The Hornets are a missed PAT away from possibly being undefeated, and they’re tied atop the NPSL Olympic Division win after a 30-27 win over the Ravens.
ENUMCLAW — This will get more people talking about the Enumclaw High School football team.
The grit the Hornets showed also will earn them more praise.
Junior running back Nicholas Harberts, filling in for injured workhorse Bear Kuro, supplied a 43-yard touchdown run down the left sideline with 2:54 to play for a 10-point cushion over eighth-ranked Auburn Riverside on Friday night at Enumclaw Stadium.
And, that was just enough.
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Enumclaw (6-1, 4-1 NPSL) hung on to score its biggest win in decades, a 30-27 cliffhanger over the unbeaten Ravens in a battle for the NPSL Olympic Division’s top spot in front of a euphoric homecoming crowd.
“This is huge, and our kids have kind of had a chip on their shoulder all year,” Enumclaw coach Mark Gunderson said. “We feel like we play a pretty good brand of football, and these kids take a lot of pride in what they do, and coaches alike.
“We had a tough break against Todd Beamer (a 28-27 overtime loss on a missed point-after kick) and people talk about a lot of other teams around. They never seem to talk about Enumclaw, and we take offense to that.”
Auburn Riverside (6-1, 4-1) pulled within 30-27 when quarterback Tiano Malietufa hurled a 74-yard TD strike over the top of the Hornets’ defense to Jaden Robinson with 2:23 to go in the game, just 21 seconds after what looked to be Enumclaw’s knockout blow.
“I’ve been waiting for my chance all season, and finally it came,” said Harberts, who finished with 99 yards rushing and two TDs, most after Kuro (97 yards rushing) went out with a left-ankle injury at the 7:55 mark of the fourth quarter. “I’m glad it did come and we got the win, so it’s all good.”
Of his 43-yard jaunt for what turned out to be the game-winning TD, Harberts was grateful.
“It’s feels so good,” he said. “There’s nothing better.”
The Hornets, who were outgained 383 yards to 364, outscored the Ravens 20-13 in the fourth quarter after trailing 14-10 at halftime. It was Enumclaw’s methodical time-eating offense against Auburn Riverside’s big-play offense.
Enumclaw had two long TD marches — 17 plays, 86 yards and 4:49 off the clock and 15 plays, 77 yards and 6:26 off the clock.
The celebration finally came on Anthony Russell’s interception at midfield on a deep, desperation heave by backup QB D’Andre Stevens-Suaava with one minute remaining.
Malietufa threw for 222 yards and two TDs on 11-of-20 accuracy and ran for another score before he was injured when sacked with 1:08 left.