White River plows to another victory

By Dannie Oliveaux

The Courier-Herald

White River, behind a 234-yard rushing performance by Blake Tidwell, scored twice in the second half to break a 10-10 halftime deadlock for a 24-10 South Puget Sound League 3A win over Sumner Friday at Sunset Chev Stadium.

Tidwell, a senior running back, carried the ball 24 times and scored on runs of 57, 39 and 8 yards.

Sumner opened the game by scoring on an 85-yard kickoff return by Peter Marth. Zach Bowers tacked on the point-after kick for a 7-0 lead 16 seconds into the game.

Tidwell rambled 38 yards in his first carries as the Hornets marched to the Sumner 12-yard line in six plays. Quarterback Markus Kaelin fumbled the ball and Sumner’s Ben Taua recovered the miscue.

But Sumner was forced to punt and White River got the ball at its own 41. On second down, Tidwell split the Spartan defense for his first touchdown with 5 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Kevin Moore’s PAT tied the game at 7.

“He (Tidwell) is something special,” Hornet coach Ken Fagan said. “He’s doing things that are amazing to watch and the offensive line is doing a great job blocking.”

The Spartans then put together an 11-yard drive highlighted by Zach Williams’ 39-yard pass reception from Aaron Clark. Another Clark completion to David Roberts moved the ball to the Hornet 4-yard line. But four plays later, Sumner had to settle for a 21-yard Bowers field goal for 10-7 lead with five seconds in the quarter.

White River drove to the Sumner 12 in 11 plays and tied the game, 10 all, on Moore’s 32-yard field goal midway in the second quarter.

Neither team mounted any scoring threats the remainder of the quarter.

On Sumner’s first possession of the third quarter, a holding penalty nullified a 62-yard screen play by Cody Haavik, forcing third down and long.

Kaelin came out of the game during the Hornets’ second series of the second half. Senior Marc Anderson came in for the injured Kaelin and helped White River take a 17-10 lead on Tidwell’s second TD of the game - a 39-yard run with 2:18 remaining in the third.

Two plays later, Sumner turned the ball back over to the Hornets at the Spartan 28. Four plays later, Tidwell scored his final TD on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Fagan praised his offensive line, led by senior guard Kameron Kujawa.

“Kameron has been the heart and soul of our line this year,” Fagan said. “I’m proud of what he’s been able to do. The other guys (Scott Smith, David Meagher, Ben France, Evan Russell) are starting to come on – all these guys are new.”

Down 24-10, the Spartans were stopped at the White River 45 and 41 in their next two possessions. The Hornets drove to the Sumner 26, but missed expanding their margin as Moore’s 43-yard field goal attempt was wide right with 3:36 left in the game.

The Hornets, who rolled up 352 yards offensively, 294 rushing and 58 passing, compared to Sumner’s 171 yards, 49 rushing and 122 passing. Kaelin completed 4 of 11 passes for 52 yards and Josh Lenhart had three catches for 46 yards.

“They were more physical than we thought,” Sumner coach Keith Ross said. “They had a good game plan and stopped us early. We couldn’t get them stopped and they made some big plays.”

For Sumner, Clark completed 8 of 22 passes for 122 yards. Williams caught three balls for 59 yards.

“We’re young and our kids played hard,” Ross said. “We just didn’t get any rhythm going on offense.”

Defensively for the Hornets, Bryce Jefferies had six tackles and four assists, while Chase Myers had four tackles, six assists, a sack and fumble recovery. Kramer Green and Michael Madden had four tackles each.

White River, 2-0 in league, will host No. 3 Lakes, also undefeated, in a key SPSL 3A matchup Friday, while Sumner, 0-2 in league, travels to face Enumclaw, 2-0 overall, Friday in SPSL action.

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