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Saturday’s State 2B Football: Napavine Dumps Toledo to Return to Semifinals

Images from a State 2B football tournament quarterfinal game between Toledo and Napavine at Tiger Stadium in Centralia on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019.

STATE: Low Scores Four TDs in Tigers’ 55-0 State 2B Quarterfinal Win 

By Aaron VanTuyl

For The Chronicle

Everything was lined up for the Tigers to put together a solid game.

Napavine was playing in the state quarterfinals for the seventh straight year, and facing a straightforward Toledo team it had beaten 41-7 back on Sept. 20.

Throw in the short bus ride to Centralia — decorated in the right colors, with the right mascot, and the site of a dozen or so Tiger playoff victories — and everything was lined up for Napavine to feel right at home.

It showed up on the field.

The No. 2-seeded Tigers got 126 yards and four touchdowns from Tanner Low and dismantled Toledo, 55-0, on Saturday night.

“Our guys looked really good, and we came out on fire there,” Napavine coach Josh Fay said. “For the first time this year, we got some momentum, and we never let it go. That’s probably the difference in the game.”

Napavine was balanced and efficient on offense and sound defensively. Low used a team-high 10 carries to get his 126 yards, with quarterback Laythan Demarest adding 72 rushing yards on five carries and hitting on 5 of 6 pass attempts for 155 yards.

The defense, meanwhile, held the Indians to 149 yards and never let Toledo into the red zone.

The win means Napavine (10-1) advances to the State 2B football semifinals for the sixth straight season. They’ll face Kalama, which they beat 33-27 back on Sept. 13, in the semifinals at a time and site to be determined.

“Our goal is to just keep playing every week. We try not to get too high or too low,” Fay said. “These guys are part of a program that the bar’s been set awfully high, and I think that helps us. It’s just another game for us; it’s not really any different than Week 6 or Week 7, so I think that’s important for us.”

Napavine scored on its first three drives, getting 7- and 20-yard touchdown runs from Low and then a 40-yard strike from Laythan Demarest to Lucas Dahl.

Low added a 16-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and Demarest found Dahl up the right side for a 78-yard touchdown that put Napavine up 35-0 at halftime.

Demarest then broke free on a 45-yard touchdown run just over a minute into the third quarter, pushing the lead to 41-0 and instituting the 40-point running clock. Low added his fourth and final touchdown on a 17-yard run eight minutes later.

The junior running back, who broke his thumb in a Week 4 win over Wahkiakum, recently replaced his cast with a brace and was back to his early-season form on Saturday.

“We missed him for a while, and I thought he had a great game,” Fay noted.

Demarest, too, was a bright spot, and Dahl hauled in three catches for 132 yards and his two scores.

“Laythan threw the ball well, and our offensive line, I thought, was really good up front,” Fay said. “I think Laythan’s put a lot of balls in the right spots and we just haven’t made plays, but credit to our offensive line for giving Laythan some time, and give some credit to our receivers. I thought (Ashtin) Landry and Lucas Dahl both had great games catching the ball.”

Davin Kinsman led Toledo with 45 rushing yards on 15 carries, and quarterback Duke Schaplow went 7 of 15 passing for 69 yards.

Toledo finished the season with an 8-4 record, after taking second in the SWW 2B League River Division. It was the final game for seniors Schaplow, Anthony D’adda, Miguel Soto, Charles Kalista, Larry Demery, Joshua Quinn, and Michael Echtle.

Note: Napavine’s matchup with Kalama will mark the fourth straight season the teams have faced off in the state playoffs. Napavine beat Kalama, 41-6, in the first round in 2016 and went on to win the state title; Kalama beat the Tigers in the 2017 semifinals, 20-13, and the 2018 championship game, 34-25.

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