PREP FOOTBALL: Neah Bay wins 1B state championship by beating Touchet 36-18

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

TACOMA -- Nothing was going to keep Neah Bay from being state champions this year.

Not sore hamstrings or banged-up knees.

Not the Touchet Indians.

And certainly not a 12-0 deficit.

Touchet scored touchdowns on its first two drives, but Neah Bay scored 36 straight points to beat the Indians 36-18 and claim the 1B football state championship at the Tacoma Dome.

“We had to win,” Red Devils quarterback Josiah Greene said after Friday's game .

“It was our senior year, we just had to come in here and win.”

The championship trophy is the second Neah Bay has earned in three years, and one the Red Devils could appreciate after falling to Liberty Christian on a last-second touchdown in 2012.

“I missed this feeling a lot,” junior John Reamer said.

“We just wanted to get that gold ball back to Neah Bay.”

After Touchet built a 12-0 lead on first-quarter touchdown passes by Elias Martinez, the Red Devils stuck to who they were.

They didn't make major adjustments, and they didn't panic.

Besides, it isn't a new scenario for Neah Bay, which trailed both Cusick and Lummi 14-0 in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

“We just get real mad,” senior Ezekiel Greene said of the change that happens after the Red Devils spot a team a couple of touchdowns.

“And then we know we have a lot of time on the clock, and it's 8-man [football], anything can happen.”

But this wasn't a typical anything-can-happen comeback. There were no passes over the top of the defense or misdirection plays.

The Red Devils used a heavy dose of Josiah Greene and Cody Cummins grinding out yards up the middle that was elixir for Neah Bay and poison for Touchet.

“Touchet played really good. I was expecting that; I was expecting it to be a tough game,” Red Devils coach Tony McCaulley said.

“We pretty much did what we wanted offensively. We used the clock and ran the ball, and were successful doing that.

“Our defense struggled in the beginning, like usual, but I was happy -- I was happy with the outcome.”

Although the Indians struggled to stop Neah Bay, the power-run offense still had to overcome obstacles.

Cummins and blocking fullback Tyler McCaulley, who came into the game already nursing a hamstring injury -- were in and out of the game during the second half due to injuries, and offensive lineman Carl Mack hurt his knee on the last play of the first half and didn't return.

Oh, and Josiah Greene was playing his third straight game with a hurt hamstring -- an injury slowed him, yes, but didn't stop him.

“He played really well with a bad hamstring,” Tony McCaulley said.

“He's a very, very tough individual. Both him and Tyler McCaulley had some really bad injuries that they struggled through in the last few playoff games.”

Josiah Greene ran for 149 yards on 19 carries and scored one touchdown.

His 32-yard kick return set up Neah Bay near midfield on its first scoring drive (a 15-yard run by Greene) and a 45-yard return did likewise on the opening drive of the second half.

He also broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth down to help the Red Devils preserve their 14-12 lead with five minutes to play in the second quarter.

Josiah Greene said winning the championship was too important for him to be watching from the sidelines.

“I didn't question if I would play,” Josiah Greene said

“If I had to, I'd just hand the ball off every play and throw it a couple of times.

“I just wanted to play and make sure our team wins.”

Cummins, hampered by injuries all season, had another big playoff game, running 24 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns.

“They were a physical team, and they liked to hit,” Cummins said.

“But . . . when you're family like that, you can't give up.”

The Red Devils averaged 7.6 yards per carry and racked up 409 yards rushing.

Touchet scored on a 2-yard pass from Martinez to Goble on the last play of the game to decrease the final deficit to 36-18.

Touchet's 18 points is the least scored in a 1B title game since Almira-Coulee-Hartline held Odessa to 14 points in 2007.

As a credit to the Indians, though, the 18-point point differential is the smallest for Neah Bay this season, surpassing the 32 points that separated Lummi and the Red Devils in last week's semifinal.

Winning every game by more than two touchdowns was a dominating end to a dominant stretch for Neah Bay's seniors, one that began more than a decade ago and ends with the school's second state championship.

“It's an awesome way to go out,” Tyler McCaulley said.

“We've been playing together since we were seven years old.”

Last modified: December 07. 2013 7:21AM
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