Coming into third-place Puyallup’s meeting with undefeated and fourth-ranked Graham-Kapowsin on Friday night, it was about which young quarterback would step up under the lights of Sparks Stadium.
It was G-K freshman Dylan Morris that withstood the pressure and kept the Eagles undefeated season rolling while maintaining their status at the top of the 4A South Puget Sound League South Division with their 35-13 win over Puyallup, outlasting sophomore Colby Burton.
Burton did all the right things in his first start. Even though there was some buzz about the sophomore quarterback back in June, Puyallup coach Gary Jeffers had the chance to see that roster depth at the position in action.
Listed as the Vikings’ No. 3 quarterback to start the season, Burton found his way onto the scene with injuries to starter Nathaniel Holcomb (knee) and backup Tristan Graf (ACL), but a first start against the league’s best team is always daunting.
For much of the first half Burton looked shaky, as if the Eagles were too tall of a task. Graham-Kapowsin jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the second to put pressure on the young signal caller. And then the switch went on.
“I felt comfortable halfway through the second (quarter), and my line gave me time to throw,” Burton said.
Burton started connecting with Tyler Torgerson (10 receptions, 63 yards) and Noah McFadden (nine for 112) over the middle. The drive ended with Burton hitting McFadden in the back of the end zone.
“We should have got the win. We let it slip away tonight,” Burton said.
After the defense forced a Morris fumble on the Eagles’ very next series, Burton nearly hit Torgerson with a 20-yard touchdown over the middle, but a holding call reversed the would-be score, forcing the Vikings to settle for a field goal to trail 21-10 at the half.
“I thought the kids hung in there and that we had a shot coming out (after) halftime,” Jeffers said.
Puyallup (3-4, 3-2) opened the second half driving down the field with Burton connecting with McFadden and receiver JD Lee (three catches, 59 yards) leading to another Zach Munizza field goal.
“They closed up the middle of the field in the fourth,” Burton said. “They doubled up on Tyler (Torgerson) and took away the middle.”
Burton found out quickly in the third that Graham-Kapowsin is one of the state’s best teams for a reason, as the defense began to manhandle the Vikings’ line. After Munizza’s field goal, nothing seemed to go Puyallup’s way as Burton was pounded time and again, as the Eagles came away with five sacks in the second half.
“The protection broke down. Once the protection breaks down, it’s not an easy thing to do,” Jeffers said about Burton’s performance.
Burton finished the game completing 22 for 32 passes for 245 yards.
Graham-Kapowsin next faces Rogers (2-5, 1-3), which defeated Spanaway Lake, 24-0, at Art Crate Stadium. Puyallup faces 4A Narrows Timberline at Sparks.
Rogers 24, Spanaway Lake 0:
Sophomore quarterback Kaiden Hammond connected for two touchdowns as the Rams snapped their losing streak in their shutout of the Sentinels at Art Crate Stadium.
Emerald Ridge 34, South Kitsap 30:
With starting quarterback Logan Skoda still hampered by an ankle injury he suffered five weeks ago, the Jaguars have turned to Gage Hansen while Skoda heals. The move looks to be great decision as Hansen went 30 for 45 while throwing for 410 yards and four touchdowns in the win over the 4A Narrows South Kitsap Wolves.
“Right now we’re just trying to see what Gage brings to this team,” co-coach Troy Halfaday said. “And he’s responded well these last few weeks.”
Over the past two games, Hansen has become very familiar with receiver Andrew Boston as the junior has hauled in 17 catches for 240 yards.
Cascade Christian 56, Charles Wright 7:
It looks like the upset loss to Orting back in week 2 has sparked the Cougars, as Cascade Christian (5-1) crossed the 50-point threshold for the second consecutive week. Since week 2, the Cougars have outscored their opponents 189 to 58.