The battle for the 2B Pacific league crown lived up to expectations: It was high scoring.
Both high-powered offenses waited until the second half to ignite, but a 24-point fourth quarter, led by senior running back Saul Gonzalez, gave North Beach the title with a 44-27 victory over Life Christian on Saturday night.
“Our plan is to stack the box, keep eight in the box and stop the run. That’s our plan,” said Life Christian coach Jess Nelson.
Well, it worked for a little bit.
North Beach (8-0, 7-0 2B Pacific) favors the run, to say the least.
“We are a blue-collar type of team. We’ve got five guys on our team squatting 400 pounds in the weight room, fast guys, too,” said Hyaks coach Todd Bridge.
You can’t talk about quickness and speed without mentioning Gonzalez, who had four touchdowns Saturday, three in the second half.
“14 (Gonzalez) is good,” said Bridge. “During our past two games he has scored seven touchdowns. And here’s the great part, he touched the ball only seven times during those games.”
Gonzalez didn’t skip a beat Saturday. His final three touchdowns were back-to-back-to-back. He scored from 8 yards, 34 yards and 58 yards. And his final touchdown was from 80 yards.
“I have to give all the credit to my offensive line,” said Gonzalez. “Without them, none of this was possible.”
The Hyaks scored on their first drive, when Gonzalez and Skyler Wells split the workload. Gonzalez ran for 35 yards on the drive, but Wells scampered left for the touchdown with 7:57 left in the opening quarter.
After a pass interference call on North Beach, the Eagles started in great field position. On the next play, Wyatt Dunlap bounced in for a 1-yard touchdown.
After a failed Hyaks’ fourth-down attempt in the second quarter at the Eagles 17, Life Christian’s Jack Hohimer carved up the North Beach defense, completing six passes for 78 yards, one of them a 26-yard dart over the middle to Dunlap, putting the Eagles up 14-6 with 3:40 left in the second quarter.
It didn’t take much time for North Beach to answer: 1 minute and two seconds and three plays to be exact. Gonzalez started the drive with a 43-yard play to the 8-yard line. He scored off a sweep on the next play.
The third quarter was quiet until North Beach called a passing play, something it only did three times, and scored on from 43 yards out.
Life Christian showed some life late, but it was too late. Hohimer threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, both to fellow senior Dunlap (26 and 65 yards).
Cascade Christian 44, Vashon Island 0: Cascade Christian’s defense is sure glad to have Kyle Milton back in action.
After the senior missed a handful of games to an elbow injury, he returned to the Class 1A reigning state champions and led the Cougars’ defense in the shutout Saturday at Sunset Chev Stadium.
“We came right at them (on defense), and that’s the style I like to play with — hard-nosed and hard-hitting,” Milton said.
The No. 8 ranked Cougars (6-1, 2-0 1A Nisqually) came into the game needing Milton at his best as they faced the state’s leading rusher, Bryce Hoisington.
And it was Milton and the Cougars defense stuffing Hoisington, having the Pirates sophomore finish far below his rush;ing averages.
“We’re getting better every week,” Cascade Christian coach Randy Davis said. “Our boys responded. We’ve been flat coming out of halftime, but our boys rose up and responded real well.”
That response came from the defense, which looked in complete control of the Pirates’ offense, limiting Hoisington to 4.3 yards per carry, below his 8.9 yard average.
Milton finished with a game-high 13 tackles (eight solo and five assisted) while forcing a fumble and recovering one.
“We played with a lot of energy and a lot of hype, and (Vashon Island is) an old-school, ground-and-pound team,” Milton said.
For Vashon Island (3-5, 0-3), Hoisington finished with 102 yards on 24 carries, which was 166 yards below his average rushing yards per game.
“That’s just great game plan from our coaches, and we just executed when it came to game day,” Milton said.
— Kevin Manning