FORKS — The Red Devils found out the hard way it is truly difficult to beat the same team three times in a season.
Especially a team that is nearly dead-even with yours in skill and talent.
Neah Bay faced Lummi for the third time on Saturday and the two teams were within one score of each other until midway through the fourth quarter.
But, then the Blackhawks pulled away with two late scores, going on to beat the Red Devils 50-28 on a windy, rainy day at Spartan Stadium in the Quad-District 1B Playoffs.
Neah Bay had beaten Lummi twice earlier this season in a pair of barnburners — 64-56 and 54-42, But, a third win wasn’t meant to be as the Blackhawks held the Red Devils scoreless in the second half after Neah Bay had mounted a furious comeback in the first half to make a game of it.
“The games with Lummi are kind of like getting in a fight with your best friend. You know what they’re going to throw, but they land them anyway,” said Neah Bay coach TJ Greene.
“It was two teams that know each other well and a lot of friends among the players,” Greene said.
Greene said that in that second half, the Blackhawks’ defense “was sending everyone. They were taking chances on which way we were going and guessing right a lot of the time.”
Neah Bay got behind by three touchdowns in the first quarter as Caleb Revey scored four touchdowns to help give the Blackhawks a 28-8 lead in the first 10 minutes.
But, the Red Devils stormed back with three quick TDs. Toby Croy started the comeback with a 57-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter. Croy scored again on the next possession on a 13-yard run, then scored his third touchdown three minutes later on a 7-yard run. In roughly six minutes, the score went from 28-8 to 28-28. The game remained tied until late in the third quarter.
Neah Bay drove into Lummi territory in the third quarter, but then lost the ball on a fumble. Who recovered the fumble? Who else. Revey, on the Blackhawks’ 29-yard line.
“That fumble in the third was the turning point. We lost the momentum,” Greene said.
The Blackhawks didn’t score on that turnover, but they stopped Neah Bay’s opening drive. Four minutes later, the Blackhawks regained the lead on a Revey 26-yard touchdown pass.
Still, for the next 10 minutes, the Red Devils managed to keep it a one-score game at 36-28. But with under seven minutes to play, Revey threw his second touchdown pass to give Lummi a 44-28 lead, not insurmountable in 8-man football.
Lummi was able to score about a minute later on Revey’s fifth touchdown on a 35-yard TD to make it 50-28 and putting the game all but out of reach. Either running or passing, Revey accounted for all of the Blackhawks’ scores.
“Caleb Revey is a fun kid to watch, just not when he’s playing against you,” Greene said.
It was a positive season for Neah Bay. Though the Red Devils were disappointed to not make the 1B state playoffs, they did bounce back from losing seasons the past two years to post a solid 7-2 season in 2019.
The Red Devils lose seniors Logan Halttunen, who had a 54-yard rushing TD in the Lummi game early, Josey Tyree and David Martinez. They bring back a ton of freshmen and sophomores next year to build on that 7-2 season.
“We have a lot of juniors and a lot of freshmen, I expect to come back strong next year,” Greene said.
Naselle 66, Crescent 20
ABERDEEN — The Crescent Loggers had their usual powerful running game stifled by an exceptional Naselle team, which remained unbeaten in a 66-20 win to end Crescent’s season in the second round of the Quad District 1B Playoffs.
The Loggers did get three touchdown passes from Eric Emery to Brenton Dalton (of 2, 12 and 21 yards), but the Loggers couldn’t get a lot of yardage from Wyatt Lee or either of the Emery brothers. Brayden Emery, one of the Loggers’ best offensive players, have to leave the game early due to a knee injury.
“The edges were pretty sealed,” said coach Brian Shimko. “Where we got all of our yards was passing.”
Eric Emery did manage 72 yards rushing on 14 carries. He also had a 60-yard gain on an unusual play where he caught a Loggers’ punt that didn’t get past the line of scrimmage and then ran down the field as players were confused about the rules of an offensive player catching a punt.
“They shut us down, they’re a pretty good team. [In fact, Naselle is seeded No. 2 in the state 1B playoffs]. We were a top 20 team in the state, and that’s pretty good for how young we are. I’m proud of these boys,” Shimko said.
The Loggers finish their season 5-6. Two of Crescent’s losses were a pair of near upsets over Lummi and Quilcene, both of which are in the eight-team state 1B tournament. They had just two seniors — quarterback Eric Emery and lineman Tim Ward. The Loggers bring back almost all freshmen and sophomores next year.
Quilcene to play Naselle
In the state 1B tournament brackets released Sunday, Quilcene (8-1) will match up with unbeaten Naselle (10-0) in Aberdeen at 7 p.m. Friday. Quilcene, despite having one loss is a No. 7 seed, while Naselle is seeded No. 2.
In the other games, No. 6 Lummi will play at No. 3 Amira/Coulee-Hartline, No. 5 Lyle/Wishram will play at No. 4 Entiat and No. 8 Selkirk will play at defending champion No. 1 seed Odessa.