LAKE STEVENS — Late in Saturday night’s game whenever the Lake Stevens’ defense managed to limit Newport running back Conner Baumann to a short gain, the Vikings home crowd cheered wildly and for good reason: Such instances were rare.
The burly, 6-3, 222-pound Baumann ran wild, scoring six touchdowns and finishing with 449 yards on 17 carries to lead the Knights to a 62-35 win in a 4A Quad-District playoff game at LSHS Football Field.
The win advances Newport to the state tournament, where next weekend it’ll face Bellarmine Prep, which beat Kamiak on Saturday night. The loss ends Lake Stevens’ season at 6-4.
Baumann, who mainly lined up at fullback in Newport’s option attack, scored on runs of 5, 12, 77, 83, 77 and 89 yards.
“It was tough, we had four guys trying to commit to (Baumann) on every play,” said Lake Stevens head coach Tom Tri. “He was a real stud and we struggled to tackle him.”
The Vikings fell behind quickly after fumbling on their first play from scrimmage. Baumann finished off the ensuing Newport drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to give the Knights an early 7-0 lead.
Lake Stevens attempted to match Newport’s run game behind the arm of sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason. Eason threw for over 400 yards and had three touchdowns in his attempt to help the Vikings keep up with Newport and Baumann. But as Lake Stevens fell behind, Eason was forced to throw more and more, reducing his effectiveness. Still, Tri thought Eason had a solid game.
“I thought (Eason) played hard, he made good decisions and threw the ball to all three receivers,” said Tri. “It’s tough though when we became one dimensional and forced to throw, it takes some of our balance away from us, our screens and run game when we got behind it changed the whole complex of the game.”
Through most of the first half Eason and the Lake Stevens offense was able to keep up with the Newport.
Austin Otis ran for two scores and Eason found Gray again for a 53-yard strike that tied the game at 28-28.
But on the very next play from scrimmage, Baumann broke loose for an 83-yard run and Paul Wells added a 30-yard TD run to give Newport a 40-28 halftime lead.
On the first offensive play out of the half, Baumann received an option pitch and raced 77 yards for his fifth touchdown of the night.
The next Vikings possession ended with an interception near midfield, effectively dousing any hopes of a Lake Stevens comeback.
Baumann saved his best for last, scoring from 89 yards early in the fourth quarter.
“Give them credit, they did a great job up front and getting after it,” said Tri. “They were really big up front and really physical, they won the war in the trenches up front.”
At Lake Stevens H.S.
N—Conner Baumann 5 run (Chido Chang kick)
LS—Tevin Gray 23 pass from Jacob Eason (Ignacio Ponce kick)
N—JP Routen 33 run (Chang kick)
LS—Austin Otis 2 run (Ponce kick)
N—Baumann 12 run (Chang kick)
LS—Otis 1 run (Ponce kick)
N—Baumann 77 run (Chang kick)
LS—Gray 53 pass from Eason (Ponce kick)
N—Baumann 83 run (kick blocked)
N—Paul Wells 30 run (run failed)
N—Baumann 77 run (Chang kick)
N—Nkumbu Chisebuka 32 run (Jordan Sanberg run)
N—Baumann 89 run (Chang kick)
LS—Gavin O’Neil 3 pass from Eason (Ponce kick)
Records—Newport 8-2 overall. Lake Stevens 6-4