Tigers thrash Spartans to secure North title


NAPAVINE — It’s often said that teams want to be playing their best ball heading into the postseason.

The Napavine football team certainly put its best foot forward on Thursday, clinching the C2B North title in a 52-8 thrashing of Forks.

“We’re playing pretty consistently right now,” Napavine coach Josh Fay said. “There’s a lot of consistency, a lot of guys have stepped up, played some different roles, and that’s how good teams get to where they want to go.”

Over the last three weeks, the Tigers have rattled off four straight wins, winning those games by a combined score of 178-32.

“You gotta put good wins on top of good wins,” Fay said. “I think we’ve done that for three weeks in a row so, hopefully, we can do that a little longer.”

It started clicking immediately for the Tigers on Thursday, as it took them just six plays to get into the end zone on the opening drive, one that was capped off by a long touchdown run from Ashton Demarest.

It was a nice early change of pace for the Tigers, who had turned the ball over in both of the last two weeks, once on the opening kickoff and once on the opening kickoff.

“It was nice to start a game off without spotting the other team six points,” Fay said.

While the Tigers defense proceeded to force four straight three-and-outs, the offense continued to pile up points quickly.

After touchdown runs from Cayle Kelly and Conner Holmes, Demarest hit paydirt two more times, making it 38-0 before Forks even got a single first down.

On their fifth possession of the game, the Spartans finally moved the chains, and they got the ball into Napavine territory.

On the next play, Holmes came away with an interception to give the ball right back to the offense.

A similar scenario unfolded at the beginning of the second half, when Forks’ Emmanuel Hernandez took the kickoff to the Tigers’ 38, then was picked off by Cael Stanley on the next play.

Six plays later, backup quarterback Grady Wilson found Tyler Watson in the back of the end zone, who survived a hit from the Forks safety to come down with the touchdown.

Fay credited his playmakers on both sides of the ball, but attributed the offense’s success to his linemen.

“I thought up front we were really good,” Fay said. “I thought that was a pretty solid performance. Ashton had time to throw the ball, he got some good reads, and I thought we ran the ball really well. And that’s credit to those guys up front.”

With the regular season in the rearview mirror, Fay said he and the Tigers are focused on the challenge ahead, but they are also sure to be taking it week by week.

“Our goal is always to get to the postseason,” Fay said. “These guys have put themselves in a good spot, but we gotta get ready to go next Saturday.”

Next Saturday, Nov. 4, the Tigers will host the winner of the Wahkiakum/Adna game in the crossover. That game will take place on Tuesday at Adna.