T-Birds clinch league title with win over Warriors


The Tumwater football team has made it clear all fall — and the summer and spring before it — that last season did not live up to expectations, and 2023 was going to be about getting back up to where the T-Birds wanted to be. Friday, they took a key step in that path, reclaiming the 2A EvCo title with a 54-6 win over Rochester.

“Our kids talked about it at the beginning of the year, that the standard of the program is to be a league champion every year,” first-year Tumwater coach William Garrow said. “Not having that happen a year ago stuck in their craw. We do a lot of goal-setting in the offseason, and this was one of the goals for the season, to reclaim the Evergreen League title, and the kids did it.”

Friday, it took the T-Birds (8-0, 5-0) about 12 minutes to find their groove on both sides of the ball, going up against Rochester’s misdirection-based offense.

“I was impressed with Rochester,” Garrow said. “They do their thing and they do it well, they’re pretty physical. We kind of wore them down in the second quarter, but they’re good at what they do.”

Once Tumwater got moving, though, there was little the Warriors (4-4, 3-3 2A EvCo) could do to stop them. The hosts led 14-0 a play into the second quarter, then scored three touchdowns in less than four minutes late in the half.

It started with a four-play — all runs — 80-yard drive that Logan Cole capped off with his second touchdown of the game. After a defensive stop, Tumwater took over at its own 47-yard line, and Ethan Kastner found David Malroy to get all 53 yards in front of them on one play.

Tumwater got the ball right back on a takeaway, and Kastner completed three straight passes on the hurry-up drive, the final one going 38 yards to Malroy for another touchdown.

“Tonight just happened to be the night when David was in when the number got called,” Garrow said. “And he made it count.”

Kastner finished 5 for 7 for 128 yards. 

On the ground, Kooper Clark led the T-Birds with 109 rushing yards, a host of teammates helped push the team total out to 338.

“The only reason it all works is those guys up front,” Garrow said. “They’ve been really good.”

Tate Quarnstrom ran for 93 yards on 13 carries for Rochester, while Mason Armstrong had 84 yards and the Warriors’ lone touchdown. As a team, the Warriors racked up 270 yards on the ground.

Rochester ends its league run with a crossover spot already locked up; the Warriors will face Tenino in the Scatter Creek Showdown next Friday.

Tumwater, with league crown in tow, will face Black Hills in the Pioneer Bowl next week.