State 2B Football: Tigers Can’t Rally in Title Game
REPEAT CHAMPS: Dyer Throws for 317 Yards, 3 TDs as Kalama Wins State 2B Title Game, 34-25
By Aaron VanTuyl
For The Chronicle
TACOMA — For most of the season, the Tigers have been a second-half team.
Comeback wins against Onalaska and Toledo. Halftime ties with Chewelah and Adna that turned into playoff wins.
Kalama, however, had seen enough of Napavine over the last two years to know better.
Quarterback Alex Dyer threw for 317 and three touchdowns, and the Chinooks bottled up Napavine in the second half to run away with a 34-25 win and repeat as the State 2B football champions.
Napavine finished the season with an 11-3 record and took the second-place trophy for the third time in five seasons, graduating a senior class that played in a total of 55 games over four years.
“I think those guys went above and beyond this year. I don’t think many people gave them much of a shot to do anything,” Napavine coach Josh Fay said. “I think it’s a testament to those guys’ hard work. As much as some people would like to think we’re just loaded with talent, those guys just work really hard.”
Against the Chinook defense, though, the Tigers could never really find a rhythm on offense.
“We had a hard time getting any momentum,” Fay said. “We just couldn’t do anything to change the tide.”
The first three Tiger touchdowns came on pass plays of at least 38 yards; those plays accounted for 146 of their 179 passing yards in the contest. Kalama’s defense, meanwhile, had seven tackles for loss and allowed only 93 rushing yards.
“I think there were some execution issues, but they mixed up their coverages, ran some man and zone, and I thought they did it effectively,” Fay said “They gave us some different looks, but you’ve got to be able to execute, and there were times where we just didn’t execute.”
The Chinooks also caught the momentum on two big first-half calls.
After a fourth-and-1 run was measured twice and finally ruled a first down, Dyer tossed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Max Ross over the middle to put Kalama up 14-7.
And after a 10-yard offensive holding call, Brennon Vance cut up to the left, hugged the sideline and went 77 yards for a score to put the Chinooks up 20-7 eight minutes before halftime.
Napavine needed a 38-yard bomb from Stanley to Ben Woodrum with 51 seconds to close the gap to 20-13 at the intermission — the same score, incidentally, as the teams’ last two games. Stanley had already tossed a 47-yard touchdown pass to Laythan Demarest on Napavine’s first drive to tie things at 7-7, immediately answering a 5-yard touchdown run from freshman Bradey O’Neil on the Chinooks’ first drive.
The Tigers were unable to turn the tide in the third quarter, going three-and-out on three straight second-half drives. During that span Dyer hit Vance for a 21-yard touchdown and Max Ross for a 25-yard score, pushing the Chinooks’ lead to 34-13 late in the third frame.
“We had a couple coverage breakdowns early in the game, on those deep passes, but I thought Dyer had a pretty good game,” Fay said, of the reigning 2B Player of the Year. “I don’t know if that’s his best game, which, maybe that’s a good thing — I’ve seen him play better — but it was good enough to win a state championship, so that’s pretty good.”
Woodrum’s second interception set up Napavine’s next touchdown, a 61-yard bomb from Stanley to Jared McCollum. Stanley tossed a jump pass to sophomore Cade Evander from 4 yards out in the final minute, but it was too little, too late for the Tigers.
Stanley, a two-time SWW 2B League Mountain Division Offensive MVP, ran 20 times for 87 yards and completed 9 of 26 passes for 317 yards. The senior also broke a 14-year old state record in the first half, booting a punt that worked out to 62 yards. The previous longest punt in a 2B championship game was 60 yards, by DeSales’ Casey Worth in 2004.
Stanley moved to quarterback last season, after playing as a running back his first two years, and developed into a two-way standout and team leader, Fay said.
“He did a really good job and he kept these guys together through some tough times,” Fay said. “I just can’t thank him enough for the things he’s done.”
The No. 4-seeded Tigers went 5-1 to finish second in the Mountain Division, and upset top-seeded Adna 32-13 in the state semifinals to reach the championship game. It was also the final prep football game for Napavine seniors Seth Butler, Woodrum, Tristen Ellison, McCollum, Brett Bradshaw, James Hollinger, Hayden Lester, Gabe Duncan, and Frank Medina.
CHINOOKS 34, TIGERS 19
Kalama 14 6 14 0 —34
Napavine 7 6 6 6 —19
KAL — Brady O’Neil 5-yard run; Logan Jones kick
NAP — Dawson Stanley 47-yard pass to Laythan Demarest; Demarest kick
KAL — Alex Dyer 29-yard pass to Max Ross; Jones kick
KAL — Brennon Vance 77-yard run; kick failed
NAP — Stanley 38-yard pass to Ben Woodrum; run failed
KAL — Dyer 21-yard pass to Vance; kick failed
KAL — Dyer 25-yard pass to Max Ross; Dyer run
NAP — Stanley 61-yard pass to Jared McCollum; kick failed
NAP — Stanley 4-yard pass to Cade Evander; run failed
Team Stats KAL NAP
First Downs 23 10
Rushing Yards 181 93
Passing Yards 317 173
Total Yards 498 266
Comp-Att-Int 19-32-2 9-26-1
Fumbles/Lost 4/1 0/0
Penalties/Yards 8/103 7/90
Rushing: KAL — Brennon Vance 5/120, Bradey O’Neil 6/25; NAP — Dawson Stanley 20/87
Passing: KAL — Alex Dyer 19-32/317; NAP — Dawson Stanley 9-26/173
Receiving: KAL — Randall Keithley 5/115, Max Ross 5/79, Brennon Vance 3/52; NAP — Seth Butler 3/4, Laythan Demarest 2/53, Ben Woodrum 2/52, Jared McCollum 1/61