TONASKET – Tonasket struggled to hold onto the ball on Friday during its Caribou Trail League opener with Brewster, but managed to overcome seven fumbles in defeating the Bears 40-14 on the Tigers’ home field.With smoke filling the Okanogan River valley from fires in the Wenatchee area, the Tigers fumbled the ball away seven times but made up for it by picking off Brewster quarterback Parker Landeck six times and recovering a pair of Brewster fumbles.
“Our defense rescued us all night from our ball-handling troubles,” said Tonasket coach Jay Hawkins. “Our defense did a nice job of executing the game plan.”
Austin Booker had three interceptions, with Collin Aitcheson, Dalton Wahl and Ian Young each picking off a pass.
Booker returned one of his 33 yards for a touchdown to end Brewster’s first possession of the second half and give the Tigers a 21-7 lead.
“Booker’s pick-six really provided us with great momentum,” Hawkins said. “We never looked back.”
Landeck threw the ball 56 times, completing 21 for 234 yards, but never found the end zone.
Despite turning the ball over seven times themselves, the Tigers racked up 237 yards on the ground led by Michael Orozco with 119 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
Tonasket opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 17-yard pass from Trevor Terris to Derek Sund. Orozco’s 48-yard touchdown run early in the second gave the Tigers a two touchdown lead.
Brewster scored its only offensive touchdown of the night on a 1-yard Tyce Windle run.
The Tigers led 14-7 at the half, but broke it open in the third quarter on Booker’s interception, a 32-yard Orozco run and a 2-yard run by Booker.
Cade Smith returned a fumble 70 yards for Brewster’s second score in the fourth quarter, but Jeff Stedtfeld got those points back with a 16-yard run to complete the scoring.
Terris had 65 yards through the air on 4-of-9 passing with no interceptions.
Despite the turnovers, the Tigers improved significantly over the previous two weeks by reducing their penalties to just three for 15 yards.
“I was proud of how the kids fought through the adversity in the first half,” said Hawkins.
The Tigers (3-0, 1-0 CTL) see the level of difficulty go up significantly this Friday when they host Okanogan (2-1, 1-0), which opened CTL play with a 21-6 victory over Chelan.
The Bulldogs’ one loss came by one point in overtime to defending state champion Connell.