Carlson, Stiner, Klumper and Mullavey turn in key plays as Kamiak advances to semis
By AARON COE
KENT — An unlikely cast of characters earned the Kamiak Knights their first-ever trip to the state semifinals with a 9-7 victory over Tahoma on Friday night.
Ryan Carlson, who had missed a 24-yard extra point attempt that would have tied the score at 7-7 late in the third quarter, booted his second game-winning field goal in three weeks to lift Kamiak in the Class 4A playoff game. The kick came after Nate Santiago hauled in his only catch of the game — a 37-yarder from Ryan Jones on third-and-24 — to give the Knights a shot at victory.
Sacks by Matt Stiner and Dan Klumper, and a Jason Mullavey interception late in the game held off the Bears in a showdown between two spectacular defenses.
"I just knew I was going to make it," said Carlson, whose 30-yard boot provided the final 9-7 margin with 3:10 remaining.
"I knew I had to shake (the extra point miss) off, because I knew I was going to get another opportunity. We were going to score again."
The Knights (11-1), who lost most their 1999 quarterfinal team to graduation, plays Bethel at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 25 in the Tacoma Dome. Tahoma’s season ends at 10-2.
Justin Washington is accustomed to making big plays, but he did it in an unlikely way Friday night on Kent’s French Field.
The junior running back, who was helped off the field in the first half after hyper-extending his knee, threw a 43-yard halfback pass to Mike Boyle to set up his own 5-yard TD run with 4:33 remaining in the third quarter. A penalty by each team forced Carlson to attempt the extra point from 24 yards away, and the junior, who began the season as Kamiak’s third-string kicker, missed the kick wide, and Kamiak trailed 7-6.
The Bears had two opportunities in the final 3:04, but the Kamiak defense held. The Knights forced Tahoma to turn the ball over on downs after a sack by Klumper and Mike Bookey’s breakup of a Tahoma pass that set up a fourth-down incompletion by the Bears. Kamiak’s only defensive lapse of the night was allowing a 51-yard TD bomb by the Bears.
The game seemed in hand when the Bears jumped offside on third-and-3 with 1:35 left, giving the Knights a first down. But a fumbled snap by the Knights with starting quarterback Jones sidelined by a minor shoulder injury gave the Bears another chance.
A sack by Stiner and Mullavey’s interception of a deep ball held off the Bears and sent the Knights to the semifinals for the first time in Kamiak’s eight-year history.
"This is unbelievable," said Jones, who completed 10 of 20 passes for 150 yards. "We kept driving and driving. One of those times we were going to get there.
Jones was held out of Kamiak’s last two series because of his shoulder injury, but expects to play against Bethel.
The Knights moved the ball in the first half, but could not find the end zone.
On Kamiak’s first drive, Washington sped down the sideline for an apparent 50-yard TD run, but officials ruled the junior running back out of bounds after only a 9-yard gain. Kamiak ran 14 plays on the drive, but came up empty after being forced to punt.
Kamiak mounted a 12-play drive early in the second quarter, but a fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
"We were looking at there defense and waiting to hit some things," Kamiak coach Dan Mack said. "You just have to be patient sometimes."
Tahoma’s Randy Robbins lofted a pass to a wide open Calvin McHenry, who strolled into the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 1:51 remaining in the half. The 51-yard play, which came after the Bears went for — and barely converted — a fourth-and-3 from their own 46, amounted to almost half of Tahoma’s 113 first-half yards.
Kamiak running back Reid Wilson gained 75 yards on 15 carries and improved the Knights’ field position with several gutsy punt returns. Boyle caught five passes for 71 yards. Dave Eneberg, who is has been used primarily as a blocking fullback, gained 50 yards on four passes and set up Kamiak’s touchdown with a 20-yard run.
Tahoma—McHenry 51 pass from R. Robbins (Prenner kick)
Kamiak—Washington 5 run (kick failed)
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