Photo by Scot Pearson Seagull tailback Darol Ratsavongsy takes Raymond to the 1-yard line with a first down with 1:32 left in the game. The Gulls scored on their next play to win the game 27-24 over Napavine.
On to semifinals
Ratsavongsy, Newman star
By GEORGE KUNKE
ABERDEEN – For the second straight week Raymond won a state playoff game in dramatic fashion – this time with a 27-24 victory over Napavine – last Saturday afternoon at Aberdeen’s Stewart Field. The Seagulls head to the TacomaDome for the first time since 1993 when they were crowned State champions.
Raymond’s ferocious running back, Darol Ratsavongsy, scored 3 touchdowns and bulled and darted his way for 117 yards on 21 rushes. But the real hero of this game was Raymond’s defense which woke up late in the game to turn the game around with a pivotal interception by Rayce Newman and three sacks late in the game.
Raymond’s (9-1) next opponent is undefeated and top ranked Morton-White Pass (11-0) Saturday at 4 p.m. at the TacomaDome. The Timberwolves disposed of La Conner 26-2. Morton-White Pass has been the state runner-up two years in succession. Three of the final four remaining teams are from Southwest Washington. Adna (8-3) was a 14-7 upset winner over Reardan. Last year’s state champion, Lind-Ritzville-Sprague (11-0) punched out Colfax 43-0. Those two winners will meet Saturday at Lions Field in Moses Lake.
Tigers Strike First
The Tigers took the lead on a 27-yard field goal by Jarod Hammond with 6:39 left in the first quarter.
Raymond responded quickly with a dominating offensive line. Alex Sida gained 27 yards on an inside counter trap. Sida gained another 9 yards before Ratsavongsy rammed his way for another 8 yards. Marvin So gained 13 yards before Ratsavongsy scored his first TD with 3:12 left in the first quarter on a 3-yard blast up the middle. The kick went wide left and RHS led 6-3
On Napavine’s next possession, Raymond’s defense stuffed the Tigers on a 4th and 1 at the Gull’s 35.
After the teams exchanged punts, Raymond got its attack going again with 7 yards by Elliott Murdock and 8 by Sida. On 4th and 3 Murdock gain enough for the first down after a brilliant fake dive by Ratsavongsy. Ratsavongsy then shot for 20 yards to the 9-yard line. Ratsavongsy then boomed in from there with 4:27 left in the second quarter and a 13-3 lead.
Napavine scored two touchdowns quickly on the strength of its brilliant passing attack. The Tigers drove 76 yards in 6 plays. Katyn Newcomb scored when he ran 14 yards up the gut to the end zone with 2:08 left in the first half, making the score 13-10.
Raymond turned the ball over on downs and NHS went 53 yards on three plays in just 15 seconds. Quarterback Wyatt Stanley passed 26 yards to Cole Doughty and the Tigers had a 17-13 halftime lead. Stanley completed 12 of 15 passes for 164 yards in the first half, and Doughty caught 8 balls for 107 yards. Stanley is a freshman and Doughty is a junior.
After two RHS punts and a NHS punt to start the third quarter, Napavine sustained a 10-play drive and scored on a 4th and 1 pass from the 5 with Stanley hitting Doughty. The Tigers were aided by a questionable pass interference call. It looked good for NHS at 24-13 with 15 seconds left in the third quarter.
Raymond stood tall and got momentum on a very good kickoff return by Neal Riley to midfield. On 4th-and 9 at the 20, Newman completed a 16-yard pass to Murdock to keep the drive alive. Ratsavongsy gained 23 yards on the drive and forged into the end zone from the 2. Raymond ran in the 2-point conversion and RHS trailed 24-21.
Napavine was driving when on the fifth play Newman jumped in front of the intended receiver and made an interception and returned the ball 18 yards to the NHS 48 with 6:27 to play. Raymond’s offensive line and Ratsavongsy took charge from there. Ratsavongsy ran like a man possessed while churning out 38 yards on 7 carries. Newman scored on a sneak from the 1 with 1:30 to go. The PAT was block but the Gulls were in front to stay at 27-24.
Napavine stopped itself with a couple of penalties (The Tigers had 11 in the game.), and Michael McFadden and Borden registered sacks before freshman Kason Koski closed out the win with an interception.
Doughty ended up with 14 catches for 168 yards and Stanley completed 20 of 29 passes for 237 yards.