Tenino romped for six rushing touchdowns as the Beavers hammered Elma, 44-16, to claim their first playoff appearance since 2013.
With head coach Cary Nagel in emergency surgery just before the game due to appendicitis, the rest of the Tenino coaching staff stepped up and the Beavers showed out.
Takari Hickle ran for three touchdowns, Gavin Watson tacked on two and Brody Noonan added one as the Beavers ran roughshod over the Eagles to claim the No. 2 seed in the 1A Evergreen League. It’s a tremendous turnaround for a program that entered the season having won just four games in the previous four years.
Offensive coordinator Patrick Johnson said it helped that the coaching staff has all been coaching together for years, and were well prepared by Nagel to take over in his unexpected absence.
“We were able to pound the ball,” Johnson said. “It was pretty damn muddy and our line played excellent. Our backs ran hard.”
The fifth-ranked Beavers (7-1, 3-1 league) now gets to host the first round of the crossover playoffs in two weeks. They’ll take on the loser of Castle Rock and La Center of the 1A Trico.
Before then, Tenino closes out the regular season in a non-league matchup at White Salmon (Columbia) at 1 p.m. on Saturday.