TONASKET – In their first game of the season, the Tonasket Tigers came out with a victory against Bow Valley High School, winning 48-34.
The game started off in Bow Valley’s favor with a trick pass play from Marcus McKiernan to Sam Dornian who then passed to Michael Ulriksen. This play took the Bobcats from their own five yard line to the Tiger’s 18 yard line. Two plays later, Dornian connected with Tyler Teece for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 10:09 left in the first quarter. The kick from Darren Birch was good and the Tigers took over, down by seven.
Through mostly rushing plays, the Tigers worked their way down the field to the Bow Valley three yard line. From there, senior running back Andrew Grillo rushed the Bobcat defense to score the first Tiger touchdown with 6:36 left in the first quarter. The kick from junior running back Keegan McCormick was good and the score was tied.
The Bobcats were unable to move the ball into Tiger territory during their next possession and were forced to kick back to Tonasket, who took over possession on their own 30 yard line. Rushing plays from McCormick and Grillo, combined with a 10-yard pass from senior quarterback Wade Detillian to senior wide receiver Damon Sprague, moved the Tigers to into Bobcat territory. An 11-yard pass from Detillian to junior tight end Tyler Thornton brought in the second Tiger touchdown with 11:18 left in the second quarter. A good kick from McCormick made then made the score 14-7.
On the Bobcats next possession, passes from Dornian to Ulriksen and Teece move them down the field from to the Tonasket one yard line. A rushing play from Dornian then brought the Bobcats back into the end zone with 6:48 left in the second quarter. Birch’s kick was blocked, making the score 14-13.
The Tigers began on their own 40 yard line but quickly moved into Bobcat territory with a 19-yard pass from Detillian to junior wide receiver Tyler Laurie. McCormick rushed to the Bow Valley 34 yard line and from there, Detillian connected with Sprague for a 34 yard touchdown pass with 5:25 left in the game. McCormick’s kick was blocked and the Bobcats took over down by seven once again.
A pass by Bow Valley was intercepted by junior defensive back Corbin Moser, giving the Tigers possession once again on the Bobcat 11-yard line. From there, McCormick ran the ball back into the end zone. With a two-point conversion from McCormick, the score was 28-13 as the Bobcats regained possession.
This next drive from Bow Valley didn’t last long as Dornian was sacked by senior defensive lineman Shalen Williams for a seven yard loss. A pass from Dornian to McKiernan brought the Bobcats back to the line of scrimmage at their 21-yard line but an illegal procedure penalty took the Bobcats back to their 16-yard line and an incomplete pass from Dornian forced them to kick the ball back to the Tigers, who regain possession on the Bobcat 37-yard line.
Rushes from McCormick combined with more passes from Detillian to Laurie and to junior running back Dustin Silverthorn took the Tigers to the Bow Valley three yard line where Grillo ran in his second touchdown of the night with 39 second left in the first half. McCormick’s kick was no good and the game went into half time with a score of 34-13.
The Tigers came out of half-time roaring and ready to go, with McCormick scoring second touchdown 20 seconds into the third quarter with a 61 yard run. He then kicked in the extra point, making the score 41-13. A fumble from Bow Valley, recovered by Williams, gave the Tigers back possession. During this drive, Grillo and McCormick rushed the ball down the field and McCormick scored the final Tiger touchdown with a five yard run and a good kick, making the score 48-20.
For most of the fourth quarter, the Bobcats were in possession of the ball, scoring with an 82 yard pass from Dornian to Teece with 4:24 left in third quarter. With Birch’s kick, the score went to 48-27. A series of passes from Dornian on the Bobcats’ next possession brought them back into Tiger territory. Dornian then connected with Ulriksen again for a 39-yard pass and Birch kicked in another extra point, bringing up the final score of 48-34.
“Ultimately, we were happy with the outcome,” Norm Cobble, Bow Valley head coach, said. “It was definitely worth the trip. Even in Canada, the kids watch a lot of American television and follow the NFL but they don’t get the chance to play American football, so this was a nice experience for them. We’d love to thank Tonasket for having us down and this is definitely something we’d like to do again.”
Tonasket head coach Jay Hawkins said he was really pleased with the team’s execution throughout the game, especially on offense.
“For our first game, I thought our offensive line played really well and we ran against the ball well on defense,” Hawkins said. “This was an interesting match-up because Bow Valley liked throwing the ball while we like running it. Their quarterback was also really good.”
Throughout the game, Bow Valley attempted 42 passes and completed 22 for a total of 447 yards while Tonasket attempted 12 passes and completed nine for 125 yards. In rushing, Tonasket had a net gain of 262 yards while Bow Valley’s net gain was negative eight. Detillian completed nine of ten passes for 125 yards while Dornian completed 19 of 39 passes for 419 yards. McKiernan completed three of three passes for Bow Valley, bringing in 28 yards.
“Their quarterback had a canon,” Thornton said after the game. “They were also a really disciplined team.”
Moser said he felt the defense was strong and sophomore defensive back Kevin Aitcheson, who stopped many of the Bow Valley plays, said he was pretty surprised with how well he played.
“I was excited with we played,” Grillo said. “I think we did pretty good on offense. We never failed to answer back. I think Bow Valley played a lot different than we’re used to.”
Hawkins echoed that statement, saying he didn’t think Tonasket would be playing another team this season who would throw the ball 40 times.
“I was also really pleased because we forced three turnovers and we didn’t turnover once,” Hawkins said. “We intercepted twice and recovered a fumble and two of those turnovers turned into touchdowns.”
Hawkins said that in the secondary, as Aitcheson and Moser get more experience, they’ll join Laurie and McCormick to form a really strong defensive core. He said all four are strong players who like to come out hitting.
The Tigers (0-0, 1-0) open league play this Friday with an away game against Chelan at 7 p.m.