TENINO — After breaking through arm tackles, crushing opposing ballcarriers, and leading Tenino to a 32-26 win over Montesano Friday night, the only one who could bring Takari Hickle down all night was Beavers athletic director Joe Chirhart.
Hickle, who was talking about the Beavers first win over the Bulldogs since 2013, and its first at home since 1997, was taken down mid-interview after a bear hug attack from Chirhart.
But just like all night, Hickle got up after a laugh and made sure to put into words what the huge win meant for him, and Tenino:
“We’ve always been underestimated. The time for that is over. We earned our respect now. We still need to keep going, but we definitely earned that. We’ve all been tired of people looking over Tenino so we’ve tried to change it this year.
“We definitely have more we want to accomplish … We know where we came from. It’s super important to know where we started. It’s a very important thing to know where you came from and see where you are now. We’re holding that with us.”
After a freshman season saw just 11 other teammates beside him, Hickle has seen the rapid growth and rise in the Beavers’ program in four years, and with wins now over 2B power Onalaska, a tight loss with former 3A Eatonville, and now a win over Montesano, they’ve proven they can hang with the best of them.
Tenino poured in 354 rushing yards as a team, with Hickle leading the way for 187 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown. Not far behind was junior tailback Dylan Spicer, who took 16 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown. The pair were the bell cows of a Tenino offense that rocketed out to a 32-12 lead at the half, in thorough control.
The Beavers knew, however, it wouldn’t be that easy to finish off the Bulldogs. After a penalty-laden saw the Bulldogs drive to cut the lead to two scores late in the third, more penalties mounted on the Beavers.
A couple pass interference calls, a personal foul, and a holding that called back a long Spicer touchdown all worked against the Beavers favor in the second half.
“They’ve been the top dogs for a long time, we knew we’d have to take it from them,” Beavers coach Cary Nagel said. “Our kids did a good job of responding tonight, I’m so proud of my boys.”
Tenino gave up another score late in the fourth, and after a three-and-out, Montesano was looking to take the lead, down by just six with four minutes to play.
A few first downs put Monte into Beaver-territory, but facing fourth down, the Beavers defense made the game-deciding play. Junior captain Andres Capilla-Zumidio burst through the line, along with Hickle, and took down the Bulldogs quarterback with a minute remaining to seal the victory over their rival.
“I’m a little banged up, that one was tough,” Hickle said. “There are times when you have to dig deep and make plays. (Capilla-Zumidio) is an all-star, he’s 24/7, all motor, all the time. It’s great to have him out on the field.”
And for the first time in over two decades, before any of the current Beavers were even born, Tenino walked off their own field as winners over perennial powerhouse Montesano. Everyone contributed to the win, with four players scoring touchdowns in the first half, and the defense coming to play when it mattered most.
With only a few weeks left in the season, the Beavers will look to continue their success on the road at Elma next week and beyond.