TENINO — If you left to go to the bathroom at any point during No. 6 Tenino’s 80-55 victory over No. 11 Freeman — its first state playoff victory since 1986 — you would have missed something.
An 80-yard touchdown here, a 48-yard scamper there, a reverse trick play with a receiver throwing it back to the quarterback; If you like offense, the Black Top was the place to be.
“It was an emotional rollercoaster that whole game,” Beavers tailback Gavin Watson said. “The line held up, they did a good job. We just made it count.”
Watson was just one piece of the absolute barrage the Beavers put on the Scotties defense, totalling 801 rushing yards as a team to go along with 11 touchdowns. Watson had 274 yards with six touchdowns, and Takari Hickle added a gaudy 406 yards with five touchdowns.
But Tenino needed each and every one of those points, going up against an explosive Freeman offense that put up eight touchdowns, all coming from quarterback Boen Phelps.
The junior sliced and diced his way through the Beaver defense, definitely more than head coach Cary Nagel would have liked, but after the dust settled on the black turf, the Beavers were winners in the state tourney for the first time in decades.
“It means a lot to the community, it means a lot to the players,” Nagel said. “Our community deserves it. Our coaching staff has put in a ton of work, it’s a giant thing for the entire school.”
For a squad that hasn’t made the state playoff in eight years, the Beavers certainly looked the part against an experienced and very explosive Scotties team that finished second in their league this season.
The Beavers have wracked up accomplishment after accomplishment, first after first all season, but they’re still chasing more.
“It’s crazy,” Watson said. “Throughout my whole Tenino career, I didn’t think we’d ever be here.”
The Beaver win means they’ll head up north to play against No. 3 Lynden Christian next weekend in the 1A state quarterfinals. A win against the Lyncs would be the furthest the Beavers have made it in the state playoffs since that 1986 season.
“If they come together as a group and they have the same vision, you see what you saw tonight,” Nagel said. “(Lynden Christian) is going to be a very tough opponent, we’re going to have a quick turnaround and the boys have to be dialed and locked in.”
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