The Warriors broke title-game records with 84 points and 722 yards of offense in an 84-60 win over Sunnyside Christian for their second eight-man title in three years.
TACOMA — The Almira/Coulee-Hartline Warriors came into Friday’s Class 1B state football championship contest knowing they had to overcome the tough defense of the Sunnyside Christian Knights, who ended the season ranked No. 1 in the state.
Turned out to not be so big an issue.
The Warriors (12-2) left the Tacoma Dome with its second eight-man championship in three years and a championship-game scoring record with its 84-60 win over Sunnyside Christian (12-1).
The Warriors also set a title-game record for total offense with 722 yards, and the 144 points by both teams was a record as well.
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Junior quarterback Maguire Isaak and senior wide receiver Parker Zappone combined for 534 yards of offense and 12 touchdowns.
“It feels frickin’ awesome,” Zappone said. “When I was a sophomore in 2015 we won it and no one expected us to do it. This year we knew we deserved to be here. We worked hard in the offseason. We didn’t lose our minds out there. It was a great game by everyone.”
Leading 36-22 at halftime, Almira/Coulee-Hartline used three big defensive plays in the third quarter to swing the game.
Zappone picked off senior quarterback Chance Marsh on the Knights’ first drive of the quarter after the defensive pressure forced him to throw it up. Isaak found senior wideout Payton Nielson for a 7-yard score.
After both teams traded scores on their next possessions, more defensive pressure forced an offensive lineman back into Marsh as he was throwing. That gave Isaak an easy interception. It led to another touchdown catch by Nielson.
The Warrior defense got a big stop on the Knights’ next drive, as they drove down to the 2-yard line but couldn’t score. One play later, Isaak raced outside, broke a tackle and ran for a 91-yard score.
“When we got pressure, we were able to capitalize,” ACH coach Jeremy Walsh said. “Those two interceptions were probably the biggest difference in the game, with the goal-line stand the next-biggest. Those three turnovers from our defense in the third quarter, that’s a big deal.”
They also got a big performance from Isaak in the air and on the ground; 192 of his 243 rushing yards came in the second half as he scored four touchdowns. He also threw for 368 yards and eight scores.
“For just being a junior, that guy’s pretty incredible,” Zappone said. “He sees the whole field, and he’s great at finding holes (in a defense). He doesn’t have any tunnel vision at all. He puts the ball in a great spot to where it won’t get picked off. He’s still young, but he’s gonna be a great quarterback.”
Zappone had six catches for 188 yards and four touchdowns. He also added 103 yards on the ground.
It was a hard loss to take for Sunnyside Christian coach Jeremy Thomas and his team.
“They just had too many weapons for us to overcome on offense,” he said. “We had no problem scoring against them. It was just their passing attack and their running. Their quarterback is a heck of a quarterback.”