Beavers Drop First Game to No. 1 Cruisers

By Alec Dietz / alec@chronline.com
Posted 9/30/22

TENINO — There are no moral victories in football, particularly in a Tenino football program that has come to expect to dominate and keep up with the best teams in the state. 

But if …

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Beavers Drop First Game to No. 1 Cruisers

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TENINO — There are no moral victories in football, particularly in a Tenino football program that has come to expect to dominate and keep up with the best teams in the state. 

But if Friday night’s 27-22 loss to No. 1 Eatonville is any indication, the Beavers are here, and here to stay at the state level after a banner year in 2021. 

“Eatonville is fantastically coached, they play a very sound style of football offensively and defensively,” Beavers coach Cary Nagel said. “We put the ball on the ground a couple times, we have to clean up some mistakes, but our boys played hard tonight too. I think we’re a competitive football team.”

The game was everything it was billed up to be on the Black Top, with the two league rivals trading blows all night. But the Cruisers — who finished as the state runner-ups a year ago, won the 1A Evergreen League last year, and are unbeaten with a No. 1 slapped next to their name — dealt the last punch. 

Thanks to an 80-yard jaunt from Dylan Spicer, his second touchdown of the game, the Beavers took a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, and needed a couple stops to pull off the upset and defeat the only team that beat them a year ago in the regular season. 

Despite a defense that had stiffed from the first half, the Cruisers' punishing line, and athletic quarterback Job Kralick proved to be too much. Eatonville tailback Dylan Norman converted on a fourth and short in Beaver territory, and just moments later, with eight minutes left in the game, Kralick lept into the end zone for the go-ahead score. 

The Beavers put a long drive of their own together looking to take the lead right back, burning the play clock all the way down and marching well into Cruiser territory, but stalled out and dropped its first game of the season to the unblemished Cruisers. 

“We were rolling pretty good tonight,” Nagel said of the offense. “We had some missed assignments, we have to look at film, but I thought the boys executed. For an overall game they executed well but we have to clean some stuff up. We’re not there yet.”

Tenino outgained Eatonville, 313-275, with no passes completed by either team, and Spicer ran for 241 of the Beavers’ yards, but the home team had a hard time completing drives. One promising drive ended with a fumbled exchange, another from a turnover on downs, and the last from getting behind the chains and not being able to complete a hail mary to win it. 

Randy Marti added a touchdown for Tenino in the first half, and Kaden Sayamnet picked off Kralick’s first pass attempt in the opening quarter. 

Eatonville was led by Kralick’s 135 yards and three touchdowns, and Norman added 138 yards on the ground. 

Though the Beavers were hoping for more, they’ll look to put the league-opening loss behind them and get ready for more competitive league play in the weeks to come, starting next Friday on the road in Hoquiam. 

“We have to reset and get ready for Hoquiam,” Nagel said. “The boys know the task, give credit to Eatonville. Our league is very rough, we have to reset and get ready to go.”

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