TONASKET – Tonakset hung with Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) for three quarters in both teams’ season finale on Friday, Nov. 4, but the Eagles eventually wore down the Tigers with a solid rushing attack and pulled away to a 34-13 victory.
“It was a good competitive game,” said Tonasket coach Jay Hawkins. “It was nice to be involved in a game that we were competing in well into the fourth quarter.
John Stedtfeld’s 8-yard run 12 seconds into the fourth quarter pulled the Tigers to within 20-13.
But it took the Eagles just two minutes to answer with a five-play, 60-yard drive as Ian Wood scored on a 1-yard plunge to give Lakeside a two-touchdown lead.
The Tigers were driving to cut it to a one-score game, but a Lakeside blitz forced a fumble that the Eagles returned deep into Tonasket territory to set up the final score of the night.
“It’s been one of those seasons where bad things seem to show up just as we’re building some good momentum,” Hawkins said.
Cody Corbit, who rushed for 204 yards on 19 carries, scored two touchdowns as the Eagles amassed a 309-115 advantage in rushing yards.
Lakeside opened the scoring as quarterback Kenny Johnston hit Jake Dilly with a 45-yard touchdown pass with 6:52 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers answered with an 18-yard Dylan Fewkes-to-Roberto Juarez pass, but failed on the two-point conversion to trail 7-6 with 5:15 before the half.
Lakeside (2-8) took 13-6 lead at the half after recovering a fumble in the end zone with 1:39 left, then opened up a 20-6 heading to the fourth quarter.
Hawkins said that, despite a 2-8 finish, this year’s Tiger squad impressed him with its resilient attitude.
“It was really impressive how the kids stayed strong through to the end of the season,” he said. “The kids hung in there. We had some of our best practices during the last two weeks of the year. They just kept coming, kept trying to get better right to the end.
“Early in the year they picked “Stay Strong” as their motto, and it ended up begging perfect for this group of guys. We as coaches really appreciated how they went about their business under some pretty adverse circumstances.”
Stedtfeld finished with 76 yards on 11 carries and Austin Booker added 68 yards on 18 carries to lead the Tigers in rushing. Fewkes completed 10-of-18 passes for 92 yards, including two to Juarez for 25 yards, one to Trent Turner for 23 yards, one to Jeff Stedtfeld for 19 and one to Kevin Aitcheson for 10 yards.
The Tigers graduate 11 seniors but will field another young team next year as this year’s junior class was just five strong.
“We’ll still be young,” Hawkins said. “But we should be more experienced. We played a lot of sophomores this year, so they
Other Caribou Trail League teams closing out their seasons on Friday were Cascade, Omak and Okanogan.
Cascade defeated Chewelah in a non-playoff crossover 36-22. Omak and Okanogan each had playoff games against NEA teams but lost. Omak ended its disappointing season with a 4-6 record after losing 33-19 to Colville, while Okanogan (7-3) lost at Freeman 26-12.
CTL preliminary-round playoff game winners were Cashmere (56-20 over Newport) and Chelan (51-14 over Riverside). Cashmere (10-0) hosts Zillah on Nov. 11 in a first round state 1A playoff while Chelan (7-3) travels to Cle Elum/Roslyn hoping to avenge an early season Michael Amsel-less 49-15 defeat.