Tigers pull away in third quarter of crossover win over Adna


NAPAVINE — Adna was right there with Napavine. Until it wasn’t.

The Pirates found a gameplan that worked on defense and executed it about as well as they could have hoped, and the result was Napavine’s lowest-scoring first half against a 2B opponent in multiple seasons.

They were right there with the defending state champs Saturday. Until the defending state champs decided to not let it be close any more.

“There’s no magic, nothing secret about it,” Napavine coach Josh Fay said. “I think our guys did a better job of communicating, and I think they felt like they could play better.”

A one-way third quarter turned what started as a surprisingly close game into a blowout in a matter of minutes, and the Tigers rolled to a 48-0 crossover win over the Pirates to punch their ticket to the 2B state tournament.

Nearly halfway through the third quarter, Napavine’s lead sat at just 12-0, with two long touchdown passes in the first holding up as the only offensive success the Tigers had managed. But taking the ball to start the second half, the hosts drove down the field, and Conner Holmes dove in from 8-yards out to make it 20-0 with 7:48 left on the clock.

Two minutes later, after another defensive stop, Holmes picked up his second receiving touchdown of the game on a 45-yard catch-and-run over the middle. Less than a minute after that, James Grose came down with an interception in the red zone, and Ashton Demarest hit Collin Shields on an 11-yard touchdown pass to push it to 32-0.

And on the very next Adna drive, Holmes logged a pick of his own, and Cael Stanley scored from 28 yards out to trigger the running clock, less than seven minutes after it had been a two-possession game.

“They found where we were weak,” Adna coach Aaron Cochran said. “There are some spots where we have young pups who are learning how to be varsity athletes, and they’re playing their butts off but those are lumps they need to take.”

Napavine’s athletes on the outside made the difference, both when the Tigers scored their points early and in the third-quarter swing. Holmes logged three total touchdowns — two receiving, one rushing — with 109 total yards on five touchdowns, and also came down with interception.

Shields added two receiving touchdowns, while Grose had two interceptions.

“Offensively, those are our guys, those are our playmakers,” Fay said. “Then we were able to settle in with Cael and Caleb a little bit and run.”

Early on, the Pirates did a good job of keeping the Napavine rushing attack down, but the Tigers ended up with 276 yards on the ground when it was all said and done, led by 113 from Ashton Demarest.

Demarest finished 5 for 10 through the air, but four of those completions found the end zone.

On the other side, the Tigers held Adna to just 54 rushing yards and 66 passing yards. Lane Johnson led the Pirates with 35 rushing yards, caught two passes, and also threw for 24 yards. Laydon York went 7 for 17 behind center, and Beau Miller caught four balls for 30 yards.

Napavine will learn its state seeding Sunday. The Tigers are just about certain to get a top-four spot, which would give them a first-round bye in the 2B state tournament.

Adna finishes its season with a 3-7 record. The Pirates are set to graduate eight seniors: Johnson, Jens Neilson, Juan Munoz, Lakoda South, Levi Slape, Brayden Clark, Elijah Jimenez and Drake Stone.