TACOMA — A stifling defense and a single big offensive play helped Lind-Ritzville-Sprague repeat as Class 2B state champions Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
Connor O’Neill scored on a 69-yard run on the first play of the game, and then the Broncos (13-0) thwarted everything Morton-White Pass attempted to earn a 7-0 victory and a second consecutive state title.
“They are the best team we’ve played all season, so holding them to zero points is something else,” O’Neill said. “All of our guys stepped up and got it done.”
Morton-White Pass, which lost its third consecutive state title, finished with just 197 yards of offense and dropped at least six passes. The Timberwolves came in averaging 46.9 points per game, and only had one victory by fewer than 26 points.
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But the Timberwolves managed just one sustained drive, and that was their first of the game. It ended when LRS stopped them on fourth down, a sign of things to come.
“No one has held these guys to zero,” LRS coach Greg Whitmore said. “My hat is off to our coverage. A total team effort, no standouts really. The rush was there, the containment was there and the coverage was there.”
The Broncos held MWP quarterback Rylon Kolb to just 11-of-20 passing for 117 yards with an interception. He was also sacked four times.
“We knew we had to fight tonight,” LRS quarterback/linebacker Dylan Hartz said. “These guys were hungry for us. They were pounding on us.”
The win was the 26th in a row for LRS, which rallied late to beat Morton-White Pass 21-19 in the 2012 title game. Throughout 2013, the Timberwolves were again ranked No. 1.
“We don’t worry about that,” Whitmore said. “I don’t like being No. 1 — except now. Rankings don’t mean anything until those double zeroes go off.”
O’Neill finished with 124 yards rushing on 16 carries, while Hartz was 8-of-9 for 108 yards.
Lind-Ritzville-Sprague 7 0 0 0 — 7
Morton-White Pass 0 0 0 0 — 0
LRS—Connor O’Neil 69 run (Matt Leffel kick)
RUSHING—LRS, O’Neill 16-124, Dylan Hartz 8-30, Cort Ruzicka 3-10, Damien Rouleau 1-0. MWP, Brian Reynolds 19-85, Gianni Bertucci 3-13, Bryson Goble 1-3, Braiden Elledge 5-5.
PASSING—LRS, Hartz 8-9-0—108. MWP, Rylon Kolb 11-20-1—117.
RECEIVING—LRS, Ryan Whitmore 4-61, Ruzicka 2-15, O’Neill 1-29, Logan Morley 1-3. MWP, Kalen Dunlap 3-34, Reynolds 3-5, Zach Hanson 3-31, Ben Powell 2-27.
First downs—LRS 10, MWP 12. Fumbles-lost—LRS 2-2, MWP 2-1. Penalties-yards—LRS 5-41, MWP 4-34