FORKS — After a slow start to its season, the Neah Bay football team is serving notice that it is a force to be reckoned and is eyeing a return trip to the 1B state title game after an 86-6 pasting of Winlock in its 1B state playoff opener.
It was the second straight dominant postseason win for the Red Devils, who beat Sound Christian 78-14 in their district playoff game.
Playing in a fierce and windy rainstorm in Forks, Neah Bay got seven touchdowns from Jodell Wimberley and four touchdowns from Tyler Swan. Swan also had eight 2-point conversions while Wimberley had one as the Red Devils’ one-two punch on the ground accounted for all of Neah Bay’s scoring. Wimberley finished with 44 points while Swan had 42.
Wimberley had touchdown runs of 44, 38, 35, 22, 21, 4 and 1 yard, while Swan had scoring runs of 48, 29, 11 and 3 yards.
“They’re becoming quite a one-two punch,” said coach TJ Greene. “The success of one will be the success of the other.”
Wimberley finished with 13 carries for 289 yards while Swan had five carries for 107.
After an 0-2 start to the season, the Red Devils (8-2) got rolling with eight straight wins by a combined score of 544-116. Neah Bay has averaged exactly 68 points a game in those eight wins.
Believe it or not, Winlock actually scored first, taking a brief 6-0 lead.
“We got off to a slow start in that first series, but after that we were pretty locked in,” Greene said.
Greene said the weather wasn’t a factor at all for the Red Devils. “The rain was blowing sideways. They didn’t let any of that bother them,” he said.
Greene also said Seactis Woodruff had a great game on defense. He had four solo tackles, two assisted tackles, two tackles for loss and a quarterback sack. Azriel Swan Jimmicum had three solo tackles and two assisted.
The Red Devils, seeded probably too low at No. 5 because of those early-season losses, will next face No. 4 Liberty Christian next Saturday. Time and location of the game have not been set.
Neah Bay beat Liberty Christian 82-24 in the state semifinals last year, but Greene said Liberty Christian has a much different offense this year. Last year, the Patriots relied on their passing game. This year, they have a running back with 2,000 yards rushing.
If Neah Bay is able to beat Liberty Christian again, the Red Devils would likely face Liberty Bell next in this year’s semifinals. Liberty Bell beat the Red Devils in last year’s championship game and in their first game of the year this season.