Tumwater escapes with win over Prosser in 2A opening round
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.
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.