2B Football: Evander’s Stop Pushes Napavine to Semifinals
‘DUDE PLAY’: Fourth-and-Goal Tackle Stops Chewelah’s Final Drive in Tigers’ 20-14 State Quarterfinal Win
By Aaron VanTuyl
For The Chronicle
The Tigers refer to them as “dude plays.”
Big moments, at key points in a football game, where someone steps up and delivers exactly what the team needs.
Cade Evander was the dude on Saturday.
Chewelah, the No. 5 seed in the State 2B playoffs, was facing fourth-and-goal from Napavine’s 2-yard line. Just over three minutes remained on the clock, and the Tigers held a tenuous 20-14 lead with a fifth-straight spot in the semifinals on the line in Centralia.
The Cougars, though, had covered 43 back-and-forth yards over the previous six minutes, finally settling into a pattern with fullback Kaden Krouse and picking up positive yardage their last four run plays.
And on fourth down, they appeared to go back to the well — until quarterback Jacob Jeanneret pulled the ball back and headed for the left side.
“Their quarterback did a really nice job on the ride on that,” Napavine coach Josh Fay said. “It looked like he was going to give it.”
And Evander, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound sophomore defensive end, stayed home.
“I was just thinking in my head, we’ve got to get a stop, in any shape or form,” Evander said. “When I got there I saw him roll out, and I just went. It was just fluid.”
Evander’s tackle cut the Cougars’ drive off 4 yards short of paydirt, leaving Napavine 3 minutes to run off of the clock.
“That was awesome. We always talk about somebody making a dude play, somebody being a guy, and that was pretty incredible to see him come out there and make a play like that,” Tiger quarterback Dawson Stanley said. “If he doesn’t stop them there, our offense has to come out and go to work, and I don’t know if we get it done or not. They were making it tough.”
Fay reported a similar story.
“We talked before the game about dude plays, and that’s a dude play,” Fay said of Evander. “He’s a dude.”
Stanley, meanwhile, handled five of the next six snaps himself, picking up 36 yards and three first downs to let Napavine end the game in the victory formation.
“We felt like at some point Dawson would get going on the ground,” Fay said. “I think he’s a tough guy to bottle up all game, and he squeaked a couple runs out there, and that’s what he does for us.”
Stanley finished with 68 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and hit 15 of 33 passes for 188 yards and another score. After scoring on the first drive, though, didn’t have much room to operate against Chewelah’s defensive line — highlighted by 6-foot-5, 294-pound Wade Baker.
“It was tough to get a read on what they were doing sometimes,” Stanley said. “We didn’t have a whole lot of time, and they were blitzing a guy off the edge a lot. But their defensive line was outstanding today. It was hard.”
Neither team lost a fumble or threw an interception, but Chewelah did force Napavine into a pair of turnovers on downs and a rushed punt that netted 10 yards.
“I think you’ve got to give Chewelah a lot of credit,” Fay said. “Their scheme, and what they did — they did some things that made things tough for us.”
Stanley hit Jared McCollum on the goal line, on fourth-and-17, for a 21-yard touchdown to cap Napavine’s first drive. Fernando Gaona then recovered an onside kick, but the Tigers punted four plays later. Chewelah marched downfield on a seven-play, 57-yard drive and scored on a 2-yard plunge from Kaden Mackowiak.
Napavine answered, going 79 yards in three minutes before Stanley powered into the end zone from a yard out to make it 14-7.
The Tigers’ next drive ended in the short punt, leaving Chewelah just 35 yards from the goal line. Mackowiak did the honors again, 10 plays later, from a yard out.
Napavine regained the lead midway through the third, when Stanley ran it in from 3 yards out. The Tigers made their way back to the red zone on their next possession, but Chewelah stopped Stanley for significant losses on third and fourth down to set up their final drive.
Jeanneret hit 12 of 21 passes for 126 yards for the Northeast 2B League North champion Cougars, who finished the season with an 8-4 record and were in the state quarterfinals for the first time since 1996.
“It was a hell of an effort,” Stanley said. “We certainly didn’t expect that coming in, but that was a fun game. They battled hard.”
Ben Woodrum caught four passes for 47 yards, and Tanner Low caught two for 45 yards for the Tigers. Laythan Demarest added four catches for 31 yards and ran six times for 55 yards.
Napavine (10-2) is now in the state semifinals for the fifth year in a row, and currently the only team in the state that can make that claim. The Tigers will face Onalaska or Adna next weekend, at a District 4-hosted site and at a time to be determined.
“It’s pretty cool. I think we’ve always said, ‘Get to the playoffs and figure out what to do from there,’ and I don’t think a lot of people thought we’d get to this point,” Fay said. “This is where the guys wanted to be all along, and I don’t think they want to be done, either.”
TIGERS 20, COUGARS 14
Chewelah 7 7 0 0 —14
Napavine 7 7 6 0 —20
NAP — Dawson Stanley 21-yard pass to Jared McCollum; Laythan Demarest kick
CHE — Kaden Mackowiak 2-yard run; Samuel Triplett kick
NAP — Stanley 1-yard run; Demarest kick
CHE — Mackowiak 1-yard run; Triplett kick
NAP — Stanley 3-yard run; kick failed
Team Stats CHE NAP
First Downs 10 17
Rushing Yards 116 134
Passing Yards 126 188
Total Yards 242 322
Comp-Att-Int 12-21-0 15-33-0
Fumbles/Lost 0/0 0/0
Penalties/Yards 9/80 6/70
Rushing: CHE — John Larson 2/59, Jacob Jeanneret 13/12, Kaden Krouse 9/33; NAP — Stanley 26/68, Laythan Demarest 6/55
Passing: CHE — Jeanneret 12-21/126; NAP — Stanley 15-33/188
Receiving: CHE — Jaron Baldwin 2/46, Kaden Mackowiak 3/27; NAP — Demarest 4/31, Ben Woodrum 4/47, Tanner Low 2/45