Lind-Ritzville/Sprague rallies to beat Morton-White Pass in 2B championship game
Dylan Hartz's fourth-down completion helped the No. 3 Broncos rally past the No. 1 Timberwolves, then his one-handed interception sealed the 21-19 win.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TACOMA — These are the kind of moments Dylan Hartz was made for.
Hartz stepped up with two monumental plays in the final three minutes to lead No. 3 Lind-Ritzville/Sprague to the Class 2B football title Friday at the Tacoma Dome. He threw a fourth-down pass that led to the winning touchdown, then came up with a one-handed interception in the Broncos' 21-19 victory over No. 1 Morton-White Pass, which lost in the final for the second straight year.
"The bigger the venue, the bigger the game, the bigger the moment, we know he's going to make a big play," coach Greg Whitmore said.
Down 19-15 late in the fourth quarter, Hartz hooked up with longtime buddy Conner O'Neill on a 23-yard pass on fourth-and-19, setting up a first down at the Timberwolves' 16. Hartz and O'Neill have been friends since grade school, although until this year Hartz attended Ritzville High and O'Neill went to Lind. The schools combined for athletic purposes in 2002, winning the 2B title in 2004, and added Sprague in 2010. Lind and Ritzville combined as one academic school this fall.
Hartz followed the big pass with a 12-yard gain on an option keeper and O'Neill scored two plays later, putting the Broncos up 21-19 with two minutes left — this against a team that had not given up more than one touchdown in any of its previous 12 games.
Then came the defensive play of the day as Hartz picked off Rylon Kolb, somehow getting the football to stick to his gloved right hand.
"I don't know how, but I got one hand up there and the ball came down," he said. "It was unbelievable."
Lind-Ritzville/Sprague (13-0) couldn't quite run out the clock and Morton-White Pass (12-1) got one more chance after blocking the punt and taking over at the 32 with four seconds left. But Kolb was sandwiched by Ryan Whitmore (the coach's son) and Tyler Greenwalt and his final pass fell harmlessly to the turf.
Morton-White Pass led just 12-7 at halftime despite outgaining the Broncos 205-71. The Timberwolves took a 19-15 lead with 3:38 left in the third quarter as Kolb connected with Gianni Bertucci on a 32-yard TD pass, but they had to punt on their next possession.
LRS — Cort Ruzicka 2 pass from Dylan Hartz (Matt Leffel kick), 2:51.
MWP — Reynolds 15 run (run failed), 11:52.
LRS — Ruzicka 3 run (Ruzick pass from Hartz), 7:57.
MWP — Gianna Bertucci 33 pass from Kolb (Brian Reynolds kick), 3:38.
LRS — Conner O'Neill 4 run (kick blocked), 2:00.
|Time of Possession||20:30||27:30|
Passing — Morton-White Pass, Rylon Kolb 3-8-1-90. Lind-Ritzville/Sprague, Dylan Hartz 11-18-0-98, Cort Ruzicka 1-1-0-9.
Receiving — Morton-White Pass, Gianni Bertucci 2-74, Zach Elswick 1-16. Lind-Ritzville/Sprague, Conner O'Neill 5-43, Cort Ruzicka 3-23, Ryan Whitmore 2-26, Matt Fryberger 1-8, Tyler Grenwalt 1-7.