Cascade Christian rallies to top Connell, 42-35 | 1A Football
Tyler Walrath ran 45 yards for the tiebreaking touchdown with 2:26 remaining as the Cougars from Puyallup rallied to win their first state championship.
Special to The Seattle Times
TACOMA — It came down to Tyler Walrath's best dance move.
The spin and go. And then, go wild.
All of it was made possible by the heady suggestion of an offensive lineman. And with a play that was changed at the line of scrimmage, the Cascade Christian football team changed its luck after losing the last two state-title games.
Walrath scooted up the middle — complete with a pirouette — for the winning 45-yard touchdown run as top-ranked Cascade Christian outlasted fourth-ranked Connell 42-35 Saturday at the Tacoma Dome for the Class 1A championship.
Walrath got free up the middle and with defenders closing in, spun and wheeled the final 35 yards with 2:26 left in the game.
The victory, in a rematch of the 2009 championship game, gave the Cougars (13-0) from Puyallup their first state title.
"I just ran as fast as I could, and I got through," said the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Walrath, a senior who had 200 total yards (94 rushing, 106 receiving). "That wasn't even the original call. (Quarterback Kyle) Stennes checked it at the line. When I got through the second level, there was nobody else. It was awesome."
Cascade Christian avenged a 28-7 loss to Connell in last year's title game. The Cougars also lost the 2008 1A final, 10-9 to Cashmere.
Walrath's winning score might not have happened if not for the keen eye of offensive lineman Derek Simpson, who noticed that the defense of Connell (12-2) was anticipating a play to the outside.
Stennes checked from a pass to a run, and Walrath capitalized. Stennes gave Simpson the credit.
"He knew we could make the play ... He made the block," Stennes said. "I didn't think it would be six, but I thought it would be a big gain."
"We really had to dig deep," said Walrath, whose team rallied from 21-14 and 35-28 deficits.
The game produced 840 yards of offense. Cascade Christian outgained Connell 461 to 379.
The Cougars got a career day from Stennes, who completed 13 of 24 passes for 314 yards and four TDs. Joshua Schreffler led Cascade Christian with five catches for 140 yards and two TDs. Connell's Matt Hadley had 144 yards rushing and four TDs.
CC — Tyler Walrath 39 run (Jordan Zepernick kick)
CC — Walrath 44 pass from Kyle Stennes (Zepernick kick)
Connell — Hadley 6 run (Barragan kick)
Connell — Hadley 43 run (Barragan kick)
CC — Joshua Schreffler 75 pass from Stennes (Zepernick kick)
CC — Walrath 20 pass from Stennes (Zepernick kick)
Connell — Hadley 5 run (Barragan kick)
Connell — James Coulson 14 run (Barragan kick)
CC — Schreffler 25 pass from Stennes (Zepernick kick)
CC — Walrath 45 run (Zepernick kick)
|Time of Possession||19:06||28:54|
Rushing — Cascade Christian, Tyler Walrath 6-96, Cotton Faverty 10-45, Kyle Stennes 5-10, Axel Johnson 1-(-3), Brendon Ossman 2-(-1). Connell, Matt Hadley 26-144, James Coulson 8-37, Chandler Salisbury 7-26, Bryant Anderson 1-3.
Passing — Cascade Christian, Stennes 13-24-0, 314. Connell, Salisbury 12-20-0-169, Kraymer Eppich 0-1-1-0.
Receiving — Cascade Christian, Walrath 3-104, Joshua Schreffler 5-140, Jake Archer 5-70. Connell, Anderson 5-82, Kraymer Eppich 3-45, Kade Eppich 1-31, Alan Hawkins 1-9, Hadley 2-2.