Okanogan 28, Napavine 24

(Seattle, WA) The 2B Championship game is the only re-match from 2022 and the defending Champs, Napavine got the #1 seed even though they had a loss. Okanogan is now 12-0 and was the 2 seed. Napavine’s lone loss was a non-league at 1A power Lynden-Christian combined with their dominance over the rest of the schedule led the seeding committee to leave the two as is and they were spot on setting up the re-match.

The two teams couldn’t be more different offensively, Napavine loves to throw the ball down field and scores in bunches averaging 47 points a game. Okanogan likes to use their big offensive line and grind away chewing up clock. Last week in their semi-final against NW Christian (Colbert) they held a huge advantage in time of possession 34 minutes to 14. They ran the ball 59 times in their 21-0 win. But the Bulldogs are also capable of putting points on the board also averaging 47 points a game.

Okanogan began with the ball on their own 25 yard line. On the 2nd play on a 2nd and 5 David Huffstetler found a huge gap and broke free for  huge 65 yard run down to the 5. 3 plays later QB Carter Kuchenbuch pushed in from the 1 for a 6-0 lead scoring at the 10:05 mark. The 2-point attempt was stuffed keeping it 6-0.

After holding Napavine to a 3 and out the Tigers pinned the Bulldogs back to their own 11 with a big 51 yard punt by Ashton Demarest. Okanogan on 3rd and 5 got within a couple of inches on  a Kuchenbuch keeper bringing up 4th and very short on their own 20. Okanogan decided to punt but only picked up 23 yards and Napavine’s 2nd possession was in great field position.

The Tigers used their running game to answer and in the end it was the QB Ashton Demarest surging in over the right side for 6. Demarest tried to run in the 2 point conversion but failed and it was 6-6 with 3:53 to go in the 1st quarter.

The 2 teams would exchange possessions and 6-6 would be the score after 1. As the 2nd quarter began, Okanogan had a 2nd and 4 on their 39. The Bulldogs went on to finish a 14 play, 67 yard drive with Kuchenbuch finishing it off with a 4 yard TD run. A pitch to Tanner Grooms on the PAT got him just inside the pylon for the 2 points for a 14-6 lead with just 4:55 left on the clock. In that drive they ran the ball 14 times and completed 1 pass for 14 yards.

Okanogan would get a break after holding Napavine to a 3 and out on the punt attempt it went awry with Demarest scrambling and getting sacked at their own 33. The Bulldogs drove it down to the 1 yard line but Napavine’s Cayle Kelly stepped into the gap and stuffed the play. Napavine would run out the clock and Okanogan went into the break with a 14-6 lead.

The Tigers came out from halftime with ball on their own 36 and drove the ball 64 yards on 10 plays burning nearly 6 minutes off the clock capped off with a 3 yard plunge by Cayle Kelly. The 2 point conversion was no good but the Tigers gained the spark they were looking for coming out of the locker room.

The Tigers then came up with a huge turn-over as Okanogan was driving on their 1st possession of the 2nd half when Connor Holmes picked off the pass on the Napavine 30. The Tigers took advantage of 2 big mistakes by the Bulldogs with a pass interference and a hit out of bounds. Demarest would hit James Grose on a 21-yard TD strike. The PAT attempt was picked and no good but Napavine took their first lead of the game 18-14 with just 2 seconds left to go in the 3rd quarter.

Okanogan responded on their next possession with a solid drive that ended up with the ball at the 5 yard line. Kuchenbuch ran it in for his 3rd touchdown of the game but the PAT failed and the Bulldogs led 20-18 with 9:11 to play in the game.

Napavine then went backwards starting on their own 35 with 3 penalties the largest being an intentional grounding. Having to punt from their own endzone and the Bulldogs take over on the Tigers 37. Okanogan sticks to the ground game and Kuchenbuch would cap off his night with a 4th touchdown, Rico Steele would plunge in for the 2 point conversion and the Bulldog lead was 10, 28-18 with just 2:04 to go in the game.

Napavine would not give in and score in just 1:01 when Demarest hit Karsen Denault on a 28-yard perfect pass and catch but the 2-point conversion missed but it was a 1 score game 28-24 with the Tigers hoping for a successful onside kick with 1:03 to play. Napavine’s kicker Pablo Ruedas-Guido rolled a pretty good onside kick that bounced around before a relieved Okanogan bench saw a Bulldog fall on the loose ball. Okanogan then kneed twice to clinch their 3rd 2B State Title and 4th overall Championship.

Okanogan finished the season 13-0 while Napavine was 11-2 and added their 5th 2nd place trophy and are now 4-5 in State Title games. The ESN crew could not decide so named co-MVP’s in Carter Kuchenbuch who ran the ball 15 times for 67 yards and 4 TDs and David Huffstetler who rushed for 191 yards on 30 carries.

Link to watch full replay on the NFHS Network (Subscription required)

Final Stats


Rushing Yards: 267
Passing Yards: 45
Total Yards: 312

Carter Kuchenbuch 3-5-1 45

Brennan Smith 2/20
Tanner Grooms 1/25

David Huffstetler 30/191
Carter Kuchenbuch 15/67 4TD
Steele Rico 4/12
Tanner Grooms 3/5


Rushing Yards: 79
Passing Yards: 141
Total Yards: 220

Ashten Demarest 12-20-1 141 2TD

Cayle Kelly 6/57
James Grose 3/48 1TD
Karsen Denault 2/33 1TD
Conner Holmes 1/3

Ashton Demarest 15/29 1TD
Cayle Kelly 4/18 1TD
Cael Stanley 4/17
Caleb Von Pressetin 2/15

ESN talks with co-MVP Carter Kuchenbuch


ESN talks with Bulldogs Coach Erick Judd

Video Highlights

Okanogan gets a huge early run to set up their 1st score


The Bulldogs re-take the lead in the 2nd half


Napavine scores late to keep their hopes alive


Photo Gallery


By paulb

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