Call the Black Hills High School football team fast and physical.
Call the Wolves opportunistic.
Call them unbeaten and moving on in the Class 2A state playoffs after a posting 48-8 opening-round victory against Burlington-Edison Friday night at Tumwater District Stadium.
Black Hills (11-0) hit the accelerator early on offense, turned three Burlington-Edison turnovers into points, and looked the part of a No. 2 seed with bigger games ahead — and a few things to clean up.
The Wolves move on to the quarterfinals next weekend, and will host to No. 7 seed Fife (10-1), which defeated North Kitsap in Sumner.
Against the Tigers, Black Hills averaged 41 yards on three touchdown plays in three possessions in the first quarter, which ended with the Wolves up, 21-0.
The fast start was important, Black Hills coach Kirk Stevens said, because it helped weather the major penalties and sloppy center snaps that marred the third quarter.
“That was on us just losing focus,” Stevens said.
His team has shown it can ride out the bad patches, Stevens said, and it showed up again.
“Our defense played outstanding,” he said. “Our defense kept them out of the end zone.”
Early on, it was the offense.
Fleet-footed senior running back Taylor Simmons opened the scoring early on a 22-yard touchdown run after a Burlington-Edison fumble on the opening kickoff set the Wolves up at the Tigers 37.
The Wolves quickly pushed the lead to two touchdowns, this time through the air, with quarterback Jaden Cote finding Josh Rodgers from 46 yards away — one play after Simmons played off a crushing block by teammate Zach Loveless on a 30-yard punt return.
On the Wolves’ third possession, Ethan Loveless turned a Cote pass into a 31-yard gain and then, on the next play, burst left untouched for 55 yards to the end zone.
The big play in the second quarter was spurred by the defense when Wolves senior linebacker Lucas Johnson fielded a fumble after a Tigers completion and cruised 27 yards to the goal.
As nice as it all looked in the first two quarters, the second half opened with sour notes. With their backs to the goal line, the Wolves’ second straight bad snap skipped past Cote and rolled out of the end zone for a safety.
The Tigers took the ensuing free kick and put together their best drive of the game, helped along by a personal foul call on the Wolves for a late hit out of bounds.
Burlington-Edison senior Dylan Wesen carried six times on the drive including a 1-yard touchdown punch.
Black Hills regained momentum on a 75-yard march, with a 26-yard Cote strike to Alex Nagy and a Tigers personal foul penalty leading to senior Preston Lee’s 10-yard touchdown.
Defense stepped up in the third quarter for Black Hills, and the names are familiar.
An Ethan Loveless interception of Tigers quarterback Isaac Lindsay thwarted one promising Burlington-Edison drive in the third quarter, and Simmons picked off Lindsay in the end zone minutes later and returned it 50 yards to midfield.
“We kind of dug deep,” Simmons said. “Defense is key to everything.”
After Simmons’ interception, the Wolves capitalized again. After a 17-yard run by Zach Loveless, Cote found Nic Bovenkamp on a slant route and the senior wideout rambled for a 40-yard score.
Freshman Peyton Hoyt got in on the fun for the Wolves with a late 25-yard touchdown, and then cashed in a two-point conversion run.
Cote threw for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 7 of 16 passing. Simmons ran for 91 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown, and Ethan Loveless had two carries for 51 yards and a score.
NO. 15 BURLINGTON-EDISON
NO. 2 BLACK HILLS
BH – Taylor Simmons 22 run (Jacob Nelson kick)
BH – Josh Rodgers 46 pass from Jaden (Nelson kick)
BH – Ethan Loveless 55 run (Nelson kick)
BH – 27 fumble return (pass failed)
BE – Safety
BE – Dylan Wesen 1 run (kick failed)
BE – Preston Lee 10 run (Nelson kick)
BH – Nic Bovenkamp 40 pass from Cote (kick failed)
BH – Peyton Hoyt 25 run (Hoyt run)
Passing: BE – Isaac Lindsay 12-20-2-142. BH – Jaden Cote 7-16-0-161.
Rushing: BE – Dylan Wesen 19-83; Axel Wilhonen 12-49. BH – Taylor Simmons 11-91; Ethan Loveless 2-51; Preston Lee 11-51.
Receiving: BE – Wilhonen 4-51; Jakob Fleury 4-48. BH – Josh Rodgers 2-46; Nic Bovenkamp 2-43.