No. 1 Archbishop Murphy falls to Tumwater, 34-14 | 2A Football
Third-ranked Tumwater held high-scoring Archbishop Murphy to a season-low point total and only 103 rushing yards with a dominating defensive effort.
Seattle Times staff reporter
TACOMA — Teammates walked away in tears, but Austin VanderWel never lost his soft smile.
VanderWel shared their pain after top-ranked Archbishop Murphy lost the Class 2A championship football game to No. 3 Tumwater Saturday at the Tacoma Dome, 34-14.
But the senior quarterback never lost sight of the big picture. Never lost track of the life lessons the late Terry Ennis shared with him during his freshman season before losing his five-year fight with prostate cancer in September 2007.
"There's more to life than football, and that's what I'm trying to show these guys," said VanderWel, who was briefly knocked out of the game and limped through most of the fourth quarter. "A lot of them are smiling just like me. We're glad that we got here. We're definitely happy that we got here. Win or lose, I'm happy."
And VanderWel knows coach Ennis would be happy with what the Wildcats (13-1) accomplished this season, reaching the title game for the first time since 2005.
"He would be proud of us," VanderWel said.
Current Wildcats coach Dave Ward certainly is, despite the disappointing finish to an otherwise stellar season.
"We've got a lot of great memories from this year," Ward said.
But Tumwater had the memorable performance in the title game, especially on defense. The Thunderbirds (13-1) held Archbishop Murphy to a season-low 14 points, with the final touchdown coming in the final minute, and allowed just 103 yards rushing. The Wildcats came in averaging 45.7 points and had amassed more than 1,000 yards rushing in the previous two playoff games alone.
But the Thunderbirds were up to the test.
"I knew they were going to do something special tonight, and they did," said legendary coach Sid Otton, who won his fifth title with Tumwater, but his first since 1993.
Tumwater forced five turnovers, including a pair of interceptions of backup Wildcats quarterback Conner Kruse, who played most of the third quarter after VanderWel took a hard hit. VanderWel also threw a pick and completed just 5 of 20 passes under heavy pressure.
"For some reason, the ball just didn't go our way," said Archbishop Murphy lineman Tani Tupou, who has signed with Washington. "You have those days where turnovers are big, and it just happened that today was that day."
The Thunderbirds, playing their second game in six days after snow in Spokane forced postponement of their semifinal to last Monday, scored off only one of the turnovers. But Tumwater came up with three big fourth-down stops and forced a fumble on fourth-and-goal on the second play of the fourth quarter.
"They played really well," VanderWel said of the Thunderbirds. "I'm not surprised at all. ... They were big, they were fast, they were strong. I take my hat off to those guys. They played a hell of a game."
Kyle Warner, Tumwater's do-it-all receiver, ran for a touchdown, caught a TD pass and threw one.
"He's one of those special players," Otton said.
Tumwater's Daniel Hinkle completed just five passes, but three went for touchdowns.
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Tum — Grant Brandt 14 pass from Kyle Warner (kick failed)
Tum — Payten Olson 41 pass from Hinkle (run failed)
Tum — Warner 23 pass from Hinkle (Wimberely pass from Hinkle)
ATM — Eneliko Tevaga 1 run (Briede kick)
Tum — Warner 3 run (Piper kick)
ATM — Randy Gordon 1 run (Briede kick)
|Time of Possession||19:40||28:20|
Rushing — Tumwater, Christian Bush 9-75, Payten Olson 6-39, Ronnie Hastie 8-26, Kyle Warner 7-12, Riley Prentice 2-8, Daniel Hinkle 1-(-8), Jayden Croft 1-(-2). Archbishop Murphy, Austin Vanderwel 6-37, Alex Galgano 10-30, Alex Kramer 5-13, Hans Vanderwel 4-13, Randy Gordon 3-6, Eneliko Tevaga 3-1, Conner Kruse 6-(-4).
Passing — Tumwater, Daniel Hinkle 5-12-0-90, Kyle Warner 1-1-0-14. Archbishop Murphy, A.Vanderwel 5-20-1-59, Kruse 5-8-2-73.
Receiving — Tumwater, Olson 2-47, Warner 1-23, Wimberly 2-20, Brandt 1-4. Archbishop Murphy, Tevaga 1-(-3), Kramer 3-40, H.Vanderwel 2-31, Bo Torres 1-22, John Schulstad 1-17, Gordon 1-14, Brandon Byrne 1-12.
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