Tumwa­ter es­capes with win over Prosser in 2A open­ing round

The Olympian - - Sports - BY LO­GAN STAN­LEY lstan­ley@the­olympian.com

It’s not how long you lead, it’s when. Tumwa­ter High School run­ning back Hunter Baker ran 53 yards for a touch­down with less than two min­utes to play to lift the No. 6 T-Birds to a 21-14 vic­tory over No. 11 Prosser on Satur­day at Tumwa­ter Dis­trict Sta­dium.

“They called a 37-cross block in the hud­dle,” Baker said about his touch­down. “They said run your butt off, get be­hind your blocks and run. I saw Dy­lan Loftis come through the hole and I read his block — and it was green grass.

“So I started tak­ing off, look­ing back­ward and (wide re­ceiver) Danny Good­burn was there right be­hind me, telling me to, ‘Go, go, go. Open field,’ And that’s how I knew I had it.”

Baker also scored the ty­ing touch­down for the T-Birds, a 1-yard run with four min­utes, 55 sec­onds left in the third quar­ter to tie the game at 14. Baker had 17 car­ries for 128 yards to lead the T-Birds, who did not lead un­til Baker’s sec­ond score.

The de­ci­sive drive be­gan from the TBirds’ 27-yard line with 2:30 left. Tight end Thomas Dray­ton caught a 7-yard pass

to start the drive and Bak- er then ran 10 yards as the clock slipped un­der two min­utes.

On the next play, Baker took the hand­off and jet­ted his way into the end zone with 1:47 to go.

“He’s just a tough, hard-nosed kid,” Tumwa­ter coach Bill Beat­tie said of Baker. “He’s an in­side run­ner and gets the hits in there, and then the out­side guys are the fast guys. But then he runs in that long touch­down.”

It wasn’t easy for Tumwa­ter, which had a bumpy first half. Out­side of a 45-yard TD pass from quar­ter­back Cody Whalen to tight end Scott Duboiski with 3:06 left in the sec­ond quar­ter, the T-Birds strug­gled to move the ball.

No­tably, their sig­na­ture wing-T of­fense failed to pro­duce any big plays. Their longest run of the open­ing half was 11 yards. Paired with a hand­ful of penal­ties and two fum­bles, the T-Birds were slug­gish as the Mus­tangs held a 14-7 edge at the in­ter­mis­sion.

Prosser run­ning back Kord Tut­tle’s 1-yard run in the first quar­ter gave the Mus­tangs a 7-0 lead. Tumwa­ter tied the game on Suboiski’s TD, but Prosser took the lead again when quar­ter­back Will Wein­mann threw an 8-yard TD to Will Thomp­son, who made a one­handed grab with 54.2 sec­onds left in the first half.

“We just made some mis­takes,” Beat­tie said. “We hadn’t had a turnover in about eight weeks, and we fum­bled the ball twice in the first half. We had some missed as­sign­ments. We had some penal­ties. Again, we’re play­ing a very good foot­ball team. We just didn’t come out click­ing like we should. We fin­ished the right way though.”

The T-Birds’ de­fense was stingy all game.

De­fen­sive back De-Juan Free­man recorded two key in­ter­cep­tions. Both times, the T-Birds were able to score touch­downs after the turnover.

“I just saw the wide re­ceiver, he was lack­ing,” Free­man said about his sec­ond in­ter­cep­tion.

“I saw the ball in the air and like I said last time, ‘If the ball’s in the air, it’s mine.’ ”

The T-Birds held the Mus­tangs to 270 yards of to­tal of­fense and shut them out in the sec­ond half.

Next week, No. 6 Tumwa­ter will travel to No. 3 Lyn­den, which beat No. 14 Ea­tonville in the 2A quar­ter­fi­nals Satur­day evening.

TONY OVERMAN tover­man@the­olympian.com

Tumwa­ter run­ning back Hunter Baker breaks loose along­side team­mate Danny Good­burn for the game-win­ning touch­down run dur­ing a Class 2A state play­off game against the Prosser Mus­tangs on Satur­day af­ter­noon at Tumwa­ter Dis­trict Sta­dium.

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