Fifty Years Back: This thing called ‘overtime”

1973 WEEK 1: Tumwater and Centralia battle in the dark, and a legend comes back


The Pe Ell football team won the Southwest Washington 8-man Football League in 1972, winning four of its six games and tying in the other two. That wouldn’t happen in ‘73, with the WIAA doing away with ties and introducing overtime to high school football. And the Trojans got a dose of the new extra period right off the bat, in an 18-12 loss to Napavine.

Down six points after the Tigers took a late lead on a 28-yard pass from Dean Groves to Don Davis, Pe Ell got one last drive to make something happen. As the clock wound down, the Trojans made it to the 3-yard line, and as time ran out, quarterback Jan Stemoski found Mark Ross in the end zone to tie things up at 12-12.

Pe Ell had a chance to win then and there, but the Tigers’ defense came up with the stop on the two-point try, and Lewis County had its first-ever overtime battle.

Napavine won the coin toss and elected to take the ball first, starting from the 10-yard line. The Tigers went backwards on their first play, but Davis made up for it on their second, scoring from 14 yards out to put the Tigers up 18-12. The second play of Pe Ell’s ensuing drive proved just as pivotal, as the Trojans fumbled the ball away and Napavine’s Bill Wedel jumped on it, giving the Tigers the win.

A Tale of One Half

Despite being between two Black Hills League teams, the battle between Centralia and Tumwater was classified as a non-league battle. And that wasn’t the weirdest thing about it.

Thanks to a few blown-out banks of lights, one side of the field at Tumwater was shrouded in darkness, so the Tigers and T-Birds played their matchup in 50-yard increments, with the offenses moving into the light and the teams switching sides whenever they crossed midfield.

The Thunderbirds made the most of their home-field advantage early in the game — which turned into a 26-0 Tumwater win — recovering a kickoff that the Tigers lost in the dark to set themselves up with prime field position.

Quick Hits

  • Ted Hippi, who had been away form the Toledo program for three years, returned to the sideline in Cheesetown with an 8-6 win over Tenino. It was his 45th consecutive victory at the helm for the program.
  • Onalaska scored 25 unanswered points to beat White Pass 25-6, snapping a 23-game losing streak.


“We’d move the ball down past the 50 and then the game would be stopped and everybody would have to turn around and go the other way.” — Centralia coach Skip Raish, on the Tigers’ game against Tumwater.

Stat of the Week

Doug Hitchcock (Chehalis): Eight carries, 134 yards, two touchdowns

Other Scores

Chehalis 37, Ocosta 0

Morton 28, Kalama 14

Mossyrock 43, Rochester 18

Castle Rock 40, Winlock 8

Quinault 50, Rainier 8

Clallam Bay 72, Adna 0 (Saturday)

Moclips 54, Oakville 0 (Saturday, in an 11-man contest)


Black Hills League (AA)

Camas 0-0 1-0

Chehalis 0-0 1-0

Elma 0-0 1-0

Shelton 0-0 1-0

Timberline 0-0 1-0

Tumwater 0-0 1-0

Centralia 0-0 0-1

N. Thurston 0-0 0-1

South Centralia League (A)

Morton 1-0 1-0

Mossyrock 1-0 1-0

Onalaska 1-0 1-0

Toledo 1-0 1-0

Winlock 0-0 0-1

Kalama 0-1 0-1

Rochester 0-1 0-1

Tenino 0-1 0-1

SWW 8-man

Napavine 0-0 1-0

Quinault 0-0 1-0

Boistfort 0-0 0-0

Wishkah 0-0 0-0

Adna 0-0 0-1

Oakville 0-0 0-1

Rainier 0-0 0-1

Pe Ell 0-0 0-1