2B Football: Dyer, Kalama End Tigers’ Season
SEMIFINALS: Napavine Finishes Third in State With 20-13 Loss; Chinook QB Throws for 286 Yards, 3 TDs
By Aaron VanTuyl
Kalama’s insurance touchdown came early in the fourth quarter, on a third-and-long play in which quarterback Alex Dyer evaded pressure long enough to hit Jacob Herz for a 95-yard touchdown.
The symbolism was easier to grasp than the Chinooks’ junior quarterback.
Dyer evaded pressure nearly all night, and Kalama’s explosive offense was too much for a Napavine team that gave itself fits in a 20-13 loss Saturday night in Centralia.
“Dyer was slippery back there,” Napavine coach Josh Fay said. “We’d get pressure and he’d come out. The two-safety look helped us and hurt us; it made it difficult to finish him off when our line guys got pressure.”
The 20-13 loss ended the Tigers’ three-year string of State 2B championship game appearances, and sends Kalama (13-0) to the finals next weekend to play Liberty for the gold ball trophy.
“Nobody sitting in that locker room is happy with where we ended up,” Fay said. “Their expectation is that we’re going to be playing next week.”
Napavine finished the season with an 11-2 record and a third-place state trophy a year after winning the state title.
On Friday, though, Dyer and his receivers — primarily Herz, who finished with seven catches for 183 yards — blocked a fourth-straight trip to Tacoma. Dyer hit 16 of 22 passes for 286 yards and was brought down for a loss only twice, both times just a yard behind the line of scrimmage.
Junior quarterback Dawson Stanley ran 31 times for 130 yards and two touchdowns, but the Tigers managed just 55 yards through the air and were picked off twice.
Napavine also came up empty on three trips to the red zone. The last of those ended when Stanley was brought down on the 4-yard line; three plays and a minute later Herz was wrapping up his 95-yard touchdown, and the Chinooks’ 20-13 lead would stand the rest of the evening.
“You don’t punt in the first three quarters, and we’re in the red zone three times with no points — that’s difficult,” Fay said. “Some penalties down there hurt us, and that one’s going to hurt. But they’re the team that wins, and I guess you have to give them some credit for being able to do that.”
Napavine went three-and-out on its next drive, then forced a Kalama punt with just under four minutes to go. Back-to-back flags put the Tigers in a tough second-and-25 spot, and two incomplete passes forced another punt.
The Tigers got the ball back with 1:20 to play, but with a minute left defensive back Tucker Wetmore batted away a fourth-down pass to essentially end the game.
Napavine scored first, going 60 yards on seven plays on its second possession before Stanley darted in from 17 yards out. The Chinooks replied quickly, needing just 1:13 to go 68 yards with Dyer hitting Wetmore on a 39-yard scoring completion.
“They’re a pretty high-powered offense,” Fay said. “I thought their first touchdown was another tough one for us, and we just had some coverage issues there. We got stuck in the zone and didn’t move real well, but we also didn’t play a quarterback like Dyer (this season).”
The Tigers worked down to the 6-yard line on their next drive before a bad snap cost them 22 yards and derailed what had been a promising drive.
Kalama then chewed up nearly six minutes of clock before taking a 14-6 lead when Wetmore went up over cornerback Garret Shannon to win a jump ball in the back of the end zone on a 10-yard completion.
Shannon, though, quickly got his revenge. After another Tiger drive stalled in the red zone, the senior picked off another pass headed for Wetmore and packed it almost 30 yards to the 2-yard line. Stanley darted around the left side for a touchdown on the next play, cutting the Chinooks’ lead to 14-13 with just over a minute remaining until halftime.
It was the final game for Napavine seniors Kyson Newcomb, Randy Kinswa, Jordan Purvis, Noah Lantz, Garret Shannon, Austin Palmer, Cole VanWyck, Wade Sabin, Joel Ross, Noah Cole, Jordan Weichel, Jared Weichel, Brad Osborn, and Cameron Wirt. The seniors went 48-6 in their four-year run, winning a state title in 2016 and taking second in 2014 and 2015 before this year’s third-place finish.
“They’re just great kids. These guys are really the nicest kids you could be around. They bust their butts for this program,” Fay said. “They’ve put us where we wanted to go, and they left a good mark on this program.”
CHINOOKS 20, TIGERS 13
Kalama 7 7 0 6 — 20
Napavine 6 7 0 0 — 13
NAP — Dawson Stanley 17-yard run; kick failed
KAL — Alex Dyer 39-yard pass to Tucker Wetmore; Logan Jones kick
KAL — Dyer 10-yard pass to Wetmore; Jones kick
NAP — Stanley 2-yard run; Noah Lantz kick
KAL — Dyer 95-yard pass to Jacob Herz; kick failed
Team Stats KAL NAP
First Downs 9 15
Rushing Yards 71 177
Passing Yards 286 55
Total Yards 357 232
Comp-Att-Int 16-22-1 6-20-2
Fumbles/Lost 2/1 3/0
Penalties/Yards 8/72 4/25
Rushing: KAL — Dyer 11/52; NAP — Stanley 31/130, Noah Lantz 10/48
Passing: KAL — Dyer 16-22/286; NAP — Stanley 6-20/55
Receiving: KAL — Herz 7/183, Wetmore 5/66; NAP — Randy Kinswa 1/24, Jordan Purvis 1/16, Noah Lantz 3/11