The football season may not have ended the way the Enumclaw Hornets had hoped, but nearly every other Class 2A program in the state would have gladly traded places.
When the final second ticked off the clock Saturday, during one of the 2A semifinal games, it showed the Hornets on the losing end of a 34-20 score.
While the EHS crew has put the pads away for the year, the Anacortes Seahawks will enjoy one more week of playoff football. They will take on Tumwater for the 2A state championship, squaring off this Saturday, November 2, at Husky Stadium in Seattle.
Enumclaw’s November 25 semifinal pairing promised to be close and certainly delivered. The EHS squad, seeded No. 3 into the playoffs, and the No. 2 Seahawks battled to a 20-20 halftime draw.
The Hornet offense came from reliable sources, with quarterback Gunnar Trachte tossing a pair of touchdown passes and Seamus Twohey running for another score. The TD receptions went to Karson Holt and Alec Johnson.
While the Hornet offense was blanked the rest of the way, Anacortes celebrated two TD passes from Rex Larson and advanced to the season finale.
This marks the second season in a row coach Mark Gunderson and his squad have reached the Final Four round in the state 2A playoffs. This year’s bunch swept through the South Puget Sound League 2A schedule with a perfect 8-0 record and finished the regular season 9-0. That was followed by a district victory over Sammamish and state tournament wins against Othello and Highline.
That has resulted in a remarkable two-season run of 24 victories and just two losses. A year ago, the Hornets raced to nine regular-season wins and added three postseason victories before falling to Lynden in the state semifinals.
This season’s success brought recognition to players on both sides of the ball. When SPSL 2A coaches voted on postseason honors Enumclaw’s Wyatt Neu was named the league’s Most Valuable Player, Trachte was tabbed as Offensive Player of the Year, Ryan Fehr was Offensive Lineman of the Year, Ryker Popke was Defensive Lineman of the Year and kicker Riley Rutledge was Special Teams Player of the Year.
All the honored players are seniors except Popke, a junior.
For leading the squad to another league championship and into the Class 2A playoffs, Gunderson was named Coach of the Year.