One week can make a world of difference.
That’s the prime takeaway from Week 2 victories lodged by both swarms of Plateau Hornets – the football teams from Enumclaw and White River high schools.
The opening week of the prep football season had been disappointing for both programs, with Enumclaw blasted 56-6 by a talented Tumwater crew while White River fell behind 28-0 before bouncing back a bit in a 37-20 loss to Capitol High.
The second week of the season brought victories for both schools, Enumclaw winning a rare Thursday night (Sept. 9) contest against the Lakes Lancers and White River playing a night later and taking care of Shelton High.
Each will be looking for victory No. 2 this week. The EHS squad will play on its home turf for the second week in a row, and play on a Thursday night for the second time, hosting the Washington Patriots. The game, with kickoff set for 7 p.m., will be played at the Enumclaw Expo Center.
The Patriots will travel to Enumclaw sporting a 2-0 record, having posted a pair of nonleague victories. Washington slipped past North Thurston 22-20 in the season opener and beat Black Hills High 42-24 a week ago.
White River also will be playing its South Puget Sound League 2A opener this week, making the short trip to Orting for a 7 p.m. Friday contest against the Cardinals.
Orting enters this week’s battle with a 1-1 season record. That includes a 14-7 victory over Olympic High School in the opener and a 44-7 loss a week ago at Eatonville.
Here’s a look at last week’s victories for both Plateau teams.
In the end, despite some explosive offensive plays and key defensive stops, it was the kicking game that spelled the difference during Enumclaw’s 28-27 victory over the Lakes Lancers.
The accurate right leg of Hornet kicker Noah Seabrands was responsible for all four of Enumclaw’s extra-point attempts, including the all-important 28th point that provided the final, slim margin of victory.
On the other sideline, things weren’t going as well in the kicking department. The Lancers failed on their first extra-point try, resulting in a failed attempt at a two-point conversion. And, late in the game, a field goal attempt sailed to the left of the uprights at a time when an accurate kick would have given Lakes a late, nine-point lead.
Enumclaw had cracked the scoreboard first when Dane Johnson crashed into the end zone from two yards out. But that was it for the first half and the Hornets headed to the locker room on the short end of a 19-7 score. Lakes had attempted to add a late TD but Dylan Watterson came up with an interception with just 13 seconds on the first-half clock.
Enumclaw came out strong in the third quarter, putting together an 80-yard, 10-play drive that culminated in quarterback Malcolm Harper sneaking in from a yard out. It didn’t take Enumclaw long to add another touchdown, this one on a short blast by Dawson Harding. With Seabrands adding a pair of PATs, the Hornets found themselves leading 21-19.
Lakes regained the lead eight plays later when leading rusher Ki’marree Washington scored on a 26-yard run and QB Devon Nofoa-Masoe added a two-point conversion.
The outcome turned on the missed field goal by Lakes. Given the ball on their own 20-yard line, Watterson took a pitch, heading around the left corner and raced 80 yards for the game-tying touchdown. Seabrands’ fourth extra-point kick was the game’s final point.
Lakes attempted another drive, which was snuffed by a Hornet interception. A final Lancer possession went nowhere thanks to a pair of stellar defensive plays by the Hornets’ Cade Carter; he opened with a quarterback sack then added a tackle for a 10-yard loss. A pair of incomplete passes turned the ball back to the Hornets who promptly ran out the clock and claimed the victory.
In a classic case of “better late than never,” White River waited until the fourth quarter to score. But some late heroics proved to be enough and the Hornets escaped Shelton with a 21-14 victory over the host Hillclimbers.
The first half had White River’s offense moving the ball at times but unable to convert in crucial situations. At the same time, the Hornet defense was keeping the Shelton offense largely operating from its own end of the field.
It was the Hillclimbers, though, who hit the scoreboard first. Shelton took advantage of some costly White River penalties in the third period and eventually crashed into the end zone.
That’s when the Hornets mounted their late rally. It began with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Tyson Campbell to Devin Zweifel and continued when the Hornet defense forced Shelton into a punting situation. Zweifel slipped through the line and blocked the punt which was scooped up by Payne Plaster and returned 40 yards for another White River touchdown. Linkin Argo’s pair of extra-point kicks had the Hornets on top 14-7.
A long pass play resulted in another Shelton TD and, late in the game, the teams were deadlocked at 14-14.
The game’s turning point came when the Hornets were forced to punt. But, instead of booting the ball away, Plaster saw an opening on the left side, cut back to the right and outraced the stunned Shelton squad to the end zone. Argo’s PAT provided the night’s final points with 1:27 to play.
The drama didn’t end there, however. Shelton moved to within striking range and a final pass was directed to the corner of the end zone. Hornet safety Nate Peckham tipped the ball, which was snatched away by teammate Xavier Brown who ran up the sideline as the final seconds ticked away.
Offensively, it was another big night for Plaster who finished with 125 rushing yards on 25 carries. Josh Poulin contributed to the ground attack with 13 carries, good for 63 yards. Defensively, the Hornets were paced by Logan Lisherness who ended the night with 12.5 tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage. J.J. Sandoval had 11 tackles (three for a loss) and Chase Campbell was credited with 10.5 tackles.
In the end, White River limited the Hillclimbers to 110 yards of offense – 98 of those coming through the air and just a dozen on the ground. By contrast, White River finished with 224 rushing yards and another 48 in the passing department for a total of 272 yards.