There was a point early in the season Clay Angle had to begin to wonder.
Wonder if his Curtis High Vikings would win games.
Heck, wonder if they forgot how to score points.
But here they are, in October – finding themselves at the right time to get into playoff contention.
Curtis held off Bethel, 28-21, in an SPSL South thriller Friday night at Viking Stadium in University Place – its fourth victory in five games.
If the Vikings win Thursday at SPSL South leader Emerald Ridge, they will clinch at least a share of the division title.
This team seemingly gets big performances from a different player in each game. It was Tristan Beard’s turn Friday night.
The Vikings’ strong safety picked up a fumble caused by defensive tackle Jacob Budnick and returned it 85 yards to give the Vikings a 21-14 lead with 7 minutes, 45 seconds remaining.
“Their running back was fighting for extra yards, and Jacob stripped it,” Angle said. “Tristan had some nice blocking. He got the ball on one side of the field, and ended up on the other side of it.”
Bethel tied it at 21 on Bryce Missey’s 14-yard touchdown strike to Lane Brown, but the Vikings quickly answered with the game-winning score – a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Gage Ferguson at the 2:27 mark, set up by Donnell Diego’s 35-yard scamper.
Out of timeouts, the Braves threatened one more time, driving to the Curtis 8-yard line with 17 seconds to go. On the next play, Missey got out on a scramble, only to be tripped up by Beard inbounds. The clock ran out before Bethel could run another play.
“We are extremely proud of this group of young men,” Angle said. “We have only 11 seniors. And they heard some things last winter about how they would not be successful. But they were bound and determined not to let that happen.”
At Graham-Kapowsin 42, Puyallup 14: The sixth-ranked Eagles carried a shutout into the fourth quarter and routed the Vikings in SPSL South action at Art Crate Field.
Trevor Asbjornsen was efficient once again, completing 14 of 19 passes for 205 yards. He threw his only touchdown on a 10-yard pass to Jeremiah Kekoa in the opening quarter.
Four different tailbacks posted touchdown runs for the Eagles.
4A SPSL NORTHWEST
Beamer 63, at Decatur 0: That is four shutouts – and counting – for the Titans, who have the top scoring defense in Class 4A.
The Gators were limited to 118 total yards and five first downs. The Beamer defense sacked Isaiah Hatch five times.
At Bellarmine Prep 20, Yelm 14: Nathan Goltermann-Doyle rushed for 150 yards on 35 carries, and the 10th-ranked Lions survived an upset bid by the Tornados at Memorial Field.
Goltermann-Doyle’s 15-yard scoring scamper gave Bellarmine Prep a 17-7 lead in the third quarter.
But Yelm closed it to 17-14 on Daylon Matthews’ 1-yard run. And after Matthew Philichi’s 45-yard field goal with under two minutes to go extended the Lions’ lead to 20-14, Yelm had one final chance, driving to the Lions’ 40. But the Tornados’ final pass into the end zone with three seconds remaining fell incomplete.
Auburn 31, at Bonney Lake 28: The Trojans drove 35 yards in the final minute and got a game-winning 28-yard field goal by Caden Borden at Sunset Chev Stadium.
The Panthers tied it at 28 on Isaiah Weed’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Tre Weed. The siblings hooked up twice for scoring connections.
At Lakes 28, Sumner 10: Yisrael Stephens tallied 137 rushing yards and three touchdowns and the Lancers easily had their most complete effort of the season in handling the Spartans at Harry E. Lang Stadium.
Lakes went 83 yards on its opening drive, chewing up 7:04 to take a 7-0 lead on Stephens’ 1-yard plunge.
Melvin Miller added 101 rushing yards and 3-yard score for the Lancers.
Wilson 13, at Foss 0: The game might not have been as spooky as last year’s dramatic ending in the fog, but the Rams got their revenge – and will face Lincoln next week for the league title.
Keun Palu-Thompson gave the Rams a 7-0 lead at Mount Tahoma Stadium on an 87-yard kickoff return for a score to start the game.
Foss threatened with seven minutes remaining, but was stopped at the Wilson 9 on a fourth-down fumble.
The Rams went 91 yards and put the game away on Julius Yates-Brown’s 8-yard touchdown run with 3:16 remaining. Yates-Brown finished with 72 rushing yards on eight carries.
At Steilacoom 34, Franklin Pierce 13: The Sentinels’ powerful rushing attack rolled up 322 yards in the convincing victory, knocking the Cardinals into a tie for first place with River Ridge and Fife.
Brian Thomas paced Steilacoom’s ground game with 182 yards and three touchdowns – the last on a 46-yarder in the fourth quarter. Anthony Leiato added 140 rushing yards.
At Fife 29, Orting 14: Tanner Knapp had 15 carries for 115 yards, and Wes Nixon had a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown as the Trojans moved into a share of first place by defeating the Cardinals.