TACOMA — When Touchet had the ball, its offense marched up and down the field.
The only problem was, Neah Bay didn’t let the Indians have it very often.
Using a punishing running game, the Red Devils rallied past the Indians for a 36-18 victory Friday in the Class 1B state championship game at the Tacoma Dome.
“It is tough,” Touchet quarterback Elias Martinez said. “We just couldn’t get the ball back and get a good possession going and finish it.”
After a key fourth-down stop inside the 2 midway through the second quarter, Neah Bay then held the ball for the final 5:33 of the first half. The Red Devils didn’t score, but they did keep the Touchet offense off the field.
Neah Bay got the ball out of halftime and then went on a six-minute scoring drive to take a 20-12 lead. All told, the Red Devils held the ball for nearly an entire quarter before Touchet got it again.
“What I’ve said was going to come to bite us finally did,” Touchet coach Gary Dorman said. “We just didn’t match up size wise and they were able to pound and pound and pound. Third-and-2 is a lot easier than third-and-8. They would get those other two yards it seemed like every time.
“It wasn’t because of lack of effort. (Touchet) was outgunned by 80-to-100 pounds at each of those positions.”
Touchet, which hadn’t been in a state championship game since 2006 and hadn’t won one since 1999, jumped out to a 12-0 lead, scoring touchdowns on its first two possessions.
Elias Martinez connected with Colter McKeown on a 33-yard pass and then with Cesar Velasquez on a 15-yard touchdown
“I was thinking they are a really good team and they are everything we thought,” said Neah Bay quarterback Josiah Greene about the early deficit. “We just needed to come together and play.”
It was the second consecutive week that Neah Bay fell behind by two scores, and for the second consecutive week the Red Devils controlled the game from then on.
Greene had a long kickoff return and two plays later, scored on a 15-yard run to make it 12-6.
After a three-and-out by Touchet, the Red Devils had another quick score as Cody Cummins punched it in from 2 yards for a 14-12 lead.
The game seemed destined for a back-and-forth affair as Touchet promptly drove the length of the field, setting up a first-and-10 at the 11. The Indians reached the 2, but on third down were stuck for no gain and Greene broke up an attempted halfback pass on fourth down.
“They just read the plays and we couldn’t capitalize in the red zone,” Martinez said.
That’s when Neah Bay grabbed firm control of the game, not relinquishing the ball until nearly half of the third quarter was over.
Touchet had one last gasp, though, as a 50-yard run by Martinez set up first-and-goal at the 3, but Martinez was sacked on first down and then threw three consecutive incompletions.
“One of them we had a little miscommunication,” Dorman said of the red zone drives. “Those are the breaks of the game. That was a pretty critical time, but that is just the way it goes. Man, we had opportunity after opportunity.”
Touchet scored on the final play of the game as Martinez connected with Colton Goble from 2-yards out to wrap the scoring.
“It was a good season,” Touchet’s Edgar Rincon said. “I really enjoyed it, playing with all these guys. It will be a memorable season for the rest of my life.”
Martinez finished 9-of-14 for 195 yards and three touchdowns and rushed seven times for 88 yards. Rincon rushed for 24 yards and four receptions for 60 yards. Goble finished with two catches for 51 yards.
Greene rushed 19 times for 149 yards, while Cummins gained 183 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns. Neah Bay completed just one pass in the game, while running the ball 54 times for 409 yards.
“I’m proud of the season,” Martinez said. “I just wish we could’ve finished it better.”
Neah Bay 6 8 6 16 — 36
Touchet 12 0 0 6 — 18
T—Colter McKeown 33 pass from Elias Martinez (run failed), 9:44
T—Cesar Velasquez 15 pass from Martinez (run failed), 4:24
NB—Josiah Greene 15 run (run failed), 3:37
NB—Cody Cummins 2 run (Zeke Greene pass from J. Greene), 11:55
NB—Cummins 3 run (pass failed), 5:52
NB—Tyler McCaulley 5 run (Z. Greene run), 10:41
NB—Z. Greene 11 run (John Reamer pass from J. Greene), 2:35
T—Colton Goble 2 pass from Martinez, :00
RUSHING—Neah Bay, Cummins 24-183, J. Greene 19-149, Cole Svec 4-57, Z. Greene 1-11. Touchet, Martinez 7-88, Edgar Rincon 8-24, Velasquez 5-16, McKeown 2-10.
PASSING—Neah Bay, J. Greene 1-8-0—12. Touchet, Martinez 9-14-0—195, McKeown 0-1-0—0.
RECEIVING—Neah Bay, John Reamer 1-12. Touchet, Carlos Rincon 4-60, Goble 2-51, E. Rincon 1-36, McKeown 1-33.
First downs—NB 20, T 12. Fumbles-lost—NB 0-0, T 0-0. Penalties-yards—NB 4-34, T 2-20.