TONASKET – With one minute and 15 seconds left in the game, the Tonasket football field echoed with cries of “defense” as the Tigers worked hard to prevent the Lakeside Eagles from scoring. The effort paid off and the Tigers won 14-7 in their final game of the season.
The first Tiger possession, which began on their own 40-yard line, ended on the Eagles’ 27-yard line in a turnover on downs. The Eagles were unable to get very far on their first possession and punted back to the Tigers, who regained possession on their own 35-yard line.
With runs from junior running back Keegan McCormick and a completed pass from senior quarterback Wade Detillian to senior tight end Chas Jones, the Tigers reached the Lakeside 14-yard line. From there, Detillian connected with senior running back Andrew Grillo for a touchdown with 3:33 left in the first quarter. The touchdown was called back, however, due to a flag on the Tigers for an illegal man on the field.
Unable to find the end zone, the Tigers turned the ball back over to the Eagles on the Lakeside 11-yard line. On this drive, the Eagles scored on an 80-yard run from senior wide receiver CJ Tanner. With a good kick from senior kicker Ryan Phillips, the Eagles were ahead 7-0 with 1:30 left in the first quarter.
The next drive from the Tigers led into the second quarter but Tonasket turned the ball back over to Lakeside. When Lakeside was unable to convert to a first down, senior offensive lineman Corey Smith punted the ball back to the Tonasket 41-yard line. From there, with runs from McCormick, Detillian and junior wide receiver Tyler Laurie, the Tigers moved the ball to the Lakeside 9-yard line. With 7:12 left in the first half, Detillian scored his first career rushing touchdown. The following extra point kick from Detillian was no good, making Lakeside ahead 7-6.
The rest of the first half saw four more turnovers, two each from Lakeside and Tonasket, but no more scores from either team.
“I thought it was a really gritty performance,” Jay Hawkins, Tonasket head coach, said. “I think that in terms of how we played defensively, it was our best game, but offensively we kind of shot ourselves in the foot.”
Lakeside head coach Brian Dunn said he thought the game was a good game between two evenly matched teams.
“I knew the Tigers were a good team,” Dunn said. “We thought it would be a dog fight coming in and it was.”
The third quarter showed how evenly matched the teams were, with neither able to score and both turning the ball over to each other once again. Then, with 1:52 left in the quarter, when the Eagles were on fourth down on their own 25-yard line and in punt formation, the snap sailed over Smith’s head and into the end zone, giving the Tigers a two-point safety and control of the ball. The game went into the fourth quarter with the Tigers up 8-7.
The fourth quarter began with Lakeside in possession on the Tiger 36-yard line. From the Tiger 30-yard line, in a third and ten situation, Eagles junior quarterback Chad Brinkman connected with junior wide receiver Zach Smith to the Tiger seven-yard line and a first down. Brinkman then connected with junior tight end Paul Thomas to the Tiger four-yard line and second down. Lakeside fumbled and recovered on their next play back to the Tiger five-yard line. From there, in a fourth and goal situation, the Tiger defense stopped the Eagles on their own one-yard in a goal-line stand with 7:04 left in the game.
With 4:39 in the game, the Tigers punted the ball back to the Eagle 45-yard line. On fourth down with nine yards to go, Tonasket junior defensive lineman Stephen Hulse sacked Brinkman to the Eagle 37-yard line from the Eagle 46-yard line with 3:31 left in the game.
Two plays later, from the Eagle 38-yard line, Detillian rushed into the end zone with 2:31 left in the game. A holding flag on the Tigers on the Eagle 18-yard line called the touchdown back and brought the Tigers back to the Eagle 28-yard line. Rushes from McCormick and Grillo took Tonasket to the Lakeside 16-yard line on third down. From there, with 1:15 left in the game, McCormick scored the final touchdown of the night. When Detillian’s kick fell short, the Tigers were ahead 14-7.
In the final minute and 15 seconds, the Lakeside offensive rushed and passed down the field from their own 23-yard line. The Eagles managed to get as far as the Tiger 40-yard line with seven seconds to go but the Tiger defense sacked Brinkman, ending the game and sealing the victory.
“It was a fun football game,” Dunn said. “It was what Friday nights are supposed to be.”
Hawkins said the goal-line stand was one of the biggest defensive stands the Tigers had all season.
“Defensively, we played better than we have all season long from start to finish,” Hawkins added. “I was really happy for our kids; it always leaves a nice taste in your mouth to end the season with a victory. It was a really exciting game and the kids deserved it.”
Jones said he felt the defensive was excellent throughout the game.
“This was the best game the defense has had and we had a goal-line stand,” Jones said. He added that, as a senior, it was a really tough game to play.
“The offense did well,” Detillian said. “When it came to the end, we stuck in and kept making plays. The seniors’ last game we worked as hard as we could and we went out with a bang.”