Jaxon Ingram took this game into his own hands.
The Hazen High School quarterback came into Thursday night’s game against Federal Way knowing a win meant clinching the Class 4A NPSL Valley title.
Two rushing touchdowns by Ingram, as well as two passing touchdowns to wide receiver Corbin Walker, lifted Hazen (5-2) to a 30-19 win over the Eagles (4-3) at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.
Ingram and the Highlanders offense started slow, with two fumbles recovered by the feisty Eagles defense in the first quarter. Despite this, Hazen finished the quarter with a 2-0 lead after Federal Way, pinned deep its own territory, snapped the ball over its punter’s head and out of the back of the end zone on a fourth down, resulting in a safety.
This was not the only missed snap of the first quarter by the Eagles.
“I’m not sure what happened (with the snaps), it hasn’t been a problem all year,” Eagles coach John Meagher said. “But sometimes these things just kind of happen.”
The second quarter started off how the first ended, with the a fumble recovery by Eagles linebacker Milton Arnold, who ran it back for a touchdown for a Federal Way touchdown.
This was quickly answered, as Ingram marched his team back down the field and finished off the 72-yard drive with a 5-yard rushing touchdown. The Highlanders then completed a two-point conversion, giving themselves a three-point cushion.
After a pass interference call on Hazen’s defense late in the half, the Eagles were able to capitalize just before the break with a 17-yard touchdown pass from quarterback R.J. Tausili to wide receiver Julio Chavez-Tilei, giving to regain a 13-10 lead.
Ingram scored the only points of the third quarter, converting a fourth down quarterback keeper into a 2-yard score.
Down by a possession, Federal Way’s defense thought it caused another turnover in the fourth quarter after an interception, but the play was called back on pass interference.
Eagles quarterback Corey Quinn attempted to take this game over, rallying his team back with multiple rushing plays on their next possession, slipping through tackles and changing direction quickly. He led his team to the Highlanders’ 1, and Desmond Maiava punched in the 1-yard score to give Federal Way the lead back, 19-17, with about seven minutes to play.
But, then it became the Ingram-Walker show.
Ingram fought back and led his team down the field, with his main target always being Walker. A 31-yard catch by Walker helped set up a 17-yard touchdown connection between the two to take the lead back.
“(Walker and I) just worked on our connection through the summer, every day,” Ingram said. “Every day we threw together and we got our timing down. We know where we will be at all times.”
The touchdown gave Hazen a 23-19 advantage, but Quinn again led Federal Way into the red zone with a 44-yard run, and the Eagles had a first-and-goal set up with less than two minutes to play.
But Federal Way couldn’t convert, with the final throw of the drive being bobbled in the end zone by an Eagles’ receiver.
Ingram and Walker struck again to stamp the win. Ingram through a bomb to Walker, resulting in a 94-yard touchdown, to clinch the 4A NPSL Valley title.
H – Safety
FW – Milton Arnold fumble recovery (kick failed)
H – Jaxon Ingram 5 run (Walker pass from Ingram)
FW – Julio Chavez-Tilei 17 pass from R.J. Tausili (Randy Ortiz kick)
H – Ingram 2 run (Caden Beck kick)
FW – Desmond Maiava 1 run (kick failed)
H – Walker 17 pass from Ingram (pass failed)
H – Walker 94 pass from Ingram (Caden Beck kick)