Connell assistant Clint Didier, on the losing end in the Super Bowl, reminded the Eagles, "It hurts to lose." And his advice paid off.
TACOMA — Clint Didier wears the ring for a reason.
To remind himself, and players on the Connell High School football team, how painful it is to lose.
Didier, a Connell assistant coach, has two Super Bowl rings from his years as a tight end with the Washington Redskins from 1982 to ’87. But the ring he wore Saturday during the Class 1A state-championship game was for winning the 1984 NFC Championship Game — just before the Redskins lost to the Raiders in the Super Bowl.
“It hurt to lose that game,” said Didier, who carried the two Super Bowl rings in his front pockets Saturday. “I tell the kids this is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
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The other ring he wore Saturday is a reminder of Connell’s 2A championship in 2002. He’ll get another to commemorate the Eagles’ 1A title over Cascade Christian, a victory keyed in part by his youngest nephew, Shane.
Didier, a Connell graduate, has three sons who have played for the Eagles. He confirmed Saturday that he is stepping down as assistant coach to pursue the U.S. Senate seat held by Patty Murray.
Faverty favors second-half duty
Colton Faverty didn’t fret when he didn’t get a carry in the first half of Cascade Christian’s game against Connell. The Cougars junior knew his time was coming. Faverty has been the team’s second-half back most of the season, with Brendon Ossman typically playing the first half.
“That’s OK with me,” Faverty said. “Whatever’s good for the team.”
Cascade Christian coach Randy Davis said his rationale for saving Faverty is simple: “Fresh legs mainly, and he’s pretty quick.”
Faverty showed those legs as he carried 12 times for 83 yards and the Cougars’ only touchdown, on a 28-yard burst.
Lynden proud of ‘setback-comeback’
Lynden struggled early and missed a field-goal attempt while falling behind West Valley of Spokane 6-0 in the 2A final. Despite the slow start, the Lions never lost focus.
“We pride ourselves this year on setback-comeback,” said Lynden senior Blair Bomber. “If a play doesn’t go our way, that’s OK. We’ll come back the next play.”
The Lions’ defense, which allowed a 15-play drive to start the game and a West Valley touchdown drive shortly thereafter, shut out the Eagles in the second half.
Lynden coach Curt Kramme thinks preparation and work ethic have led a defense that isn’t riddled with Division I college talent.
“There’s just a mentality that we’ve developed over the past four to five years that as long as the other team hasn’t crossed that last line, our kids know and believe something good can happen, an interception or a penalty, and we just have to keep playing,” Kramme said.
Despite being picked before the season to finish third in the Great Northern League, West Valley knew during summer workouts, which produced record turnouts, that it could be a special year for the Eagles.
The loss to Lynden was the first for the Spokane team, which finished 13-1.
“We’ve kind of been the underdog all year,” said coach Craig Whitney. “And we’re OK with that.”
leap of faith
As the celebration died down after Bellevue’s 23-17 victory in the 3A title game Friday night, the Wolverines decided to bring back a tradition they started early in the season.
Most of the players huddled together with a few standing in front of the main group. Then senior Sean Coley sprinted toward the pack. The small group in front hurled him into the waiting arms of the larger group of teammates.
According to Kendrick VanAckeren, it is meant as a leap of faith, a sign of trust.
The Wolverines picked it up when they traveled to Texas in September to play the powerful Katy Tigers. Katy beat the Wolverines, 35-17.
VanAckeren said the Tigers pick a player who exemplifies the spirit of the program to toss into teammates’ arms. For Bellevue, that guy was Coley.
VanAckeren added that the team hadn’t tried it in a while, but it seemed fitting to roll it out one last time after their title victory.
Adna’s seniors are 41-7 in four seasons after their 2B championship-game victory over Colfax Saturday night. The Pirates have come a long way since the beginning of the decade.
In KC Johnson’s first season as head coach in 2001, Adna went 2-7 with a handful of single-digit losses. The rebuilding process included a two-year stretch when six freshmen started.
Perhaps Adna’s most disappointing season was 2007, when the top-ranked Pirates lost 26-7 to visiting Life Christian in the first round after committing five turnovers.
“We’ve been winning a lot of games and doing a lot of things right, but just haven’t been able to play in this [title] game,” said Johnson, who is 65-34 overall. “Now, with the 20-year anniversary of our only championship, we’ve come full circle.”
Adna, which had outscored its opponents by an average of 48-3 entering that Life Christian game, soon faced a much greater battle.
The historic flood of Dec. 3, 2007 hit close to home. John Brunoff, father of current senior lineman Cooper Brunoff and sophomore receiver Angus Brunoff, lost about 200 organic dairy cows to drowning.
But the farm community, six miles west of Chehalis in Lewis County, amazed Johnson with its resiliency.
“It’s why I’m still here. I love this community and these people,” he said.
for 1B records
The state basketball championships are three months away, but Tri-Cities Prep and Lummi did their best to make Friday’s 1B championship score look like a basketball result.
Below are the 1B (eight-man) championship-game records set in TCP’s 80-40 win.
• Passing yards: 552 (TCP)
• Pass attempts: 44 (Lummi)
• Completions: 27 (TCP)
• Points: 80 (TCP)
• Touchdowns (tie): 6 (TCP’s Troy Redmann)
• Total offense: 601 yards (TCP’s Will Hoppes)
• Pass attempts: 44 (Lummi’s Titan Jameson)
• Passing yards: 552 (Hoppes)
• Touchdown passes: 10 (Hoppes)
• Receptions (tie): 9 (Redmann)
• Receiving yards: 239 (Redmann)
• Touchdown receptions: 6 (Redmann)
• Fumble recoveries: 2 (Lummi’s Kyle Finkbonner)
Times staff reporter Mason Kelley and freelancers Joshua Mayers and Darren Fessenden contributed to this report.