State 2B Football: Tigers Overcome First Half Cat Nap to Best Bears
Triple Threat: Dawson Stanley Snags Interception, Throws Three Touchdowns, Runs in Four More in 57-20 Defeat of Brewster
By Jordan Nailon
Napavine made themselves at home here in Tiger Stadium in Centralia on Saturday night as they eliminated Brewster to the tune of 57-20 in the first round of the 2B state football playoffs.
Perhaps it was the orange and black color scheme that dominates the grandstands. Or maybe it was the painted on paw prints that dot the streets and locker rooms surrounding the stadium. Perhaps there was catnip in the medical kit, but in any case, there was one extended stretch when some observers thought the Tigers looked just a little too comfortable.
After scoring two touchdowns in the first five minutes Napavine looked poised to taxidermy the Bears and roll their pelt out in front of the fireplace for good housekeeping. Instead, the Napavine defense seemed to simply decide to skip the hard work and move right along to enjoying their fireside snooze.
Dawson Stanley connected with Ben Woodrum to open up the scoring with 10:48 left in the first quarter and then Brett Bradshaw capped a 45-yard aerial advancement with a 1-yard touchdown run just over three minutes later.
On the ensuing drive though the Bears were able to post their first points when a 25-yard pass from Mason Kelly was tipped by a Napavine defensive back and subsequently hauled in by a skilled, and fortuitous, wide receiver known as Ernie Nanamkin.
Stanley was one Napavine player who seemed bright eyed and bushy tailed all game long. As such, while the focus of some of his teammates appeared to go soft and fuzzy, his eyes remained steely and he churned out a pair of touchdowns to extend the early Napavine lead.
The first of those scoring jaunts was a 28-yard zig-zagging run that included a Deion Sanders-esque high-step into the endzone. His second scoring run was of the brute strength, ten yard variety.
With just thirty seconds off the clock in the second quarter the Tigers seemed to be sitting pretty. But then the Bears tried to break down the door to Napavine’s proverbial vacation cabin.
First Kelly connected with Joe Taylor on a 43-yard touchdown pass to punctuate a seesaw Brewster drive that had been briefly held back by penalties. When Napavine fumbled the ball right back to Brewster at the 45-yard line it became glaringly apparent that the Bears were beginning to believe they had a real chance to win.
One play later it was Jeff Sonneman putting a Napavine defender on skates as he cutback and scorched his way untouched into the endzone for a 45-yard score that dropped the Napavine lead to just 27-20 with 5:23 remaining in the half.
Stanley described that 13-minute stretch of game time where Brewster scored all 20 of their points as a “bit of a lull” brought on by the old familiar scourge of complacency.
“I think when we get up 20 we’ve got a lot of guys who kind of chalk that up as it’s over but we’ve got to keep playing, basically. I think a lot of guys gave up in the second quarter,” said the Napavine quarterback who pulls double duty in the Tigers’ secondary.
Stanley managed to muster up a reply to the resurgent Bears on the Tigers next drive when he picked his way through the teeth of the Brewster defense for a 7-yard touchdown run with 1:27 left in the second quarter.
But his first half heroics were far from over.
As Brewster mounted a textbook two-minute drill drive into Napavine territory Stanley dropped back into coverage on a third down play before out-maneuvering a wide receiver to come away with the threat neutralizing interception inside the red zone.
With a full 75-yards between the spot of the ball and the end zone, and precious little time on the clock, Napavine elected to air it out repeatedly. That tactic paid dividends when Bradshaw hauled in a pass from Stanley over the middle and hustled it across the goal line for a touchdown as time expired.
The touchdown gave Napavine a 39-20 lead heading into the intermission but Fay was far from satisfied with his team’s first half effort. While he noted that his players did manage to recover from their lackadaisical spell, he added that they did not wake up all on their own accord.
“They were aided in figuring that out,” said Fay as he hinted at some sort of motivational halftime speech.
“I think all teams do it but we’ve got a lot of new guys in positions and this is part of their learning process for our program,” Fay added. “We’re going to have to mature a bit, for sure, if we want to have a chance against Chewelah.”
When asked for details on that motivational locker room speech Stanley declined to go into salty specifics.
“I can’t repeat it but it was along the lines of we all need to wake up and start playing some football,” said Stanley with a chuckle.
Whatever Fay said to his charges, it worked. Napavine responded to their coach’s wake up call by shutting out Brewster in the second half while adding 18 points to cushion their tally.
Stanley ran in the first of those scores from two yards out midway through the third quarter. then Jared McCollum carried the pigskin across the goal line for a five yard touchdown rush to open the fourth quarter immediately following a 55-yard airmail delivery from Stanley to Seth Butler. A 15-yard pass from Stanley to Woodrum put a bow on their offensive output with nearly seven minutes remaining in the final quarter.
Napavine finished the game with a whopping 620 yards of total team offense. Stanley alone accounted for 113 yards rushing and four touchdowns, along with 343 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Tanner Low added 72 yards rushing for Napavine while McCollum picked up 32 rushing yards and a touchdown. Stanley’s favorite receiver on the night was Ben Woodrum who hauled in four catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Woodrum also came away with an interception in the first half that set up a Napavine score off of a short field. McCollum added three catches for 55 yards, Butler hauled in three passes for 83 yards and Bradshaw caught two passes for 25 yards and a score.
“I felt like our skill guys played excellent tonight but I think all the credit goes to our line. I mean, I could have made sandwiches back there all day,” said Stanley.
Fay pointed out Woodrum as a player who continues to prove that he is a difference maker on both sides of the ball.
“RIght now he’s probably our go-to receiver. As much as we like Laythan and Jared’s done a great job and Seth’s done a great job, I think Woody’s our guy because he’s a matchup problem,” explained Fay. “Defensively too, he’s our most consistent guy back there.”
Fay said that he was again happy to see a lot of different names popping up on the offensive stat chart with six different players catching passes and seven players picking up positive yardage on the ground. Topping 600 yards of total offense didn’t hurt his outlook either.
“Our offense wasn’t the problem. I’ll put it that way,” said Fay.
Before the last player could shuffle off of the field to the blockhouse here Saturday night Fay was already looking ahead to his team’s opponent for next week for the state quarterfinals and trying to figure out how to better his team’s odds of emerging victorious against the Chewelah Cougars.
“I know that they’ll put the ball up a little bit. They’ll run some motions and it sounds like their quarterback is pretty good,” said Fay. “It sounds like they played well last night. I had a guy go watch it. We’re going to have our hands full and if we play like this we’re going to be turning in gear.”
Napavine (9-2) will play Chewelah in southwest Washington next week at a time and location that has yet to be determined.
TIGERS 57, BEARS 20
Brewster 7 13 0 0 — 20
Napavine 20 19 6 12 — 57
NAP — Dawson Stanley 42-yard pass to Ben Woodrum; Laythan Demarest kick
NAP — Brett Bradshaw 1-yard run; kick blocked
BRW — Mason Kelly 20-yard pass to Ernie Nanamkin; Miguel Chacon kick
NAP — Stanley 29-yard run; Demarest kick
NAP — Stanley 10-yard run; Demarest kick
BRW — Kelly 43-yard pass to Joe Taylor; Chacon kick
BRW — Jeff Sonneman 45-yard run; kick fail
NAP — Stanley 8-yard run; kick fail
NAP — Stanley 22-yard pass to Bradshaw; Conversion fail
NAP — Stanley 2-yard run; kick blocked
NAP — Jared McCollum 5-yard run; kick fail
NAP — Stanley 15-yard pass to Woodrum; kick fail
Team Stats BRW NAP
First Downs 3 19
Rushing Yards 59 277
Passing Yards 219 343
Total Yards 278 620
Comp-Att-Int 19-31-2 17-32-0
Fumbles/Lost 2/2 3/1
Penalties/Yards 8/60 7/60
Rushing: BRW — Jeff Sonneman 6/64; NAP — Dawson Stanley 14/113, Tanner Low 10/72, Jared McCollum 3/37
Passing: BRW — Mason Kelly 19-31/219; NAP — Dawson Stanley 17-32/343
Receiving: BRW — Ernie Nanamkin 9/113, Joe Taylor, 6/67; NAP— Ben Woodrum 4/102, Jared McCollum 3/55, Laythan Demarest 3/41, Seth Butler 3/83, Brett Bradshaw 2/25