It will go in the scorebook as a 19-yard touchdown reception, but Hunter Campau actually scrambled around for what seemed like 50 yards after his catch, dodging tacklers along the way before finally finding the end zone.
In a game of big plays, this one was the wildest, and proved to be the game winner.
Trenton Horn hit Campau for the go-ahead strike with 54 seconds remaining as Timberline edged Oak Harbor, 41-38, in a Class 3A district playoff game Friday at South Sound Stadium.
Trailing 38-34, Campau secured a short pass and appeared to be heading for a simple 5-yard gain before reversing direction, picking up a handful of blocks, and racing across the goal line to send Timberline back to the state playoffs.
Oak Harbor, the third-place team out of the 3A Wesco North Division, marched to the Blazers’ 30. But the Wildcats saw their chance of pulling off the victory end when Timberline’s Isaac Thompson, who hauled in a pair of touchdown passes, picked off Jordan Bell in the end zone.
Thompson caught two passes — neither of which were thrown from the starting quarterback, but both went for touchdowns.
Thompson pulled down a 21-yard scoring strike from backup Horn, then reeled in a 61-yard touchdown reception from Michael Barnes on a fake punt in the fourth quarter.
Both were needed dearly in a second half that featured five lead changes.
Oak Harbor (7-3) took its final lead with four minutes left in the game, when Mackenzie Nuanez scored on a 5-yard run to put the Wildcats ahead, 38-34.
Timberline (8-2) answered with Campau’s big play, but needed to convert a pair of fourth downs for that to happen. The second conversion set up the final touchdown after Horn hit Tariq Romain on a 41-yard completion on fourth-and-12 from the Blazers’ 40.
Oak Harbor, which received 225 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Princeton Lollar, failed to attempt a kick on any of its PATs, electing to go for two points after all six touchdowns. The Wildcats were only successful once.
Timberline advances to the state playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Blazers’ reward for the accomplishment is a potential first-round matchup against two-time defending state champion Eastside Catholic.
The Crusaders face Mount Spokane today in a winner-to-state game. Regardless of which team wins, Timberline will host.
Trailing 26-13, and finding little success running the ball against the Wildcats’ stout defensive front — which limited workhorse running back Anthony Hathaway to 36 rushing yards in the first half on 16 carries — Timberline inserted Horn in at quarterback for the Blazers’ final drive of the first half in an attempt to take advantage of the senior’s big arm.
Horn delivered, completing 3 of 6 pass attempts for 53 yards on a Timberline scoring drive, which he capped with a 1-yard plunge on fourth-and-goal as time expired to cut Oak Harbor’s lead to 26-20 at the intermission.
Prior to Horn’s late heroics, it was all Wildcats in the second quarter as the visitors scored three touchdowns over a 4 1/2-minute span to double up Timberline, 26-13.
The benefactors of a short field on all three scoring drives, Oak Harbor got touchdown runs of 36 and 9 yards from Lollar, and a 32-yard scoring scamper from Tamarik Hollins-Passmore to grab the 13-point cushion.
Romain had his fingerprints all over the first quarter, hauling in a 47-yard touchdown pass and adding a 7-yard touchdown run to help Timberline to a 13-6 lead.
Lollar set up his first touchdown, a 1-yard score six minutes into the contest, with a 55-yard rush on the Wildcats’ opening drive.
OH – Princeton Lollar 1 run (run failed)
T – Tariq Romain 47 pass from Jacob Henning (Madison Douglas kick)
T – Romain 7 run (kick failed)
OH – Lollar 36 run (run failed)
OH – Tamarik Hollins-Passmore 32 run (pass failed)
OH – Lollar 11 run (Mackenzie Nuanez pass from Jordan Bell)
T – Trenton Horn 1 run (Douglas kick)
T – Isaac Thompson 21 pass from Horn (Douglas kick)
OH – Brycin McIntyre 50 pass Bell (pass failed)
T – Thompson 61 pass from Michael Barnes (Douglas kick)
OH – Nuanez 5 run (run failed)
T – Hunter Campau 19 pass from Horn (Douglas kick)