With a thrilling one-point victory over defending state 4A champion Union High School only six days in its rear view mirror, traveling to Olympia on the Bears homecoming night could have turned into a trap game for Puyallup.
“Coaching 17 year old kids, you always fear a hangover,” Puyallup coach Gary Jeffers said. “Sometimes I prefer going into games you’re not supposed to win as opposed to the ones you are.”
But the sixth-ranked Vikings survived an early moment of brilliance from Olympia to steadily pull over to a 45-14 victory at at Ingersoll Stadium on Friday night, keeping them a game behind first place Graham-Kapowsin with three games to go in the 4A SPSL season.
Five times Puyallup would put together scoring drives of 10 or more plays.
The first came on the first possession of the game when the Vikings took 13 plays to move from their own 35 to score on an eight-yard run by Kyler Johnson.
That’s when Olympia (2-4) flashed a bit of daring that had to make Puyallup think it might face a little more resistance than expected. Bears quarterback Nathan Hermann rolled right and found his favorite receiver, Will Anderson, wide open behind the Puyallup secondary for a 77-yard touchdown that tied the score at 7-7.
But the Vikings immediately put together another long scoring drive, moving 67 yards on 11 plays to go up 14-7 on a one-yard run by Isaiah Dickerson four minutes before the end of the first quarter and Olympia would never tie or take the lead again.
After Puyallup went up by 17 after a 35-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Luke Holcomb to a wide open Angel Sanchez and a 27-yard field goal by Hayden Lovett, Hermann and Anderson struck again.
On fourth-and-goal from the Puyallup 10, Hermann fired into the right corner of the end zone and the Vikings’ Sanchez, playing defensive back, emerged from the pile waving the ball. But the officials huddled, determining Anderson and Sanchez had simultaneously caught the ball, a play that by rule is awarded to the offense.
Anderson caught six passes for 158 yards for the game. Hermann completed 14 of 28 passes for 244 yards before being replaced by freshman Gabriel Downing in the fourth quarter.
Holcomb had an even bigger night, completing 26-of-36 for 326 yards and two touchdowns, the second a 35-yard strike to Jordan Dwyer in the third quarter.
“They gave us some looks and some certain formations that predicated us throwing the ball down field,” Jeffers said. “We haven’t always done the long ball real well this year. Our quarterback is still emerging. I thought he did a good job throwing long tonight.”
A 69-yard interception return for a score by Johnson followed.
On its final possession, Puyallup handed the ball to 5-foot-6 sophomore running back Ziere Ford 12 times during a 16-play, 99-yard drive after Olympia downed a 47-yard Ben Krasnokutsky punt just short of the end zone.
Ford made the most of his chances, gaining a team high 69 yards rushing and scoring on a three-yard run.
“We don’t always think we have that much depth,” Jeffers said. “But tonight at running back, we did. Ziere’s a hard runner. He came in and did a good job.”
No. 6 Puyallup 14 19 7 14 -- 45
Olympia 7 7 0 0 -- 14
P – Kyler Johnson 8 yard run (Hayden Lovett kick)
O – Will Anderson 77 pass from Nathan Hermann (Ben Krasnokutsky kick)
P – Isaiah Dickerson 1 run (Lovett kick)
P – Angel Sanchez 35 pass from Luke Holcomb (Lovett kick)
P – Lovett 27 field goal
O- Anderson 10 pass from Hermann (Krasnokutsky kick)
P – Jordan Dwyer 35 pass from Holcomb (Lovett kick)
P – Johnson 69 interception return (Lovett kick)
P – Ziere Ford 3 run (Lovett kick)
P – Holcomb 26-36-1-326.
O – Hermann 14-28-1-244, Gabriel Downing 2-3-0-12.
P – Johnson 14-57, Sanchez 1-7, Dickerson 5-15, Danny Uluilakepa 3-15, Joseph Dwyer 1-8, Holcomb1-2, Ford 12-69.
O – Alfredo Cortes-Ramirez 10-14, Brandone Veley 3-16, Max Tuitele 2-0, Hermann 3-(-1), Braden Matthews 1-(-1), Carlos Matheny 2-5.
P – Jos. Dwyer 8-71, Jaiden Taper 1-9, Sanchez 6-130, Dickerson 2-8, Isaac Clark 5-46, Jor. Dwyer 4-41, Johnson, 1-11.
O – Anderson 6-158, Jacob Doughty 2-9, Jack Olsen 1-33, Peter Lang 3-13, Veley 2-15, Matheny 1-4, Cortes-Ramirez.