It was the 3A South Sound Conference debut for Timberline and Capital, but through 3 1/2 quarters the play resembled the old Black Hills League of the 1970s and 1980s — meaning lots of defense and little scoring.
Actually, make that no scoring.
Then the fireworks started.
Trenton Horn scored his second 1-yard touchdown run with five seconds to play to give the Blazers a thrilling 12-7 victory over the Cougars at South Sound Stadium on Friday.
“I’m exhausted,” said Timberline coach Mike Spears, whose team improves to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in SSC play. “You had two teams playing great defense for 3 1/2 quarters.”
It was around the nine-minute mark in the fourth quarter that both offenses decided to show up.
Aided by a 49-yard completion from Horn to Tariq Romain — one of the few plays in the contest to go for more than 20 yards — Horn scored his first TD with 8:41 to play, giving Timberline a 6-0 lead after the PAT was blocked.
With starting quarterback Grant Erickson watching from the sidelines after suffering a broken collarbone late in the second quarter, the Cougars turned to wide receiver Carson Bertelli to take over under center.
The senior responded by leading Capital on an 11-play, 91-yard scoring drive, with Nathan Tyler punching it in from a yard out with 3:04 remaining in the game.
Chris Penner, who set up Tyler’s TD by throwing a 26-yard pass to Chris Schnellman on fourth-and-l, nailed the PAT to briefly push the Cougars in front, 7-6.
Tyler finished with a gritty 78 yards on 20 carries, but Timberline had a workhorse of their own in Anthony Hathaway.
Hathaway carried the ball 31 times for 150 yards and basically put the Blazers’ offense on his back down the stretch, reeling off runs of 8, 22, 9, 6 and 3 yards to put Timberline on the goal line.
Horn called his own number for the final blow, sneaking it behind all-league senior center Camren Bowes for the win.
“Anthony runs angry and he wants the ball in his hands at the end of games,” Spears said. “He’s running behind a very experienced line that’s been together since peewee football. It was an easy decision to give him the ball that many times tonight.”
The win comes a week after the Blazers saw their second-half lead disappear in a 36-33 loss to Bonney Lake.
“I’m very proud of this team and how they were able to come back, especially after how last week ended,” Spears said.
Capital falls to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play.
The teams went to the locker rooms knotted up after a scoreless first half.
Capital held a slim 106-87 advantage in total offensive yards at the intermission, with the Cougars getting an 11-yard scamper deep in their own territory on the last play of the half to push them over the century mark.
Outside a pair of long passes from Erickson to Bertelli (34 yards) and Penner (28), Capital found little success moving the ball against the Blazers in the opening two frames despite having a short field on three occasions.
The Cougars went 3-and-out on their first series, than turned the ball over on consecutive possessions with the second one proving to be the costliest as Timberline’s Tyrin Edmond recovered a Tyler fumble on the Blazer 7, killing an early Capital scoring opportunity.
Timberline had an equally tough time cracking the Cougars’ defense in the first half with the Blazers’ best drive ending on downs at the Cougar 26 following a penalty.