The SPSL 4A featured maybe the game of the year in all of the 4A to this point with 5-0 Graham-Kapowsin facing off at 5-0 Curtis and it ended like we all had expected as an offensive dominated game with the defense making key plays along the way. Emerald Ridge with 1 loss kept pace and remains very much alive for a shot at the SPSL title, while the scramble is on for the other placings as Sumner got a big win, Puyallup and Bellarmine Prep also recorded wins.
Below is our coverage of the game we covered we tried to add links to additional coverage for games were not covering. We have game interviews and video highlights along with scores and standings.
ESN Featured Game
Graham-Kapowsin 42, Curtis 35
(University Place, WA) “Coming into this game we had to stop or rather slow down #15 if we want a chance to win”, that was Graham-Kapowsin’s Jeff Logan thoughts coming into this massive showdown between 5-0 teams with Curtis as the #2 RPI team in the state and G-K #9. In the 1st half the Eagles struggled to slow down Rocco Koch but the game was a back and forth affair of scoring touchdowns.
Curtis went 3 and out on their 1st possession punting the ball away to the Eagles who took over on their own 34 and 9 plays later GK QB Dameon Superales showed the Vikings were going to have to contend with him as well running in the 1st score of the game from the 8 yard line. Aidan Skolrud knocked in the PAT for a 7-0 lead with 6:16 to play.
Curtis would not settle for a punt for the rest of the game and on their 2nd possession took over on their own 36 and answered the Eagle TD with a 37-yard strike from Koch to Parker Mady. Ethan Bell added the PAT and with 3:01 to go in the 1st it was even at 7-7. The ping-pong match was on.
G-K took their 2nd possession at their own 32 and again a 9-play methodical drive with Superales hitting Malachi Durant on a 12-yard scoring pass ands it was 14-7 at the 10:45 mark of the 2nd quarter. Curtis took 2 plays to answer with the 2nd a scramble by Koch who got the edge and went 62 yards up the Eagle sideline in for the score in a 54-sewcond drive but the PAT was missed and G-K led 14-13.
The Eagles on their 3rd possession began on their own 25. Once again they began to move down the field in chunk plays picking up 4 1st downs on then capped off the 7 play drive when Superales found Durant again for an 18-yard connection to push their lead to 21-13 with 6:30 to play in the half.
The next couple of drives is where these defenses made those key plays. The Eagles Mika Roberson picked off Koch as the Vikings were rolling into Eagle territory down to their 25. G-K came back and was looking to put the pressure on with a 2 score lead and had driven down to the Vikings 24 but on 4th down the Vikings defense came up with a huge stop to give the ball back Curtis’s offense with 1:51 to go in the half.
Curtis would make them pay for giving the ball back and went 76 yards finishing it off with another Koch to Mady TD strike from the 11 yard line. The Vikings went for 2 to tie it and Koch hit Xavier Ahrens in the back of the endzone and the game was tied at 21 with just 37 seconds left to go. However, that ended up being 4 seconds to many as G-K finished off the halftime with a script Hollywood would reject as non-believable.
After the kick return the Eagles had the ball on their own 30 with 31-seconds left. Superales hit Jabez Woods on a little underneath pattern and Woods spun his way down the field for a 29-yard gain to the Curtis 41 yard line with 17 seconds to play. After a time out, Superales dropped back and had to throw the ball away as he was getting pounded by the Viks Kane Able into the ground. Superales did not get up and limped off with a leg injury. So Eagles back-up Kaden Bourgeau came in with the ball on the Curtis 41.
Some coaches may go conservative knowing you are going to get the ball 1st in the 3rd quarter but Logan thought let’s run a safe play and see what happens and so Bourgeau flipped the ball forward to Woods who got down to the Curtis 25 with 4 seconds to play and G-K took their final time-out. Would they let Skolrud attempt about a 42 yard field goal? Why Not right? Nope, instead Logan called a pass play and told Bourgeau to throw it into the endzone in a short version of a Hail Mary. Bourgeau did just that and the ball got tipped by the defense and looked like it was going to hit the ground when Noah Fox-Flores nabbed the loose ball just before it hit for an incredible catch and touchdown with no time left on the clock. The PAT missed and so the Eagles went to the locker room with a 27-21 lead and they would get the ball first in the 3rd. Check out our interview with Coach Logan below and he will go through the thinking process of why they decided to throw it and not attempt a long field goal.
When the Eagles came running back on the field after the halftime break, Daveon Superales came sprinting on with his helmet and the other #15 QB was ready to go after missing the final crazy 2 plays of the 1st half. Superales and the Eagles were determined to keep the momentum rolling and began on their own 35 going the 65 yards in 8 plays with Alele Fa’Apito getting rewarded with a TD after a huyge night running the ball with a 9-yard burst at the 7:36 mark, the Eagles went for 2 to get back the missed PAT and Superales hit Fox-Flores for the 2-point conversion and it was now a 2 score game 35-21.
Curtis had the answer though and after a strong kick return by Ahrens to the Curtis 46 the Vikings would go on a 9-play drive with Koch finding Mady once again for a 17-yard TD, the PAT was good and it was a 7 point game with G-K up 35-28. The Eagles were ready to roll again though and after a short kick and return they began on their own 46. 8 plays later at the end of the 3rd quarter Superales hit Khris Norris on a 20 yard laser to the sideline and Norris leaped from the 3 yard line inside the pylon for the score and the Eagles were back up by 2 touchdowns 42-28 but still a quarter to play.
Curtis looked once again like they had the answer but the Eagles had been bringing a lot of pressure with run blitzes but Curtis had got down to the G-K 35 and Koch set up for a middle screen but 6′ 315 pound Anthony Taulua’i heard the sideline yell screen and he saw the o-line let defenders go free so he hung back and Koch did not expect the 300-pound D-T to play free safety and Taulua’i picked off the pass denying the Vikings of answering with 9:24 to go.
If G-K could go down and score it would ice the game but instead the Curtis defense came up with some big plays and forced the Eagles to punt for the one and only time in the game. With 5:28 to play the Vikings took only 3:24 to go 80 yards and on a 10-play drive and ended with Koch bulling his way across the goal line, the PAT was good and it was again a 1 score game but just 2:04 left to play.
Curtis attempted an onside kick, it was a good one but the ball kicked up perfect to one of the Eagles on the “hands” team and they easily recovered on their own 49. G-K’s Fa’Apito continued to be difficult to contained and on 4th and short the Eagles picked up a critical 1st down and were able to run out the clock to secure the win.
Graham-Kapowsin is now 6-0 while Curtis drops to 5-1. Below you will see Emerald Ridge also won and improved to 5-1 with their one loss to Curtis. G-K and Emerald Ridge are set to play each other on Saturday, October 21. G-K will host South Kitsap next Thursday, Curtis will host Rogers next Thursday and then travel to South Kitsap. Emerald Ridge is at Bellarmine Prep next Friday and can ill-afford to overlook the Lions with the G-K game the following week.
If all 3 win this next week that sets up a G-K win over Emerald Ridge assures them of at least a tie for the SPSL Championship and would give them the tie-breaker for the #1 seed into the crossovers. If the Jags knock off G-K that would create a 3-way tie for 1st with ER beating G-K, G-K beating Curtis and Curtis beating ER. All 3 would need to win the final week to maintain that tie so there is a lot of football still to be played and a lot of scenarios that could play out.
Our “Education as a Career” Player of the Game went to G-K’s Alele Fa’Apito who rushed for 125 yards on 21 carries with a TD. Fa’Apito time and again got great yardage on 1st down allowing the Eagles offense to pretty much do whatever they want on 2nd and 3rd downs plus he scored just a great effort by Fa’Apito among many for both sides in this game.
Stats (Eli Sports Network numbers)
Rushing: Fa’Apito 21/125 1TD, Superales 13/95 1TD, Woods 1/12, Rivers 1/4
Passing: Superales 20/26 208 3TD, Bourgeau 2/2 41 1TD
Receiving: Woods 12/128, Durant 5/58 2TD, Fox-Flores 3/33 1TD, 2pt conversion, Norris 2/30 1TD
Total Offense: 236 rushing, 249 passing, 485 total yards
Rushing: Koch 24/169 2TD, Rice-Claibourne 3/8, Mady 1/8
Passing: Koch 11/23 151 3TD, 2 INT
Receiving: Mady 7/119 3TD, Ahrens 3/21 2-pt conversion, Wilson 1/11
Total Offense: 185 rushing, 151 passing 336 total yards
To watch the full replay of the game on the NFHS (Subscription Network: Click on the link: Graham-Kapowsin at Curtis Football
GK QB Daveon Superales
GK DT Anthony Taulia’i
GK Coach Jeff Logan
Curtis ties it at 7
Curtis’s Rocco Koch goes 62 yards
G-K retakes the lead on this 18-yard laser
GK’s Noah Fox-Flores with this spectacular catch to end the half
GK’s Superales to Norris for their final score
Big Antony Taulia’i with the INT
The Other SPSL Results
Emerald Ridge 49, Bethel 14
The Jaguars kept pace and the possibility of a 3-way tie for the SPSL Championship by throwing their way past the Bethel Bison. The Bison have surprised many this year an0d if you take them for granted can jump up and beat you. The Jaguars did not fall into a trap and look past the Bison. QB Jake Schakel threw for nearly 400 yards and 6 TD’s.
Emerald Ridge is now 5-1 and travels to Bellarmine Prep next Friday. Bethel is 3-3 and plays at Puyallup on Thursday. Both kick-offs are 7p.
Sumner 49, Rogers 21
The Spartans were looking to jump back in the win column and got things rolling in the 1st quarter when QB Tritan Rebar hit Kaden Malesis on a 15-yard TD and they took the lead 7-0. Sumner quickly got the ball back and Steele Isaacs busted off a big 38 yard TD run and hey led 14-0 with about 6-minutes to go in the 1st. The Spartans would add another 2 TD’s in the 1st quarter and jumped out to a 28-0 lead after the 1st 12-minutes.
Sumner would eventually push that lead to 42-0 and cruised to the win. But Rogers Kaleb Albinana-Lee had the play of the game when he tipped up a pass at the line of scrimmage and raced into the endzone 65-yards for the score. Sumner led 49-14 at the half and improves to 3-3 and hosts Olympia next Friday, Rogers remains winless at 0-6 and travels to Curtis on Thursday.
Sumner’s Tristan Rebar to Kaden Malesis for 6
The Spartans Steele Isaacs runs in from 38 yards out
Rogers Kaleb Albinana-Lee with a great defensive INT and score
Puyallup 33, Olympia 14
This game was not at all what the score indicates. The game was tied at the half 7-7. Puyallup struck 1st with 4:59 to go in the 1st half. Brayden Paulino hit Nick Neil for the 5-yard TD for the 7-0 lead. It took a while but the Bears would even it up on a 4th down and 4 on the Puyallup 27. Drew Carlson dropped back and zinged a laser to a wide open Coen Cronk to even the game at 7-7 which would hold to halftime.
In the 3rd quarter the Vikings took the led back about halfway through the quarter when Paulino stepped back and dropped it in the basket of Jordy Masiala for a 58-yard boomer. The PAT missed so Puyallup led 13-7. The Bears came right back and this time Carlson was on the receiving end of the touchdown pass when Josh Muckian tossed the rock into the endzone that Carlson grabbed, the PAT was good and at 2:09 in the 3rd quarter Olympia led 14-13.
Puyallup would hit paydirt with 6:37 left to go when Ty Balzarini plunged in from short yardage but again the PAT attempt was no good and the Vikings were up 19-14. The game then kinda fell apart for the Bears as they had to punt from deep in their own territory and Puyallup got it back on the Bears 40 where Paulino then hit Neil again this time for a 40-yard connection to go up 26-14. The Vikings then put the game away on the next Bears possession when Balzarini picked off the 1st down pass at the Bears 35 and took it to the house for 6 and the final 33-14 score.
Puyallup improved to 3-3 and will host Bethel on Thursday. The Bears drop to 1-5 and travels to Sumner on Friday.
Olympia ties it up in the 2nd quarter
The Vikings re-take the lead
Puyallup extends their lead midway 4th quarter
The Vikings seal the win with a Pick 6
Bellarmine Prep 35, South Kitsap 28
The Lions picked up a critical win over the Wolves and evened their record at 3-3 keeping their post season hopes very much alive. The Lions can cause all sorts of problems this next week when they host Emerald Ridge. South Kitsap dropped to 1-5 and have to head to Graham-Kapowsin to take on the undefeated Eagles.