Snohomish’s Noah Dunham hauls in a pass for a touchdown during a Week 10 playoff game against Garfield on Nov. 2, 2018, at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Snohomish. Snohomish won 42-35. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Snohomish’s Noah Dunham hauls in a pass for a touchdown during a Week 10 playoff game against Garfield on Nov. 2, 2018, at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Snohomish. Snohomish won 42-35. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Snohomish earns 1st state football berth since 2007 (VIDEO)

The Panthers hold off Garfield 42-35 in a back-and-forth Week 10 playoff game.

SNOHOMISH — When in doubt, Snohomish football rides its running backs, Tyler Massena and Tyler Larson.

It’s a recipe that’s worked for the Panthers all season and didn’t fail them on Friday night. The backfield one-two punch combined for 258 yards and four touchdowns as Snohomish squeaked by Garfield, 45-38, in a Week 10, winner-to-state playoff game at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

“We’ve done that a lot this year,” Massena said of wearing opponents down with their run game. “We just have to play that out and keep battling. Our line is very well conditioned and will make the holes we need.”

Panthers quarterback Tayte Conover’s 4-yard touchdown run on a keeper put Snohomish up 35-22 on the first play of the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs didn’t lay down easily.

The two teams traded scoring drives, with Garfield’s Quinton Jordan diving in the end zone on a 28-yard touchdown catch and Larson following with a 19-yard touchdown run with 8:01 remaining.

“They were making a run and they were making big plays,” Massena said. “We knew it was going to be that type of game.”

Garfield quarterback Javon Tade sat in the pocket and connected with Jordan on a deep slant route for a 17-yard touchdown, pulling the Bulldogs within seven. The Bulldogs recovered an onside kick, but their drive stalled at the 25-yard line as a Tade pass on fourth-and-15 was incomplete with 3:38 remaining

The Panthers couldn’t muster a first down and punted the ball back to Garfield with 2:08 remaining, but penalties, dropped passes and overthrown passes plagued the Bulldogs’ final drive and Tade was sacked on fourth-and-31 to seal the Panthers’ win.

“That’s heart,” Panthers head coach Joey Hammer said of the win. “That team (Garfield) right there, that’s a classy team. Garfield has heart. Our boys finish. Couldn’t be more proud of our boys right now.”

IMPACT

Snohomish ended a 10-season state playoff drought by advancing on Friday. Garfield’s season is over.

“It’s so surreal,” Massena said. “We knew all week that we wanted to make it to the state playoffs and the first round … and we did it, we came through.”

Hammer, a first-year head coach and Snohomish graduate, led the program to state for the first time since 2007.

“It’s fantastic,” Hammer said. “It’s these boys, though. It’s their hearts beating together as one and it’s special.”

‘A GRUDGE MATCH’

Hammer said he wants his team to have an ‘A’ game, no matter what.

They got it from Garfield, even without its star player, Sav’ell Smalls, who was out for an unknown reason. Smalls is a five-star recruit, according to 247Sports.com and has a bevy of major Division-1 offers, including Washington and Oregon.

But Garfield was aggressive, frequently attempting onside kicks — including on the first kickoff of the game — and attempting two-point conversions.

“We knew it was going to be a grudge match,” Massena said. “Garfield’s a great football program, I have a great amount of respect for that football program.”

Garfield’s passing attack gave the Panthers fits, as Tade, a junior, was 24-of-41 with 330 yards. Jordan, a sophomore wide receiver, compiled 220 yards on 12 catches with three touchdowns, all of which came in the second half.

“We were giving (Tade) too much time. We weren’t getting home,” Hammer said. “We’re going to correct a few things and we’ll get back after it.”

Top performers

Massena rushed for 154 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns caught four passes for 62 yards in the Panthers’ win.

Larson compiled 104 yards on 18 carries and chipped in two touchdowns as well.

Click here for box score

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