Saturday’s 2B Football: Tigers Tear Into Mabton in State Opener
Supporting Cast: Sophomore Lucas Dahl Accounts for Three Touchdowns in 51-14 Win
By Jordan Nailon
Napavine took the wind out of the visiting Vikings’ attack early here on Saturday before coasting to a 51-14 victory in the opening round of the 2B state football playoffs.
The Tigers put up 35 unanswered points to start the game, including 28 points in the first quarter. All the while, the Napavine defense honed in on Mabton’s one-trick pony offense, allowing just one completion on the Vikings first 15 offensive plays, all of which were drawn up as pass attempts.
“That’s what we planned on this week. We knew they were going to pass a lot because we have a good defensive line,” said Napavine’s Lucas Dahl, who snared an interception in the first half to help his team build an insurmountable lead.
In the end, Mabton quarterback Andrez Zavala connected on just a dozen of 41 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. Those wonky stats were neutralized even further by the Vikings rushing attack that could only manage to go backwards for -77 yards on the day. Conversely, Napavine’s offense was able to amass 478 total yards, with their defense adding a score along the way for good measure.
Gavin Parker capped a short Napavine drive with a 2-yard rushing touchdown to get the scoring started with 8:24 left in the first quarter. and Tanner Low added a 2-yard scoring scamper of his own shortly thereafter. Dahl then got in on the action with a 34-yard touchdown run of his own. After snaring his interception to start the Tigers’ next drive Dahl put a bow on the ensuing drive with a 34-yard touchdown reception on a toss from quarterback Laythan Demarest.
Just because the first quarter was over didn’t mean the Tigers were finished feeding on the Mabton defense, though. Starting their drive with a fresh clock in the second quarter, Napavine needed just one minute, and two plays, to traverse half the field and pick up a score. The final 37 yards of that scoring drive was again derived from a Demarest to Dahl connection.
“Lucas (Dahl) is a guy who we think is really close to being a next level type of kid for us. He’s a playmaker who can compliment some of those other guys. He’s only a sophomore so hopefully he’s coming into his own now,” said Napavine coach Josh Fay.
After Napavine’s hot start it seemed it was only a matter of time before a running clock came into play with a 40-point lead on the scoreboard. A stubborn Mabton team made sure it took more time than expected, though. A pair of interceptions helped get the Vikings some newfound traction in the second quarter just as quarterback Zavala and wide receiver Aleiz Galarza found their synergy in the passing game. A 27-yard pass from Zavala to Galarza with 7:51 remaining in the half finally got the Vikings on the board and temporarily staved off the mercy rule scenario.
The Napavine defense wound up adding points to their team’s tally late in the first half when Cade Evander burst through the Mabton offensive line and Mario Lara cleaned up the ball carrier for the two-point score. Following the Vikings faltering safety kick, the Tigers tacked on one more first half score when Demarest connected with Evander for a 45-yard score through the air with less than a minute remaining.
At the half, the scoreboard read 44-6, which was good, but not everything a notoriously picky Napvine coaching staff would have hoped for. Fay, in particular, said he was happy with the quick start on offense but hopes his team can learn to limit their mistakes and put away a struggling team when they have the chance in the future.
“Obviously there in that second quarter we go interception, interception, fumble and they go two back-to-back plays deep there. That’s going to be tough to come back from going forward here,” said Fay. “We did a great job of coming back to get that score but we’re going to need to be more consistent.”
Five minutes into the second half, Tanner Low did everyone in attendance a favor by rushing in for a 17-yard touchdown that finally gave the Tigers the elusive 40-point lead that sent the clock careening toward zeroes. A late score for Mabton on a 45-yard pass from Zavala to Galarza did nothing but change the final stats of the game.
Low finished the game with a game-high 110 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
“We could have played better but I think we played good. We were on the verge of getting away but you know we had a couple of mistakes. Turnovers are never good, but we’ll get better. We’ll get it fixed. We’ll be good,” said Dahl, who finished with 66 yards and a touchdown on three carries along with 101 yards and two touchdowns on five catches.
Laythan Demarest threw 17 times for 162 yards and three touchdowns on eight completions.
“We didn’t ask him to do much so we could see if we could get some other guys some bigger workload,” noted Fay.
Reflecting on the defensive effort of his team, Fay pointed out the well-rounded body of work that Evander put together.
“I thought Cade played well. I thought that was his second best game of the season and those other guys should be thanking him because they got credit for a lot of sacks and that safety and those are all a result of Cade just disrupting a lot of stuff in the backfield,” said Fay.
One of those other guys was a freshman lineman who wound up with that tackle for the safety.
“Mario Lara, our freshman, he played great today. He stepped up a lot,” noted Dahl. “Obviously Fernando (Gaona) and Keith (Olson) are great players on offense and defense. I appreciate them a lot.”
The win sets Napavine up against Toledo in the quarterfinals. The Tigers defeated Toledo 41-7 in Week 3 but Fay and company are by no means expecting an easy contest from their familiar foes.
“Coach Christensen just does an awesome job of getting those guys to compete and do what they do week in and week out,” said Fay.
Napavine will take on Toledo at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Tiger Stadium in Centralia.
TIGERS 51, VIKINGS 14
Mabton 0 6 0 8 — 14
Napavine 28 16 7 0 — 51
NAP — Gavin Parker 2-yard run; Pietro De Battista
NAP — Tanner Low 2-yard run; De Battista kick
NAP — Lucas Dahl 34-yard run; De Battista kick
NAP — Laythan Demarest 23-yard pass to Dahl; De Battista kick
NAP — Demarest 37-yard pass to Dahl; De Battista kick
MAB — Andrez Zavala 24-yard pass to Alexiz Galarza; Conversion fail
NAP — Mario Lara tackle for a safety
NAP — Demarest 45-yard pass to Cade Evander; De Battista kick
NAP — Low 16-yard run; De Battista kick
MAB — Zavala 45-yard pass to Galarza; Zavala run
Team Stats MAB NAP
First Downs 6 17
Rushing Yards -77 316
Passing Yards 232 162
Total Yards 155 478
Comp-Att-Int 12-41-1 8-17-3
Fumbles/Lost N/A 2/1
Penalties/Yards 7/45 5/45
Rushing: MAB — N/A; NAP — Tanner Low 13/110, Lucas Dahl 3/66, Gavin Parker 6/26
Passing: MAB — Andrez Zavala 12-41/232; NAP — Laythan Demarest 8-17/162
Receiving: MAB — Alexiz Galarza 6/142, Armando Morales 4/63; NAP — Lucas dahl 5/101, Cade Evander 1/45