TNT top 10: Best plays from the high school football state championships
Who made the biggest plays last weekend in the Tacoma Dome? The News Tribune breaks down five honorable mention plays, and the top 10 from the 2018 Gridiron Classic.
DYER-ROSS CONNECTION GRABS LEAD
Just before the end of the first quarter in the Class 2B state championship game, Kalama quarterback Alex Dyer tossed the first of his three touchdowns to Max Ross.
Dyer, the reigning 2B state player of the year, faked a pitch and lobbed up the 29-yard scoring pass to Ross, who slipped behind Napavine’s secondary with to give the Chinooks a 14-7 lead.
The Tigers never took the lead back, and Kalama completed back-to-back titles with a 34-25 win. Dyer finished 19 of 32 for 317 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Ross hauled in five catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns.
STANLEY AIRS IT OUT TO MCCOLLUM
After Napavine fell into a three-touchdown hole in the second half of the 2B title game, Tigers quarterback Dawson Stanley ignited a late rally with a 61-yard touchdown pass to Jared McCollum.
Facing fourth-and-10 midway through the fourth quarter, Stanley dropped back and hurled the ball downfield. McCollum snatched the pass near the 15-yard line, evaded a defender, and scampered into the end zone to cut Kalama’s lead to 34-19 at the 6:03 mark.
Stanley finished 9 of 26 for 173 yards, four passing touchdowns of 47, 38, 61 and 3 yards, and one interception. He also led the Tigers in rushing with 87 yards on 20 carries, set a 2B Gridiron Classic record for longest punt (64 yards) in the second quarter.
VANCE GETS THE CORNER
Running back Brennon Vance pushed Kalama’s early lead in the 2B title game to 20-7 with a 77-yard touchdown run at the 8:04 mark in the second quarter.
Vance sped toward the Napavine sideline, missed a defender on the corner, stayed in-bounds and ripped down the sideline for the long score. He finished with a game-high 120 rushing yards and the touchdown on five carries.
MARSH TAKES THE LEAD BACK
Moments after Hockinson took its first lead in the 2A title game with 10:30 to play in the fourth quarter, Lynden’s James Marsh took it right back. Marsh rolled to his left on quarterback keeper, avoided a diving defender, and scampered for a 13-yard score.
He finished 7 of 16 passing for 107 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also finished with a game-high 120 rushing yards on 19 carries, and scored two touchdowns on the ground.
NIEHAUS RECOVERS ONSIDE KICK
Hockinson had already grabbed the lead back on one of Sawyer Racanelli’s five rushing touchdowns moments earlier, but this is the play that broke Lynden.
Nick Charles sent a short kickoff near Lynden’s 30-yard line, the Hawks knocked the ball away from a Lions receiver, and Niko Niehaus dove on the ball at the 22 with 6:29 to go.
Another Racanelli score pushed the lead to two possessions three plays later, and Hockinson held on for back-to-back titles with a 42-37 win.
TNT TOP 10
10. KING, ODESSA COMPLETE 40-POINT QUARTER
Running back Marcus King capped a historic first quarter for Odessa in the eight-man 1B state title game with a 32-yard scamper up the right sideline.
The Tigers, who went on to win 63-12 over Almira-Coulee-Hartline, broke a 1B Gridiron Classic record for most points in a quarter with a 40-point first quarter. King’s touchdown tied what Bridgeport-Manson scored in a single quarter in 1988 (38 points) with his 32-yard score, and the Tigers broke it on a conversion run.
King finished with a game-high 225 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries.
9. CHASE GETS A FOOT DOWN
Nebraska commit Darien Chase showed why he’s a heralded Division I recruit early in the second quarter of Union’s 52-20 win over Lake Stevens in the 4A state title game.
Chase beat Kasen Kinchen down the sideline, hauled in a diving 37-yard pass from Titans quarterback Lincoln Victor, and planted his right foot as he fell out of bounds. Union scored three plays later, grabbing a 21-20 lead it never lost.
Chase also scored Union’s opening touchdown in the first quarter, corralling a 20-yard pass from Victor in the back of the end zone. Chase finished with five catches for 126 yards and the touchdown.
8. VANDERYACHT SWINGS MOMENTUM
Hockinson had just taken its first lead in the 2A title game with 10:30 to play in the fourth quarter, but Grant VanderYacht was quick to swing the momentum back in Lynden’s favor.
VanderYacht corralled the ensuing kickoff at his own 6-yard line, and blew by a swarm of Hawks before Racanelli made a touchdown-saving tackle at the Hockinson 13. The return set up a go-ahead score for the Lions.
VanderYacht finished with 197 all-purpose yards.
7. KNIGHT HITS LARSON ON HOME RUN BALL
The score was long decided in the 1A state title game — a 48-7 win in favor of Colville — but Indians quarterback John Knight’s final touchdown was perhaps his most exciting.
With 11:39 to go in the fourth quarter, Knight faked a pair of handoffs, rolled to the right and threw a bullet down the field to his running back, Jakob Larson. Larson was already several yards away from two defenders when he hauled in the pass, and he scooted into the end zone for the 68-yard score.
Knight finished 7 of 12 for 226 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for two more scores. Larson led the Indians in rushing (12 carries, 90 yards) and receiving (three catches, 107 yards), and scored two total touchdowns.
6. LONG SPINS AWAY, KINCHEN MAKES A PLAY
Each of Lake Stevens’ three touchdowns came in the first half against Union, but the 26-yard connection between quarterback Tre’ Long and Kinchen in the first quarter was the most impressive.
Long faked two handoffs, spun around, rolled out and hit Kinchen on a 26-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone, giving the Vikings a 13-7 lead.
Long finished 22 of 35 for 313 yards, the one touchdown and two interceptions. Kinchen hauled in nine passes for 123 yards and the score.
5. RACANELLI FINDS CRUM ON THE REVERSE
Trailing by two touchdowns in the second quarter of the 2A title game, high-flying Hockinson finally found the end zone on a trick play.
Garret Gundy took a handoff from quarterback Levi Crum, and flipped the ball to Racanelli on a reverse. Racanelli then threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Crum, who dove into the end zone to put the Hawks on the board. It was the second time in two weeks Racanelli, a standout receiver, threw a touchdown pass.
4. VICTOR TO SIOFELE BREAKS GAME OPEN
Victor threw five touchdown passes against Lake Stevens, breaking a 4A Gridiron Classic record last set by Skyline’s Max Browne (four) in 2012, but his 56-yard pass to running back JoJo Siofele helped the Titans pull away.
Victor found Siofele in the flat, and Siofele did the rest, scoring the first of four unanswered touchdowns for the Titans at the 8:37 mark in the third quarter.
Victor finished 19 of 24 passing for 327 yards, the five touchdowns, and one interception.
3. RACANELLI’S FIFTH RUSHING TD MAKES HISTORY
Racanelli willed Hockinson to back-to-back 2A titles with a record-breaking five rushing touchdowns in the second half.
He rushed for touchdowns of 4, 3, 7, 1 and 12 yards — all in the second half — to set a 2A Gridiron Classic record, and rallied the Hawks from a deficit that reached as many as three possessions early in the third quarter to a 42-37 win.
His final touchdown was his longest. He took a direct snap straight up the middle for a 12-yard score. Each of his five rushing touchdowns came by direct snap. His sixth touchdown came on the 11-yard pass to Crum. Racanelli finished with a game-high 200 all-purpose yards.
2. ADAMS SILENCES O’DEA
Eastside Catholic carried a 17-7 lead into halftime of its 3A state title win over O’Dea. But, running back Sam Adams made that lead far more comfortable early in the third quarter.
After the Crusaders forced a three-and-out on O’Dea’s opening drive of the third quarter, Adams returned the ensuing punt for a pivotal 48-yard touchdown.
O’Dea punter Thomas Tabor — who also broke a 3A Gridiron Classic record with a 67-yard punt during the game — was backed up into his own end zone on on fourth-and-7, and launched the kick to almost midfield.
Adams bobbled the punt, but recovered, and split two gunners before cutting toward the right sideline. Just before stepping into the end zone, he juked one more diving O’Dea player, and raised his hands in the air after crossing the goal line.
Adams finished with a game-high 115 all-purpose yards and hauled in an interception on O’Dea’s first drive of the game. Eastside Catholic won, 31-13.
1. SIOFELE FOLLOWS END ZONE PICK WITH 80-YARD RUSHING TD
Siofele had perhaps the best Tacoma Dome performance of all, and put a stamp on Union’s dominant win with two big plays he made within a minute.
First, he picked off Long in the end zone to stymie a late Vikings push with 3:04 remaining in the fourth quarter. And, on the next play, he took a handoff from Victor and plowed 80 yards into the end zone for the longest score in any of the six state championship games played this year.
Siofele finished with game-highs in rushing (five carries, 113 yards) and receiving (10 catches, 179 yards), and scored four total touchdowns — tying a 4A Gridiron Classic record. His three receiving touchdowns broke the championship game record.