Sports

EHS FOOTBALL: Come-from-behind EHS win over Panthers muddies playoff picture

It is said that patience is a virtue. That being the case, Enumclaw’s football squad recorded a virtuous 32-27 victory over Bonney Lake Friday night on a muddy Pete’s Pool Field.

Enumclaw fell behind 20-0 in the first quarter.

Bonney Lake’s speedy senior running back, Tyler Babukas, returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. But the sure-footed Babukas wasn’t nearly done, as he then tacked on two more rushing touchdowns against a Hornet defense that had not given up that many points in a quarter all season.

Things looked more than a little bleak for the Hornets, even though their defense did manage to block the third PAT.

But the mantra from then on out was to climb up the ladder one rung at a time and stop Babukas to get back in the game.

“I told them after the game they should be very proud of themselves for keeping their composure and not panicking. I could hear them from the sidelines,” said EHS coach Don Bartel, whose team is now 5-1 in league and two games ahead of Bonney Lake in the South Puget Sound League 3A standings.

“It was like a chant going on out there – one step at a time, one step at a time, as they were marching up and down the field and every time we got a long gain...it was one step at a time.

“This is a special group of kids,” Bartel said.

In the second stanza of the wet-and-wild affair Hornet senior quarterback Riley Carel, who went 8-for-16 for nearly 200 yards, tossed two quick touchdown strikes to Tyler Carlson and Coleman Clyde to bring EHS to within a touchdown of tying the score.

Just before the break, Enumclaw was knocking on the door once more at the Bonney Lake three yard line.

Andrew Gamblin, who eventually ran for 170 yards on the sloppy surface, had the ball punched out of his grasp, for a rare fumble into the end zone. Left guard Kevin Knapp pounced on the loose pigskin for a score that tied things at 20 apiece. The extra point attempt caromed off the cross bar and was no good.

“I felt sorry for Andrew that he lost the handle on the ball, because he ran for so many yards in the later stages of the game to help us win and it would have nice if he could have scored a touchdown, too,” Knapp said.

“When I hopped on the loose ball in the end zone, I was about the happiest boy in town,” Knapp said. “That was my first touchdown ever.”

It was a new game going into the third quarter and the Hornets were anxious to redeem themselves. Toward the end of the period, junior wideout Trenton Disque put a move on a Panther defensive back who slipped in the muck, leaving Disque wide open and running under a 37-yard rainbow from Carel, who was on the mark with his third touchdown pass of the night. EHS had its initial advantage of the encounter at 26-20.

A Hornet rushing attack spearheaded by Gamblin,with support from Austin Grau and Andy Holdener, accounted for more than 300 yards.

Enumclaw’s rushing game monopolized most of the clock in the fourth quarter as Grau scored his first touchdown of the season on a 3-yard bull rush, making the tally 32-20 after the two-point conversion try failed.

Bonney Lake managed a late touchdown when Panther QB Cole Schuler hooked up with receiver Austin Marshall on a 22-yard aerial with a little more than a minute remaining. Bonney Lake’s Cody Cade split the uprights with his third PAT of the night and the score was crystalized at 32-27, after Enumclaw successfully fielded the ensuing onside kick attempt and ran out the clock.

Enumclaw will be putting its 5-1 league mark on the line Friday when it heads across the Narrows Bridge to tussle with the Pensinsula Seahawks, who also boast a 5-1 league record. The game will have postseason implications as the Hornets and Seahaws will battle for the second and third spots in the SPSL 3A.

Also on Friday, Bonney Lake will look to rebound against lowly Franklin Pierce. Game time is 7 p.m. at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.

To comment on this story view it online at www.courierherald.com. Reach John Leggett at jleggett@courierherald.com or 360-802-8207.

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