The Tigers set an eight-man title-game record with 40 first-quarter points en route to a 63-12 win over Almira/Coulee-Hartline.
TACOMA — It was the Odessa football team’s turn to light up the scoreboard and prove its dominance in eight-man football. The Tigers quickly reached 40 points and ultimately a running clock, making quick work of defending state champion Almira/Coulee-Hartline 63-12 in the Class 1B state championship game on Saturday at the Tacoma Dome. Thanks to three turnovers from ACH (12-2), Odessa was setting Gridiron Classic records from the start. The Tigers (14-0) broke a 30-year record for points in a quarter in the Class 1B championship game, opening a 40-0 lead after one quarter to better the old mark of 38 points scored by Bridgeport-Mansfield (against Odessa) in 1988. “That was unexpected,” said Odessa coach Jeff Nelson, whose team won a state title for the first time since 1993. “We thought it would be four quarters tough. Our kids came to play. We had no idea we were going to play that well. “That was surprisingly awesome, every minute of it.” Junior running back Marcus King piled up 224 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 19 carries for the Tigers. King had three TDs and three two-point conversion runs in a record-breaking first quarter. “You could drive a friggin’ truck through those holes,” said the 5-foot-10, 165-pound King, who finished with 1,579 rushing yards and 47 TDs. “It was awesome. We prepared for blocking on every defense you could think of, really. We knew they were going to switch it up to a bunch of different defenses.” The Tigers throttled off a touch in the second half, but still reached 995 points this season for an average of 71.1 points per game. That made for a lot of blowouts as they limited opponents to 7.1 points per game. “Tackling is a key to our defense, especially in eight-man you’ve got to make a lot of open-field tackles,” said King, who led the with 81.5 tackles. “And our coaches come so prepared knowing what (the opponent) is going to run. We go out there and execute.” Second-seeded Almira/Coulee-Hartline, which had won two of the last three Class 1B state titles, set an eight-man state title record for most points scored and most combined points in an 84-60 win over Sunnyside Christian in last season’s championship game. “We’ve been smaller than every team we’ve played all year long,” Nelson said. “We’ve always will be, but we have speed. We knew it coming into the season and it showed.”