TACOMA – Lind-Ritzville/Sprague’s high-octane offense fired on the first play.
After senior running back Connor O’Neill sprinted 69 yards to the end zone seconds into the State 2B football championship game, the Broncos’ were never able to break out of their stalls.
As it turned out, though, it didn’t matter. The Broncos’ defense put a muzzle on the Morton-White Pass Timberwolves’ usually explosive offense as LRS pulled off a repeat, 7-0, Saturday afternoon at the Tacoma Dome.
The Broncos rallied late to knock off MWP 21-19 in the final last year.
“I thought it was going to come down to the wire but it did in a different way than I thought,” LRS junior middle linebacker Colin Sheffels said. “At least we were making the plays we were supposed to in the end. It’s the best defensive team I’ve been on by far.”
It took the Broncos’ best defensive effort of the season to defend their title, too.
The top-ranked Timberwolves (13-1) rarely moved into the Broncos’ side of the 50-yard line.
Even LRS coach Greg Whitmore expected much more scoring.
“I thought it would be something more like last year,” Whitmore said. “We have a high explosive offense and they do. They took some things away from us and made some great plays.”
The Broncos, who won for the 26th consecutive time and finish 14-0, made the most important plays – especially Sheffels, Jarradd Morley, Ryan Whitmore and O’Neill.
O’Neill led LRS with eight tackles, Whitmore had five to go with two sacks and Sheffels and Morley had four each.
Senior quarterback Dylan Hartz shook hands and hugged fans, reveling in the repeat.
“I still pinch myself sometimes about the first one,” Hartz said. “This one is just as good. It’s unbelievable.”
O’Neill said the Broncos caught the Timberwolves off guard on the first play.
“The linemen opened up a huge hole for me and I went right through it,” O’Neill said. “I can’t take any credit for it, it’s all those guys. We had no idea we’d come out and score on the first play. After that we struggled. They’re a great team. We were fortunate to hold on to a 7-0 lead.”
Sophomore Jacob Saetre secured the win with an interception with 41 seconds remaining.