ROCHESTER — It was an admittedly weird week of prep for the 1A No. 4 Tenino football team against its rival Rochester for the Scatter Creek Showdown Friday night.
Having already locked up a league championship and with their postseason fate determined, the Beavers wanted to make sure they got through their game with the Warriors unscathed and with plenty of rest for their matchup in district crossovers next week — not to mention coming off one of their most emotional weeks of the season after beating Montesano on the road.
Though the Beavers lacked some energy in the opening half, the defense sparked the offense, and once Tenino got rolling, it didn’t stop in a 46-16 win over the Warriors in Rochester.
Tied up at 8-8 at the half, Tenino got a safety in the early going of the third quarter, and ripped off a four touchdown to zero run to firmly put the game away. That safety, created by a nice play from Max Craig in Rochester’s own end zone, started that run and woke up a slumbering offense.
“Our defense bailed us out there,” Beavers coach Cary Nagel said. “I told the boys all week, it's a rivalry game, we’re coming off an emotional week against Montesano, we have to be able to bring the juice, and I don’t think the juice was there in that first half. Rochester played us really well.”
The Warriors put the Beavers over the top on a long pass after giving up the opening score to Tenino running back Randy Marti, with Ashton Rodriguez hauling in a strike from Tate Quarnstrom in the first quarter. After both teams traded special teams miscues, the first half finished as more of a slog than a battle between two rivals in the final week of the regular season.
Without all-league and all-area tailback Dylan Spicer, who was held out of the game as a precaution with a minor injury, the Beaver offense took awhile to settle in before taking off in the second half.
Kysen Knox, a converted quarterback, broke a couple of long runs and scored twice, rushing for a team-high 111 yards on 14 carries. Marti, who got the bulk of the carries, had a score and 89 rushing yards, and Michael Lanning stepped in the fourth quarter and had two touchdowns with 107 rushing yards.
All-in-all, after a lackadaisical first half, the Beavers finished with 382 rushing yards as a team, and a dominant win over their 2A rival Rochester in the Scatter Creek Showdown, keeping the trophy after a one-year hiatus last season.
But it was the Tenino defense, which held the Warriors to one score for most of the game aside from a fourth quarter score from Braden Hartley, that arrived when the Beavers needed it to.
“Our defense flies around, they’re extremely physical and super opportunistic,” Nagel said of his defense’s performance. “It’s been that way all year, it gives us a lot of energy. If we’re already rolling on offense, it just snowballs. Our defense came to play today.”
After league play wrapped up everywhere else in 1A, Tenino will look forward to hosting yet another district crossover this weekend when it takes on King’s Way Christian next Friday on the Black Top, while Rochester’s season has come to an end.
“We have to get back to basics and refocus on the opponent ahead,” Nagel said. “We have to come ready to play because it's win or go home.”