By Meg Wochnick The Olympian
LACEY — Who knows what would’ve happened if the Timberline Blazers successfully had the game’s final possession. Perhaps it would’ve led to a touchdown, their third in a 4-minute stretch.
During the Blazers’ two previous fourth-quarter possessions, they scored late-game touchdowns to cut a 21-point deficit to against Meadowdale Saturday afternoon to seven, and recovered an onside kick with 29.1 seconds remaining in the game with good field position inside Meadowdale territory.
But on the onside kick, Timberline was called for a “kick-catch interference” penalty, which resulted in a Meadowdale possession and the Mavericks ran out the clock for a 28-21 win over the Blazers at South Sound Stadium.
First-year Meadowdale coach Mike Dom explained the rule, and what the officials told him.
“You have to give the receiving team an opportunity to catch the ball if it never comes in contact with the ground,” he said. “If the ball is in the air, you have to give the guy room to catch the ball.”
Meadowdale (6-4), which entered the game on a three-game losing skid, advances to the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs to face Lakes next weekend.
It was all Meadowdale for most of the day. The Mavs took their largest lead at 28-7 with 4:55 left in the game after Charlie White recovered Timberline’s fumble in the end zone. But Blazers quarterback Gabe Gutierrez orchestrated touchdown drives on two consecutive possessions connecting with Trent Gallagher and Jonathan for touchdown receptions of 35 and 22 yards, respectively, to give the Blazers hope. His final touchdown of 22 yards to pulled the Blazers within 28-21 with 29 seconds left, which set up the onside kick.
At Timberline H.S.
Meadowdale 14 7 0 7 — 28
Timberline 0 7 0 14 — 21
M—Malik Braxton 1 run (Schaefer kick)
M—Josiah Evans 10 pass from Jeremiah Evans (Schaefer kick)
T—Brennon Kaleiwahea 11 pass from Gabe Gutierrez (Javon Watson kick)
M—Josiah Evans 67 pass from Jeremiah Evans (Schaefer kick)
M—Meadowdale recovers fumble in end zone (Schaefer kick)
T—Trent Gallagher 35 pass from Gutierrez (Watson kick)
T—Jonathan Dowell 22 pass from Gutierrez (Watson kick)
Records—Meadowdale 6-4 overall. Timberline 6-4.