The top-ranked Lions chose to take a safety, then recovered an onside kick before driving for the tying touchdown and winning extra point with 1:40 remaining.
TACOMA — Curt Kramme faced two of the most difficult decisions of his 20-year football coaching career at Lynden High School.
Down 14-10 and facing third-and-16 from his team’s 3-yard line with 4:17 remaining, Kramme chose to have Lions quarterback Josh Kraght step out of the back of the end zone for an intentional safety, putting Archbishop Murphy ahead 16-10.
All Lynden then had to do was recover an onside kick and drive for the tying touchdown.
They did, and Santiago Lopez’s extra-point kick gave the top-ranked Lions a wild, 17-16 victory for the Class 2A state championship Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
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Kyle Hanson’s 10-yard run over left tackle with 1:40 remaining capped the Lions’ last-gasp 65-yard touchdown drive, and the Lynden (14-0) defense held on as the school claimed its fourth 2A title in six seasons.
“One of my assistants, Terry Kaemingk, came up to me and said, ‘Hey, you know, if we take a safety we’re only down six,’ ” Kramme said. “And it was third-and-16 and we’d just gotten sacked twice. “I said, ‘Let’s do it.’
“One of my other assistants said, ‘We’re going to onside kick it, right?’ and I said, ‘I don’t think so.’ But one (Archbishop Murphy) first down was probably going to win the game, so we might as well, you know, onside kick it.
“This was just unbelievable. What are the odds of both happening?”
The defeat stung for coach Dave Ward and fifth-ranked Archbishop Murphy (12-2), which lost in the championship game for a second consecutive year despite outgaining Lynden in total yards, 257 to 181.
“They made some good decisions and came up with some unbelievable plays,” Ward said of the Lions. “You couldn’t write a more amazing script for a high-school football game. I’m proud of the way our guys fought, right to the end, and it was such a game of little things.”
Lynden’s onside kick was recovered by the Lions’ John Shine with 4:10 left.
“It was a great onside kick,” Ward said. “Our guy got to it at the same time their guy did, so it was a wrestling match to get the ball. Yeah, it was a smart call. It was the only thing they had to do, and they did it.”
Archbishop Murphy led 7-3 at halftime after limiting the Lions’ high-powered offense to just two first downs — one by penalty — and 11 yards in the first two quarters. Lynden came in averaging 40.2 points and 391.6 yards per game.
Time of possession was heavily in the Wildcats’ favor, 30:37 to 17:23 for the game.
“They tried to hold the ball away from us, and ran the clock,” Kramme said. “If you don’t score, you’re going to be in a dogfight. We ran 11 plays and they ran 41 in the first half.”
Alex Galgano carried 22 times for 85 yards for Archbishop Murphy, which amassed 203 rushing yards. Conner Kruse, who split time at quarterback with Hans VanderWel, added 76 yards and a TD on 18 carries.
“This has been the funnest year I’ve had, even though we took second,” said Kruse, a senior, who had tears running down his face as he recounted his final game as a Wildcat.
“It’s still a proud moment to be in this game. I know we could’ve had them. It was just little mistakes. They made smart calls and got the job done.”
Lynden — Santiago Lopez 32 FG
ATM — Hans VanderWel 5 run (Foster Wade kick)
Lynden — Zach Vis 8 pass from Josh Kraght (Santiago Lopez kick)
ATM — Conner Kruse 8 run (Foster Wade kick)
ATM — Safety, Lynden ran out of end zone
Lynden — Kyle Hanson 10 run (Santiago Lopez kick)
|Time of Possession||17:23||30:37|
Rushing — Lynden, Kyle Hanson 13-50, Luke Christianson 1-(-1), Josh Kraght 13-37, Jordan Kreider 1-(-5). Archbishop Murphy, Alex Galgano 22-85, Liko Tevage 1-4, Hans VanderWel 11-19, Ricky Gordon 2-9, Conner Kruse 18-76, Alex Kramer 2-2, Adan Rodriguez 3-8.
Passing — Lynden, Kraght 9-22-0 100. Archbishop Murphy, Kruse 5-9-0 57, VanderWel 1-2-0 3.
Receiving — Lynden, Zach Vis 5-62, Christianson 3-25, Nate Wielenga 1-13. Archbishop Murphy, Kramer 2-45, Gordon 1-10, Galgano 1-(-1).