Three of the four 2022 2A semifinalists were in action on ESN on Friday night with back-to-back defending state champion Lynden Lions hosting WF West and the 2022 runners-up in North Kitsap taking on Tumwater. After week two, the picture in the classification cleared up a little bit with both games ending in decisive results as Lynden and Tumwater both established themselves as teams to watch out for when we get deep into the state playoffs.
Lynden 48, WF West 6
Coming into a week two showdown with the WF West Bearcat, the Lynden Lions had not lost to a 2A opponent since a 2019 playoff loss to Steilacoom. With a 48-6 blowout win, the Lions extended their 2A winning streak to 27 consecutive wins. A couple of early explosive plays for Lynden really put a lot of pressure on the Bearcats to try to answer, but they couldn’t solve the strong Lynden defense. Two rushing touchdowns for Brant Heppner plus a passing touchdown to Daniel Bowler had the Lions up 20-0 after the opening quarter.
The junior quarterback was still just getting started as the confidence continued to grow and Lynden put some more pressure on WF West. No matter who was at quarterback for the Bearcats, whether it was Gage Brumfield or Carson White, they were under pressure and did not have anywhere to go with the ball. The Lions bottled up both the passing attack and rushing attack of WF West while their offense continued to roll. After a stop on fourth down inside their own 10-yardline, Lynden marched 97 yards down the field as Heppner found the endzone for his third rushing touchdown of the half. Another long passing touchdown to Bowler extended that lead into the halftime break to 34-0.
It was more of the same for Lynden in the second half. Even as the reserves came in, the Lions offense was just playing as close to perfection as one could imagine. Charlie Ayres and Max Assink each added rushing touchdowns in the second half to the Lynden lead. WF West would avoid the shutout as Gage Brumfield found the endzone on a nice QB scramble. However, this night would belong to Lynden as the Lions earned their first win of the season, 48-6.
Our Thorbeckes MVP of the game was Lynden quarterback Brant Heppner. The junior went 12-18 through the air for 178 yards and two touchdowns. If that wasn’t enough, Heppner added nine carries for 50 yards and three more touchdowns. In his first season as the starter, Heppner got out all his jitters as he looked to be in midseason form. Heppner looks to just be another standout Lynden QB that will continue the Lion dynasty.
Max Assink and Luke Human also added to the rushing attack as Assink had five carries for 84 yards and a touchdown and Human had ten carries for 33 yards. Charlie Ayres had seven carries for 29 yards and a touchdown and completed his only pass for 27 yards. Daniel Bowler was the most explosive player in this game, tallying five catches for 115 yards and two scores while having a 94 yard touchdown wiped off the board due to a penalty. Cooper Moore had three catches for 36 yards and Isaiah Oudman had two catches for 42 yards. Lastly, Brady Elsner had two catches on both offense and defense as he had 15 yards on offense and two interceptions defensively.
For WF West, Gage Brumfield led the way going 5-11 passing for 68 yards, caught three passes for 31 yards, and adding two carries for 16 yards and a touchdown while earning the Better Homes and Gardens Northwest Team’s Takin’ it to the House Play of the Game for his 13 yard touchdown scramble. Carson White also saw some action at quarterback, going 4-10 for 55 yards and an 8 yard run. Tucker Land was the leading rusher with seven carries for 30 yards. Connor Coleman had two catches for 37 yards and Ross Kelley had one catch for 24 yards. Grady Westlund added three catches for 28 yards and had two batted passes on defense.
Lynden (1-1) gets back in the win column just in time as they begin league play next week. The Lions will be back at home as they take on Squalicum (2-0) as they begin Northwest Conference play. You can catch that game right here on ESN on Friday, September 15th at 7pm. As for the WF West Bearcats (0-2), they are still in search of their first win of the 2023 season. The Bearcats also begin league play on Friday at 7pm when they visit Evergreen 2A foe, the Shelton Highclimbers (1-1).
ESN Postgame Show
Lynden Strikes First
Bowler Adds On
BHG Takin’ it to the House Play of the Game
Tumwater 34, North Kitsap 14
Tumwater would step back into the title conversations with a big win over the runners-up from last season. North Kitsap was on the same level as the T-Birds, as they trailed just 21-14 after the third quarter. Two 4th quarter touchdowns however gave Tumwater a cushion and the defense did the rest to get them a big win. The T-Birds (2-0) will host Kelso on Friday at 4pm while North Kitsap (1-1) opens up league play on Friday at Port Angeles at 6:30pm.
For more on this game, check out Josh Kirshenbaum’s story from The Chronicle in the link below.