TUMWATER — Tumwater ripped off 28 unanswered points in the first quarter and the Thunderbirds rolled into the 2A state semifinals with a 55-21 thumping of Enumclaw in the quarterfinal round Friday at Tumwater District Stadium.
Payton Hoyt finished with three touchdowns while Ashton Paine and Carlos Matheney each tacked on two as the top-seeded Thunderbirds controlled the game from start to finish.
Matheney, who finished with 129 rushing yards on 16 touches, scored back-to-back TDs in the first four minutes as the Thunderbirds fired out the gate. After Brady Prother’s 53-yard pass to Seth Weller and Payton Hoyt’s 46-yard punt return for a score with just six minute off the clock in the first quarter, the T-Birds had the game well in hand and cruised the rest of the way.
Tumwater had defeated No. 9 Enumclaw 56-6 in the season opener and T-Birds coach Bill Beattie said the Hornets were much improved from the last time they faced each other.
“(Enumclaw) battled and our kids were ready for it,” Beattie said. “What a fantastic job the way they came out that first half and got after it.”
Hoyt finished with 15 carries for 120 yards and one rushing score, while adding two punt returns for touchdowns, the 46 yarder and another from 86 yards. Paine, who recently committed to Washington State University, had 105 yards and two scores on just five touches.
“(Enumclaw) improved massively but we got a lot better, too,” Paine said. “We knew they were gonna come out hitting hard and wanting to beat us, so we thought about that all week in practice and we worked really hard to get this win.”
Beattie said he’s pleased with how the team has progressed so far but the team still has some miscues and penalties to clean up before the semifinals. Still, he’s looking forward to moving on to the next round and continuing their march to the state championship.”
“We shoot to practice on Thanksgiving and now we get to do that,” Beattie said. “We’re excited about it and we’ll get ourselves ready to go.”
Tumwater (9-2) will face the winner of No. 4 Squalicum and No. 5 Ridgefield in the semifinals Nov. 27. Squalicum and Ridgefield are playing Saturday. Paine said the Thunderbirds are looking forward to whoever they face.
“We’re gonna watch film and we know it’s going to be a tough game,” Paine said. “Those are two really good teams. We just gotta focus on ourselves and not the opponent, and get better.”