard touchdown run from Jett Briceno.
Solomon Hines busted an 85-yard TD run for Kentridge. The Raiders answered as Sunny Funai caught a 7-yard scoring pass from McKinley-Johnson.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Chargers trailed by three points, but Sabian Tsang hit a 40-yard field goal to tie it at 19-19.
On the first play of overtime, Buckley gave the Raiders the lead. The chargers couldn’t answer.
McKinley-Johnson went 2 of 2 for 50 yards passing and ran for 39 yards on 17 carries. Buckley had 96 yards in rushing.
North Thurston 28, Auburn Riverside 27, OT: Clay Christian’s three-TD night helped lift the Rams over the Ravens. .
The junior quarterback threw for two TDs, including one to Devin Santos for 60 yards and one to Gavin Millsap for 28 yards. Christian rushed for a touchdown from the 2-yard line. He finished 10 of 19 for 247 yards passing, and gained 44 yards on 12 carries.
Sealing the deal for the Rams was a 17-yard run from Ross Sherrer in overtime. He finished with 88 yards on 21 carries.
The Ravens were led by the 141-yard dual rushing attack of quarterback Tiano Malietufa and running back O’Darious Shaw.
B: Seth Smith 20 pass from Tristyn Gese (Lane Brown kick)
Y: Brandon Thompson 2 pass from Dakota Hill (Cody Frye kick)
B: Jarrell Anderson 21 pass from Gese (kick blocked)
Y:Thompson 1 run (Frye kick)
Y: Kaleb Lunderville 47 pass from Hill (Frye kick)
Y: Lunderville 45 interception return (kick failed)
B: Anderson 28 pass from Gese (run failed)
B: Smith 1 run (run failed)
B: Collin White 29 pass from Gese