ONALASKA — The Loggers had been waiting a whole year for their shot at Napavine. The fact that the visiting Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the state, one spot ahead of host Onalaska, was just icing on the mud-stained cake.
And the soggy conditions here Friday only played into the Loggers’ hand in a 36-13 SWW 2B League Mountain Division win.
Onalaska got two interceptions from Cade Lawrence, two touchdowns and around 150 rushing yards each from seniors Lucas Kreger and Ashton Haight, and scored 30 points in the second half to pull away.
“Last year, we almost did it,” Haight said. “We just kind of let up, and they came back and beat us in the last second. We just made a promise that it wasn’t ever going to happen again. And it turned out good.”
The ‘last year’ in question was the 2018 version of the matchup. With largely the same lineup they sported Friday, the Loggers led 24-6 at halftime, lost a fumble in the red zone in the final minute, and lost 36-30.
“We’re a year older, a year smarter, and we know what we need to do,” Kreger said. “We came out in the second half and just did it.”
The first half featured more punts than first downs, with each team’s quarterback breaking off a scoring run. Kreger got his on a 14-yard run in the first quarter, set up by his own 47-yard run; Napavine’s Laythan Demarest broke free for a 37-yard run in the second, which gave the Tigers a 7-6 lead going into halftime.
And after the long intermission, complete with homecoming festivities, the Loggers put it together. Lawrence and Haight, getting to the locker room late after donning sashes as the homecoming king and prince, respectively, sparked the conversation.
“He talked to our guys at halftime,” Logger coach Mazen Saade said of Haight. “Ashton just grabbed the team, and he just said ‘We’ve gotta communicate our blocks across the board.’”
Lawrence intercepted a pass to end Napavine’s first drive, and four plays later Haight was in the end zone on a 1-yard run.
Napavine worked its way back downfield, eating five minutes of clock with a nine-play drive, but Lawrence struck again with his second pick. And three plays later, capitalizing on another mistake, Kreger sold a fake handoff to Haight and found enough space to go 45 yards to the end zone.
The defense, meanwhile, forced a three-and-out, and early in the fourth frame Kreger found Lawrence in the flat for a 29-yard touchdown pass.
“I gripped the ball with my life, knowing that it’s all muddy,” Kreger said with a chuckle. “I threw it in there, and it was a shot put if anything, just trying to get it there.”
The Tigers weren’t finished, though, getting a 47-yard touchdown run from Gavin Parker just over a minute later to make it 28-13 with eight minutes left. The Loggers went three-and-out on their next drive, but Hazen Inman recovered a Tiger fumble on the 39-yard line with just under four minutes left.
Onalaska ran the clock down and punched in a touchdown — Haight’s second — in the last minute to close out the win.
Haight finished with 31 carries for 155 yards, while Kreger ran 15 times for 147 yards.
Defensively, the Loggers managed 10 tackles for loss and got another interception from Kolby Mozingo.
Demarest led Napavine with 99 rushing yards on 19 carries, but the Tigers were held to just four first downs and 184 total yards. Lucas Dahl caught two passes for 31 yards.
It was the first win against Napavine for Saade, who is in his ninth season coaching the Loggers.
“These kids earned it,” he said. “We’ve still got Adna next week, so we’re going to enjoy this one for 24 hours and then go back to work. That’s a hell of a football team we just played.”
Both teams entered the game undefeated. The Loggers (7-0, 3-0 Mountain Division) close out the regular season Friday night in Adna before wrapping the regular season with a bye.
Napavine (6-1, 2-1 league) is off until Nov. 1, when the Tigers play at Rainier.