State 2B Football: Titans Test Top Ranked Kalama Early Then Fall Hard in Quarterfinals
Hot Start: PWV Staked Out a 15-6 Lead Before the Floodgates Opened
By Jordan Nailon
KALAMA – Pe Ell-Willapa Valley had the number one ranked and undefeated Kalama Chinooks scratching their heads early in their 2B football quarterfinal matchup here Friday night. The Titans employed their battle-tested three-headed monster backfield of Tyson Nissell, Max Smith and Peter Hamilton for big yards time and time again in the first half as they methodically carved out a 15-6 lead with just less than ten minutes remaining in the second quarter.
But the Kalama offense proved to be every bit as potent as advertised and once they quit grinding their gears the Chinooks managed to put up 44 unanswered points on their way to a 50-15 playoff victory.
While it wound up as a lopsided season ending defeat for the Titans, there is no doubt that they had the Chinook faithful on edge for the majority of the first half. PWV got the ball rolling in the right direction right out of the chute when they took the opening kickoff and then pieced together a ten play drive, all runs, that covered 52 yards in 4:22. Peter Hamilton capped that drive with a 3-yard rushing touchdown and a Carson Cox extra point gave the Titans a 7-0 lead.
Kalama do-it-all speed demon Jacob Herz answered right back for the Chinooks with an 80-yard kickoff return but the Titans were able to block the point after attempt in order to preserve their lead.
On their ensuing possession the Titans set themselves up with a 1st and goal from the four yard line. After being stopped short on 2nd down the Titans fumbled on 3rd down for a loss of a couple yards and then a hot-route pass from Matt Pearson that was intended for Ryan Shepherd fell to the turf for a turnover on downs. Turning the proverbial lemons into lemonade though, PWV tackled a Kalama runner for a short loss on first down and then sent the house on a blitz on second down that wound up netting the Titans a safety when Chinook quarterback Alex Dyer was swarmed from all sides deep in his own endzone.
After returning the post-safety free kick to around midfield the Titans gave the ball to Nissell who saw toothed his way through the Kalama defense for a 25-yard gain. Shortly thereafter Hamilton took a handoff and crashed up the middle for an eight yard scoring dive that gave the Titans a 15-6 lead with 9:58 left in the second quarter.
“One of our goals tonight was time of possession and we owned that in the first half,” noted PWV coach Josh Fluke. “We weren’t going to try any truckery. We were just going to play straight ahead football.
Indeed, in that inaugural half the Titans held onto the ball for 20 of 24 minutes of action. Unfortunately for the football Titans of PWV, that score would represent the final good news of the night.
As the Titans hopes quickly unraveled, first Dyer connected with Tucker Wetmore on an 11-yard touchdown pass to the corner of the endzone. Then, after forcing the Titans to turn the ball over on downs with just 40 seconds left in the half Kalama covered 65 yards in 33 seconds for the go-ahead score that came on a two-yard bootleg run by Dyer. After the point after kick Kalama was able to take a 19-15 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
In the second half Kalama added to their tally with a seven yard run from Herz, a 20-yard pass from Dyer to Wetmore, a 30-yard field goal from Logan Jones, a 44-yard punt return by Wetmore and a 20-yard run by Dyer. Dyer finished the game 14 of 18 passing for 286 yards and two touchdowns to go along with two rushing touchdowns. Jacob Herz added two touchdowns for Kalama on the ground while Wetmore led the team in receptions with seven catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns.
“They’re going to score on you. There’s no denying that. They’re just so big and strong,” said Fluke.
Peter Hamilton led PWV with 118 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries and Max Smith added 120 yards on 25 carries. Nissell added 46 rushing yards in the first half alone.
The loss ends the Titans season that saw them finish 9-3 while capturing a second straight Coastal 2B League championship and making it to at least the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs for the third straight year.
With a young and unproven squad coming into the year many observers didn’t know what to make of the 2017 Titans. Although he was disappointed with the way things ended, Fluke was altogether pleased with the run that his team put together this season, which included seven straight wins heading into Friday night.
“It was a good season. It’s just too bad for all the good seniors I had,” said Fluke. “Hopefully my guys will hit the weight room and come out stronger next year because I’m having a hard time getting over this hump.”
The win for Kalama (12-0) pits them against Napavine (11-1) in a semifinal game at either Centralia or Tumwater next Saturday. Kalama defeated Napavine 14-8 in an overtime game in the second week of the season.
CHINOOKS 50, TITANS 15
PWV 7 8 0 0 — 15
Kalama 6 13 17 14 — 50
PWV — Peter Hamilton 2-yard run; Carson Cox kick
KAL — Jacob Herz 82-yard kick return; kick blocked
PWV — Kobe Hoffman Safety
PWV — Hamilton 6-yard run; conversion failed
KAL — Alex Dyer 11-yard pass to Tucker Wetmore; conversion failed
KAL — Dyer 2-yard run; Logan Jones kick
KAL — Herz 7-yard run; Jones kick
KAL — Dyer 20-yard pass to Wetmore; Jones kick
KAL — Logan Jones 30-yard field goal
KAL — Wetmore 44-yard punt return; Jones kick
KAL — Dyer 20-yard run; Jones kick
Team Stats PWV KAL
First Downs 17 16
Rushing Yards 60/239 28/92
Passing Yards 2-5/9 15-20-289
Total Yards 248 391
Comp-Att-Int 2-5-1 15-20-0
Fumbles/Lost 1/0 2/1
Penalties/Yards 2/10 7/61
Rushing: PWV — Peter Hamilton 24/118/2, Max Smith 25/120; KAL — Colby Hutchinson 7/37, Jacob Herz 7/30
Passing: PWV — Matt Pearson 2-5/9; KAL — Alex Dyer 14-18/286
Receiving: PWV — Ryan Shepherd 1/5, Cub Bair 1/4, KAL — Tucker Wetmore 7/164, Jacob Herz 4/99