In football, momentum can change in a matter of seconds. In a 38-20 victory over Kentlake at Bill Maxwell Stadium in Covington on Friday, Tahoma provided a perfect example.
Leading 10-7 in the third quarter, the Bears exploded for 14 points in 11 seconds, and added a third touchdown minutes later, to turn a close game into a rout.
It all started with a wide receiver screen from senior quarterback Conner Lambro to sophomore wide receiver Carson Ringhiser. Ringhiser slipped a tackle and took care of the rest with his speed, outrunning the Falcons’ defense for a 57-yard touchdown reception.
But Ringhiser wasn’t done.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Bears tried an onside kick and Ringhiser made the recovery for the Bears. On the very next play, Lambro found senior Tayvian Williams on a crossing route and Williams turned it into a 50-yard touchdown reception.
In 11 seconds, the Bears had gone from up 10-7 to having a commanding 24-7 lead.
“We lost our number one receiver today and we thought it was going to be a big deal, but (Ringhiser) stepped up and played the role we needed him to play,” Lambro said. “It was awesome. That touchdown brought it all for us. As you saw, we went three straight drives after that. Our defense was bringing it all. The whole team just brought it all in the second half.”
Going for the onside kick after the Ringhiser touchdown was perhaps the biggest key to putting momentum on Tahoma’s side. According to head coach Tony Davis, it was something the Bears were going to attempt to take advantage of in the right situation.
“Coach (Chris) Tugwell coaches the special teams, and it was something he’d seen on video,” Davis said. “If we had the opportunity to do it that we would take a shot at it. It presented itself, and again, it just creates such momentum.
The onslaught continued moments later when senior Max Repenn made one of his two fumble recoveries in the game. The Bears took advantage with another Williams touchdown, this time on a 31-yard pass from Lambro. In 2 minutes and 17 seconds of game time, the Bears scored three touchdowns and recovered both an onside kick and a fumble.
“We did just about everything we could to put ourselves in a hole (in the first half),” Davis said. “We were fortunate that we were playing good defense. Coach (Walt) Howard and the guys on defense kept it close so we were in position to make some plays when we came back out. I think the first big one was Carson. That one, then the momentum. I think it was back-to-back-to-back on those three plays. They make a big difference.”
Repenn added an interception to go along with his two fumble recoveries. He also rushed for 68 yards on 14 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run.
Williams caught two passes for 81 yards, both receptions going for touchdowns. He also rushed for a 6-yard touchdown. Lambro completed 10 of his 19 pass attempts for 244 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
“Sometimes it’s those short throws, guys blocking down field and receivers making big plays,” Davis said. “(The touchdown passes) were run-pass options, two of the three if I remember right, so he’s making good decisions and finding guys where the coverage is off and can make a play. You don’t expect them to go 60 or 70 yards, but we’ve got some pretty talented players on the outside.”
Junior Jeremiah Woods provided the bulk of the offense for the Falcons. He finished with five catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. He also recovered a fumble on defense in the first half, returning it 37 yards for a score.
The Bears finished the regular season with a 3-7 record in 2016. This year, Tahoma is 4-0 in league and 5-1 overall. Friday’s victory over Kentlake, which came into the game with an identical record to the Bears, put Tahoma in first place in the NPSL Cascade by itself.
“They came together this summer at camp and decided that they wanted to be perceived differently, as a tough aggressive team and start to create success for themselves,” Davis said. “Last year was frustrating for everybody. Sometimes you have to move backwards to move forwards, and that’s what these guys did and decided they were going to do. So far, we’ve made it work.
K – Jeremiah Woods 37 fumble recovery (Tyler Hopp kick)
T – Max Repenn 1 run (Cory Soiseth kick)
T – Soiseth 32 FG
T – Carson Ringhiser 57 pass from Conner Lambro (Soiseth kick)
T – Tayvian Williams 50 pass from Lambro (Soiseth kick)
T – Williams 31 pass from Lambro (Soiseth kick)
K – Woods 63 pass from Brandon Mortenson (run failed)
T – Williams 6 run (Soiseth kick)
K – Marques Fualaau 20 pass from Mortenson (Hopp kick)
RUSHING – Kentlake: Brandon Mortenson 11-9; Tony Heimann II 6-38; Marques Fualaau 6-19; Dashaun Leon 2-19. Tahoma: Kaleb Leonard 7-46; Conner Lambro 16-(-6); Max Repenn 14-68; Tayvian Williams 6-40; Carson Ringhiser 1-(-7).
PASSING – Kentlake: Brandon Mortenson 15-25-1-206. Tahoma: Conner Lambro 10-19-0-244.
RECEIVING – Kentlake: Marques Fualaau 3-20; Jeremiah Woods 5-120; Alex Lopez 2-22; Dashaun Leon 1-(-2); Tony Heimann II 1-6; Sam Morasch 1-9; Jaryn Mackey 1-11; Dominick Grundy 1-7. Tahoma: Jerrel Chapman 1-6; Kaleb Leonard 1-7; Ben Chance 1-11; Carson Ringhiser 3-66; Tayvian Williams 2-81; Max Repenn 1-6; Grady O’Connell 1-67.