TACOMA – Almira/Coulee-Hartline needed one more play, one more break, one more thing to go its way.
Neah Bay made sure that break never came as the Red Devils held on to win the State 1B football championship on Friday night, 36-28 at the Tacoma Dome.
“In the end, we just needed one more little thing,” Wildcats coach Brandon Walsh said. “Call it luck, whatever. But typically, when we hold a team under 40 (points), we think we’re going to win.”
Against the Red Devils, ACH got down early but responded in a surprisingly defensive first half. Neah Bay took the opening kickoff and marched 77 yards in 11 plays, capped by quarterback Josiah Greene’s 1-yard plunge to get the Red Devils up 8-0.
That opening drive erased 6 minutes, 8 seconds off the first-quarter clock, and set a trend for the entire game.
“Credit to them,” Walsh said. “They put together those long, 7-minute drives. They kept the ball out of our hands. I’d like to see the drive chart. I bet the plays were 2 to 1.”
The Wildcats came into this one averaging around 50 points a game. But on Friday, ACH simply didn’t have the ball enough to score on that kind of level.
Walsh was almost right on with his own estimate. Neah Bay ran 61 plays to just 35 for ACH. Still, the Wildcats were in it after the first play of the fourth quarter.
ACH faced a third-and-14 from the Neah Bay 37, trailing 28-14 after three quarters.
Wildcats quarterback Derek Isaak dropped to pass and lofted a long ball down the middle of the field. Colin Deyarmin ran under the ball, caught it at the 1, and backed into the end zone to close the deficit to a single score, 28-22, with 11:50 to play.
“You always think you’re going to win,” Isaak said. “We had a good year. It’s just sad it had to end that way.”
It ended in a loss largely because, after Deyarmin’s touchdown catch, ACH couldn’t get the Neah Bay offense back off the field.
The Red Devils took over at their 23 with 11:41 to play. Neah Bay proceeded to run the next 8:30 off the clock, finally finishing a 14-play, 77-yard drive when Tyler McCaulley bulled into the end zone from the 1 with just 3:11 left.
“We knew they were going to be a power run team and that we had to stop the run,” Walsh said. “We didn’t.”
On the decisive drive, Neah Bay ran the ball 13 times out of 14 plays. The Red Devils amassed 347 yards on the ground, led by Titus Pasqua’s 30 carries for 187 yards.
Isaak had 119 yards rushing for ACH, and completed 8 of 17 passes for 145 yards and two TDs.