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White River rallies but slips at Orting | Photos by Kyle Stroh
Three touchdowns in the final quarter couldn’t turn the tide for White River High Friday night, as the Hornets fell 28-26 at Orting High.
The loss dropped White River to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in South Puget Sound League 2A play. The host Cardinals, in their first year as a 2A school after several seasons in the smaller 1A ranks, ran their record to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in league action.
What White River exhibited in late-in-the-game fireworks, Orting more than made up for in consistency. The Cardinals posted seven points in each quarter, which proved enough.
Trailing 21-6 several minutes into the final frame, White River capped a 12-play, 70-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown toss from Zach McMillen to Garrett Quiles. On fourth-and-four from the 10-yard line, Quiles took a short pass and bulled his way through Cardinal defenders to reach the end zone.
Dustin France tacked on the extra-point kick to slice the Orting lead to 21-13 with 8:22 to be played.
As quickly as the Hornets had gained new life, Orting dealt a crushing blow. Christian Yoro took the ensuing kickoff and dashed 74 for the Cards’ final TD.
Battling the Orting defense as well as the game clock, White River mounted an impressive march that covered 81 yards in 10 plays. The capper was again a McMillen-to-Quiles aerial, this time from 24 yards out, and after France booted the PAT the Orting lead was 28-20.
A crucial onside kick was then played to perfection, with White River in possession at the bottom of the heap.
The Hornets used three minutes and 40 seconds of the clock, celebrating their final TD when McMillen delivered a short pass to Quiles, who crossed the goal line with 8.4 seconds to play.
Needing two points to tie the game, White River coach Joe Sprouse reached into his bag of tricks and called for a reverse to the Hornet with the hot hand. Quiles ended up with the ball but didn’t stand a chance, swarmed by Cardinal defenders.
Orting had opened the game with a quick but impressive drive, using six running plays and two Hornet penalties to find the end zone. The lead went to 14-0 when dynamic running back Jason Yoro split the White River defense for a 55-yard TD gallop.
White River got back in the game on the final play of the first half when McMillen spotted Keenan Fagan in a goal-line mob. Despite the crowded conditions, Fagan hauled in a 34-yard scoring strike.
Orting’s third TD came near the end of the third period. The Cards took advantage of a short field, which came courtesy of a Hornet fumble. Jason Yoro’s third touchdown of the night was from 23 yards out and set the stage for the fourth-quarter fireworks.
White River will be looking for a second victory Friday night at Fife. The Trojans are 2-2 overall and 0-2 in SPSL 2A play, having dropped contests to Clover Park and Washington High. Through the first month of the season the Trojan offense has been potent, averaging 44 points per game.