TACOMA — Marcus King had no idea he was putting on a record-setting performance.
The 6-foot, 175-pound senior running back for top-seeded and defending Class 1B state champion Odessa just kept going and going. And, as a result, the Tigers keep outdoing themselves.
King broke a pair of long-standing Class 1B state-championship-game records, piling up 380 yards and six touchdowns rushing and Odessa repeated as state champs with a convincing 80-26 win over second-seeded Naselle on Saturday afternoon at Mount Tahoma High School.
“For the most part, I was just having a good time with the boys,” King said. “It’s just great. I’ve got these (other two) great seniors around me, blocking for me. I don’t know what to say. Having fun is the most important thing.”
King, who also scored four two-point conversions, broke the Class 1B title-game record for points with 44, eclipsing Napavine’s Wayne Porter, who had 40 points in the 1976 championship. King also bettered the eight-man title-game mark for rushing yards, topping the 342 of Nick Koller of LaCrosse-Washtucna in the 2002 final.
Odessa (13-0) won its 27th consecutive game and gave the school its first back-to-back state titles in football. King’s backfield mate, Josh Clark, added 162 yards and two TDs on 15 rushes as the Tigers staked a claim on being the best eight-man football team in state history. Last year, the Tigers scored a record 40 points in the first quarter en route to a 63-12 win over Almira/Coulee-Hartline.
“It’s pretty special,” King said. “It was important to stay focused and not let our town or community down.”
A few of the players’ fathers were part of the school’s state crown in 1993.
“The hardest thing to do in sports is repeat,” Odessa coach Jeff Nelson said. “You have to have a little luck. You can’t have major injuries. It never gets old. It’s fabulous what it means to the community and these kids. They work so hard. Nobody outworks us.
“They one-upped their dads.”
Odessa broke the Class 1B championship rushing record with 555 yards, erasing the mark of 442 set by Colton in 1997.
King could’ve had seven rushing TDs, but he slid and downed the ball at the Naselle 4-yard line late in the game — after a 33-yard run — to set up what is believed to be the first successful field goal in a Class 1B title game.
Jett Nelson, son of the coach, booted a 23-yard field goal with 3:04 remaining to put the Tigers up 80-20.
“The reason I wanted a field goal was that one has never been done in an eight-man championship,” Jeff Nelson said. “That’s one for the record book. That’s why we did it.”
Odessa came into the title game with an average winning margin of more than 69 points per game and a 76.8-point scoring average.
Naselle (12-1), a tiny town in the southwest corner of the state first known as a logging town, hadn’t made it past the state semifinals until this season.
Jimmy Strange led the Comets with 138 yards rushing and three TDs on 10 carries.
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.