Tigers take punch, grind Loggers down

SLOW AND STEADY: Napavine scores two TDs every quarter to pull away


ONALASKA — Onalaska made Napavine bleed.

Napavine made Onalaska pay.

The Loggers threw the best punch that the Tigers have seen in a regular-season game in quite some time, but all it did was delay things, as a slow avalanche of big plays buried them in a 58-14 Napavine win in hostile territory.

“It’s always good beating Ony,” Napavine quarterback Ashton Demarest said. “It’s Ony. I love beating them.”

After falling behind 8-0 early and hitting rough patches on offense, the Tigers (2-0) ground their way to a lead by the end of the first quarter, on a pair of Demarest runs. By halftime, it was 30-14, capped off by a Demarest touchdown pass to Colin Shields in the final 10 seconds of the second quarter.

Still, the Logger faithful had plenty of buzz, down just two possessions at the break to the defending state champs who came east heavily-favored. So after only managing 37 rushing yards in the first half, the Tigers went to work crafting a haymaker.

“We had to stay the course and regroup,” Napavine coach Josh Fay said. “It took longer than I’d hoped it would, but I thought we responded at halftime, and were pretty focused coming out.”

It took 10 seconds.

After falling on a short kickoff, Napavine took over at its own 33-yard line, and Caleb Von Pressentin got all 67 yards needed on one mad dash up the left sideline to paydirt.

“That just got us more excited,” Demarest said. “We were excited before, but we were even more excited this time.”

Onalaska went three-and-out — the Loggers ended up punting five times — and on their next possession, the Tigers went more methodically, with a host of short runs setting up a play-action shot from Demarest to Karsen Denault for a 29-yard touchdown.

Just like that, the Napavine offense started to fire on more and more cylinders. 

“Once it got going a little bit, I think up front we got a lot better,” Fay said.

Von Pressentin finished with 96 rushing yards to lead the Tigers, who finished with 280 yards on the ground.

“He’s a tough kid, he’s a bulldog,” Fay said. “We’re glad he’s on our team. He runs hard, and he gets to the hole in a hurry. He and Cael are a pretty nice combo back there.”

On the flip side, Demarest finished 12 for 21 for 238 yards through the air, with three touchdowns. Two of those scores went to Denault, who also scored on a 54-yard screen pass in the second quarter.

Those screen passes were just about the only thing working early for Napavine; a 56-yard gainer to Cayle Kelly set up the Tigers’ first touchdown.

Meanwhile, Onalaska hit the ground running, forcing a three-and-out deep in Napavine territory that became two points when the snap on the punt went out the back of the end zone.

After taking the ensuing safety punt, the Loggers (1-1) went 56 yards on three plays, capped by a 31-yard touchdown pass from Kayden Mozingo to Cooper Lawrence.

“Our kids came out, and they weren’t scared of the name on the front of the jersey,” Onalaska coach Mazen Saade said. “They just wanted to play.”

Mozingo added another touchdown pass, to Blaze Underhill, in the second quarter, and also led Onalaska with 56 rushing yards on 18 carries.

Once the Tigers got going, though, it became harder for the Loggers to keep their stride.

“When you’re in a game like that, you’ve got to play four quarters of football and be prepared to play football for four quarters,” Saade said.

Napavine will get an international sort of test next week when it takes on Carson-Graham out of British Columbia, while Onalaska will host Rainier.