Saturday’s 2B Football: Turnovers Trip Up Toledo Against Kalama
Fumble Bug: Chinooks Capitalize on Miscues on Way to 47-22 Win
By Jordan Nailon
TUMWATER — While there is never an opportune time to fumble the football six times, the semifinal round of the state playoffs is just about the worst of all.
That’s a lesson that Toledo learned the hard way on Saturday as their team-wide case of the butterfingers cost them five possessions and allowed Kalama to coast to a 47-22 win. The victory over their fellow River Division opponent from the SWW 2B League clinched a berth to the championship round of the Gridiron Classic for Kalama as they seek to repeat as 2B state champions.
That pesky fumble bug has reared its head from time to time this season during Toledo’s impressive run to the semifinal round of the state playoffs but coach Mike Christensen had been confident that his team was cured of what ailed them. As evidence of their improvement Toledo could point to their six game win streak that they started the week following their 32-13 loss to the Chinooks earlier this season.
“It’s just one of those things where it popped up at the wrong time. I’d have to watch game film to see exactly what happened. It’s something we worked on all year. We cleaned it up and then it reared its ugly head at the worst time,” Christensen said in the post game scrum. “It’s something I’d like to be better at. We spent a lot of time in the offseason working on. It’s something that I thought we’d fixed but obviously not. Not today at least.”
Despite their struggles to hold onto the ball Toledo was still very much in the game late in the first half. Following a 6-yard Coleby Cherrington run around the edge with 2:39 left in the second quarter Toledo trailed Kalama just 12-7 and seemed poised to take some momentum into the locker room.
Instead, the Toledo defense surrendered an 80-yard scoring drive that lasted 1:50 second and was capped off by an 11-yard bootleg keeper by Kalama quarterback Alex Dyer. Dyer finished the first half 13 of 19 passing for 185 yards and two touchdowns to go with 47 rushing yards and a score. His first touchdown pass came in the first quarter on an 18-yard heave to Randall Keithley and his second touchdown pass was a 35-yard dish to Brennon Vance.
On the contrary, Toledo had amassed just 85 rushing yards and 27 passing yards amongst themselves in the first half. That sort of wheel spinning offensive production was further exacerbated by Toledo’s propensity to put the pigskin on the carpet at Sid Otton Field.
A trio of first-half miscues cost Toledo — a fair-catch punt was fumbled away on their first would-be possession; a 19-yard run turned into a turnover when Brennon Vance stripped the ball with deft fingers; and a more routine fumble, on an off-kilter handoff, ended a drive with a minute left in the first quarter.
“I think the effort was there I think that we just came out a little timid again. It’s hard to say exactly what happened. For some reason in these big games against teams that we know maybe there’s an intimidation factor at first. Usually in the second half we’re able to rebound, but not tonight,” said Christensen
Unfortunately, halftime didn’t fix the issue. The Indians’ first drive after the break ended in a Grant Vandenberg interception in the end zone, and Kalama came back downfield and scored on a 36-yard reverse pass trick-play touchdown toss from Brennon Vance to Vandenberg.
Decidedly stuck in a rut by that point, Toledo lost another fumble on its next possession. On the following play Dyer dialed up Max Ross for a 32-yard touchdown, increasing the lead to 33-7.
Toledo then lost yet another fumble on the ensuing play, setting Kalama up on the 15-yard line.
Three plays later Dyer threw a jump ball across his body to Jackson Esary in the end zone, pushing the lead to 40-7 with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter.
As Kalama began to pull their starters Toledo kept on taking shots downfield and wound up putting a pair of fourth quarter scores on the board. First quarterback Bryce Marcil connected with Stefano Arceo-Hansen on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 8:18 left in the game and then less than five minutes later Marcil hit Cherrington on a 17-yard route for their final score of the night.
In between those those Toledo scores, though, Kalama was able to put together another sustained drive that was punctuated with a one-yard rushing touchdown by Bradey O’Neil.
In the end Kalama was able to collect 436 total yards compared to Toledo’s 286 yards. Toledo did have the edge in rushing totals with 166 yards but Dyer was able to sling the ball successfully on 22 of 31 attempts for 272 yards and no interceptions.
Cherrington led Toledo’s rushing attack with 53 yards on 13 carries while Ethan Buck and Duke Schaplow both gathered 48 yards on the ground. Marcil was able to connect on six of his 13 throws for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Cherrington picked up 85 of those yards and two scores on three catches.
For Toledo, it was the five lost fumbles and an interception that sealed their fate.
As the Toledo faithful milled about the skirt of Sid Otton Field on Saturday afternoon in a daze brought on by the end of their winning streak Christensen tried to put the season into perspective.
“I think it’s just going to take some time because it hurts right now but I think it’s one of those things that you look back on and getting to the semifinals is something that we should be proud of. I think this team did Toledo Indian nation proud this year by the way they played,” Christensen said.
He noted that after the first Kalama game his team was just 2-4 and they were rarely considered a favorite to win.
“I think that hopefully the guys on this team will take that as a life lesson. You don’t succeed just by showing up…It hurts to lose all the guys that we lost today with our graduating seniors but hopefully our younger guys can take something from the effort they put in this year,” Christensen said. “These seniors are a part of the best three year stretch that our school has seen since the 60s. They’ve been on a team that’s been to the semifinals twice and the quarterfinals once. Hopefully that’s something that with a little bit of time they can wrap their mind around and kind of appreciate what they’ve done.”
Toledo finishes the season with a record of 8-5. Kalama will play Napavine next Friday at 4 p.m. in the Tacoma Dome in the 2B championship game.
CHINOOKS 47, INDIANS 22
Toledo 0 7 0 15 —22
Kalama 6 14 20 7 —47
KAL — Alex Dyer 18-yard pass to Randall Keithley; kick blocked
KAL — Dyer 35-yard pass to Brennon Vance; run failed
TOL — Coleby Cherrington 6-yard run; Andreas Malunat kick
KAL — Dyer 11-yard run; Vance pass to Dyer
KAL — Vance 36-yard pass to Grant Vandenberg; Logan Jones kick
KAL — Dyer 32-yard pass to Max Ross; kick blocked
KAL — Dyer 13-yard pass to Jackson Esary; Jones kick
TOL — Bryce Marcil to Stefano Arceo-Hansen; Malunat kick
KAL — Bradey O’Neil 1-yard run; Jones kick
TOL — Marcil 17-yard pass to Cherrington; Marcil pass to Duke Schaplow
Team Stats TOL KAL
First Downs 14 12
Rushing Yards 166 101
Passing Yards 120 335
Total Yards 286 436
Comp-Att-Int 6-14-1 22-31-0
Fumbles/Lost 6/5 2/1
Penalties/Yds 5/30 11/98
Rushing: TOL — Coleby Cherrington 13/53, Duke Schaplow 10/48, Ethan Buck 14/48; KAL — Bradey O’Neil 7/60
Passing: TOL — Marcil 6-13/120; Dyer 19-28/272
Receiving: TOL — Cherrington 3/85; KAL — Ross 8/108, Vandenberg 3/56, B. Vance 5/84