2B Football: Tigers Rally to Beat Onalaska
MOUNTAIN TIME: Dawson Stanley Passes for 295 Yards, Recovers Key Fumble to Stymie Loggers’ Final Drive in 36-30 Win
By Aaron VanTuyl
For The Chronicle
NAPAVINE — There was no shortage of applicable cliches here Friday night.
Was it a tale of two halves? This Mountain Division matchup fit the bill.
Was it too bad someone had to lose? Napavine coach Josh Fay said as much afterwards.
Mostly, though, it came down to the tried-and-true mantra about the team making the fewest turnovers coming out on top — and the game’s penultimate play proved it in spades.
Napavine linebacker Dawson Stanley forced and recovered a fumble on the Loggers’ 1-yard line, stopping what looked like a game-tying touchdown and all but sealing a wild, come-from-behind 36-30 win.
“It was really satisfying, man,” Stanley said of the win. “That was a pretty good battle in the second half. We didn’t really show up in the first half, but it was pretty cool to see a lot of guys show up in that second half.”
Lucas Kreger, the Loggers’ dynamic quarterback, broke free on a keeper from the 20-yard line with 25 seconds left on the clock and didn’t get meet real resistance until he was inside the 5.
Stanley, trailing the play, went into defensive autopilot.
“We work on the drill every day where you come up behind the guy and rip it out, and that was like picture-perfect from what it was in practice,” Stanley, who also accounted for four touchdowns as the Tigers’ quarterback, said. “It was like repetition at that point.”
The ball came loose, Stanley came up with it and the officials determined it was, in fact, that Tigers’ ball, with 16 seconds left on the clock.
“I was just excited,” Fay said. “It looked like our turnover circuit paid off, and we did a nice job stripping the ball.”
It capped a major second-half rally for Napavine (5-2, 2-1 league), which moved into second place in the Mountain Division standings with the win. The Loggers came into the game undefeated and looked the part in the first half, methodically running the ball 28 times for 235 yards, converting on every third down and scoring on all three of their possessions for a 24-6 lead. Kreger, who finished with 24 carries for 181 yards, scored 26- and 35-yard touchdowns and ran in all three conversions; Hazen Inman, who ran 19 times for 75 yards, notched the first score on a 1-yard plunge.
“They dominated us,” Fay said of the first half. “Tip your hat to those guys. We had a very hard time stopping them.”
Napavine, meanwhile, got its only touchdown on a 7-yard run from Jared McCollum, a senior taking on a bigger role in the offense due to injuries.
In the second half, though, Napavine’s offense started to click. Five plays into the third quarter Stanley hit Laythan Demarest for a 26-yard touchdown, and on the defensive side the Tigers finally forced a stop.
With that bit of momentum in their pocket the Tigers went for a home run play, and Stanley hit Ben Woodrum up the left side for an immediate 62-yard touchdown.
“Offensively, we didn’t change anything,” Stanley said, pointing out that the only technical change at halftime was throwing an extra man on the defensive front. “We just came out with a whole different energy level. There wasn’t a big adjustment or anything.”
The Tigers got creative on the extra point, with Stanley hitting Cade Evander with a jump pass to cut the lead to 24-21 midway through the third quarter.
Onalaska responded, covering 64 yards before Inman plowed in on another 1-yard run, but the conversion failed. Three minutes later Stanley broke out of the pocket and bounced into the end zone on a 12-yard run to cut it to 30-28.
The senior quarterback ran for a team-high 71 yards on 14 carries but did most of his work through the air, hitting 16 of 24 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns.
“I thought he just put the ball on target a little better,” Fay said. “He stayed poised and did a good job of finding his guys.”
The final score came on a swing pass to Tanner Low on the right side, where the sophomore running back covered 12 yards before crashing the pylon with 3:34 left on the clock. The conversion pass to Woodrum put Napavine up 36-30.
The Loggers covered 57 yards over the next three minutes and converted twice on fourth down — including a 10-yard run by Ashton Haight on fourth-and-8 — to take things down to the wire.
“We were able to capitalize on a couple breaks, obviously, at the very end of the game, and we capitalized there,” Fay said. “That’s a tough football team. We’re probably fortunate to end up with the win, and I certainly tip my hat to coach (Mazen) Saade and his staff for having those guys ready to go, and their kids played hard.”
McCollum finished with four catches for 88 yards. Demarest caught six balls for 64 yards, and Seth Butler added four catches for 66 yards.
Haight finished with 22 carries for 135 yards for the Loggers, who tallied all 399 of their offensive yards on the ground.
Onalaska (6-1, 2-1 league) hosts top-ranked Adna on Friday before closing out the season with a road game at Life Christian on Saturday, Oct. 27.
Napavine plays at Life Christian next Saturday before closing out the season at home against Rainier.
TIGERS 36, LOGGERS 30
Onalaska 8 16 6 0 —30
Napavine 6 0 15 15 —36
ONY — Hazen Inman 1-yard run; Lucas Kreger run
NAP — Jared McCollum 7-yard run; kick failed
ONY — Kreger 26-yard run; Kreger run
ONY — Kreger 35-yard run; Kreger run
NAP — Dawson Stanley 26-yard pass to Laythan Demarest; Alex Gaona kick
NAP — Stanley 62-yard pass to Ben Woodrum; Stanley pass to Cade Evander
ONY — Inman 1-yard run; run failed
NAP — Stanley 12-yard run; Gaona kick
NAP — Stanley 12-yard pass to Tanner Low; Stanley pass to Woodrum
Team Stats ONY NAP
First Downs 19 12
Rushing Yards 399 95
Passing Yards 0 295
Total Yards 399 390
Comp-Att-Int 0-2-0 16-24-1
Fumbles/Lost 4/1 0/0
Penalties/Yards 8/65 6/60
Rushing: ONY — Lucas Kreger 24/181, Ashton Haight 22/135, Inman 19/75; NAP — Stanley 14/71
Passing: ONY — Kreger 0-2/0; Stanley 16-24/295
Receiving: ONY — N/A; NAP — Seth Butler 4/66, Demarest 6/64, McCollum 4/88