Liberty Christian wins on last play of game, 34-28 | 1B Football
Freshman John Lesser ran for a touchdown on the last play of the game, giving the Patriots from Richland a victory over defending champ Neah Bay.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TACOMA — When No. 1 plays No. 2, you can expect it to be close. And it couldn't have been much closer in the Class 1B state championship game.
Freshman John Lesser's 2-yard touchdown run on the last play of the game gave top-ranked Liberty Christian a 34-28 victory over No. 2 Neah Bay on Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
In their first appearance in the state football players, the Patriots (13-0) from Richland completed an unbeaten season.
Neah Bay, the defending champion, had to play catch-up after losing three fumbles in the first half. The Red Devils (13-1) fumbled the ball away on their first play.
Liberty Christian capitalized and led by as many as 14 before Neah Bay rallied.
Junior quarterback Josiah Greene kept Neah Bay in it with his feet. With 2:49 left in the game, his 65-yard touchdown run tied the score at 28.
Liberty Christian's winning drive required some heroics. On fourth-and-10 from the Neah Bay 12, quarterback Mike Olson — the coach's son — scampered for exactly 10 yards. The first down set up Lesser's winning touchdown.
"He'll make his share of mistakes just like any kid, but when the chips are down, he usually comes through," said coach Mike Olson, who shares the same first name. "He did that time, and it was huge for us and kept us going."
Lesser's winning touchdown came on a sweep of the end.
"I was just looking for the goal line," the freshman said.
Liberty Christian's coach said the Patriots' 34-32 semifinal win over Cusick was important for his team.
"If we would've walked all over Cusick last week, I don't know if we'd have been able to pull this off tonight," he said. "I think the experience of having to fight through that game is what helped us win tonight."
LC — Tyler Morris 18 pass from Mike Olson (run failed)
Neah — Cody Cummins 4 run (Zeke Greene pass from Josiah Greene)
LC — Brandon Peterson 35 pass from Olson (kick failed)
LC — Olson 19 run (Morris pass from Olson)
Neah — Leyton Doherty 46 pass from Josiah Greene (pass failed)
LC — John Lesser 3 run (Peterson pass from Olson)
Neah — Cody Cummins 3 run (pass failed)
Neah — Josiah Greene 65 run (Cummins rush)
LC — Lesser 3 run
|Time of Possession||21:57||26:03|
Rushing — Liberty Christian, Lesser 12-69, Olson 11-39, Reace Howard 7-33, Peterson 1-2, Taylor Lindquist 3-1. Neah Bay, Josiah Greene 19-184, Cummins 20-79, Joey Monje 4-24, Tyler McCaulley 3-11, Zeke Greene 1-6.
Passing — Liberty Christian, Olson 9-18-0-173. Neah Bay, Josiah Greene 6-15-0-131.
Receiving — Liberty Christian, Peterson 6-83, Morris 4-90. Neah Bay, Doherty 4-99, McCaulley 1-18, Zeke Greene 1-14.