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Columbia High 35, Tenino 20

Nine seniors go out winners; freshman back has big game

A bruising ground game paved the way for Columbia High's season-ending 35-20 victory over Tenino last Saturday in Camas.

The Bruins (3-7) rallied from a 14-7 halftime deficit behind the running of freshman Devin Dean, senior Jon Bryan and sophomore Mason Giovannoni.

That trio combined for 282 yards rushing and four touchdowns in the first of three SW Washington crossover games at Doc Harris Stadium.

Columbia tied the score at 14-all on its second possession of the second half, driving 37 yards in five plays and scoring on a 9-yard run by Bryan.

The Bruins obtained the favorable field position when Bryan recovered a Beavers fumble with about nine minutes remaining in the third quarter.

They took the lead for good at 21-14 with 8:17 to play in the game when Dean bulled his way in from 7 yards out to cap a six-play, 22-yard series set up by a Bryan interception deep in Tenino territory.

Columbia increased its lead to 28-14 with 3:25 to play on a 1-yard plunge by junior quarterback Mike Charters that completed an eight-play, 54-yard march.

Tenino (0-10) kept things interesting, however, because Cameron Watson returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown that closed the gap to 28-20.

That runback marked the first time this season that CHS special teams had been scored upon.

But the Bruins countered following the Beavers' failed onside kick attempt, going 49 yards in nine plays and using up all but 18 seconds of the time left.

The clinching 2-minute, 53-second drive culminated in a 2-yard run around left end by Bryan, who closed out his CHS career with an 89-yard rushing performance.

The senior wingback also completed a pass for 39 yards--to Giovannoni--that set up the Bruins' first touchdown: a 2-yard, fourth-down run by Giovannoni with 1:26 to go in the first half. Giovannoni finished with 41 yards receiving and 51 yards rushing.

"It was nice to end the season on a positive note and for our seniors to go out winners," Bruins Coach Scott Ross said.

In addition to Bryan, Will Brasuell, Daniel Hankin, Keith Ingram, Sean Kruse, Josabet Pulido, Alex Riley, Lucas Vermeire and Mitch Wheelhouse played their final game for CHS.

Their going-away party on the football field, however, also proved to be a coming-out party for Dean, a fullback who carried a career-high 29 times for a career- and game-best 142 yards.

Ross attributed Columbia's success on the ground to an offensive line that "did a nice job of getting off the ball and holding their blocks" and to "our other offensive personnel, who stepped up and made the blocks that we needed to breaks those runs outside."

He also credited coaches Matt Whitmire and Mitch Plummer with calling a good offensive game in the second half.

"They did a nice job of mixing up the play calls and keeping (Tenino's defense) off balance," Ross noted, adding, "I think we were able to wear them down, especially in that fourth quarter. You could see that with the amount of yardage we were getting on each carry."

CHS's efficient second-half performance on offense (199 yards, 10 first downs and no turnovers) was in marked contrast to its erratic first-half effort.

The Bruins picked up 151 yards and eight first downs in the first two quarters, but also lost two of three fumbles.

"We were moving the ball but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot with turnovers and giving them the momentum," Ross said. "With the way things were going, we were lucky to get in the end zone and make it 14-7 before halftime."

Tenino's Robbie Pon scored on a 20-yard run with just over three and a half minutes gone in the first quarter to finish off the game's opening drive. The key play in the drive was a pass from John Lewis to Ross Johnson that covered 28 yards.

The Beavers took a two-touchdown lead with 4:39 remaining in the first half when Watson banged in from the 1-yard line. The 54-yard scoring drive was enabled by Tony Palm's second fumble recovery of the half.

But Tenino never crossed midfield in the second half as coach Jeff Lindstrom's defensive unit became more active and clamped down on the Beavers.

"In the second half, we shut down the run for the most part," Ross said. "And we got our pass defense shored up and adjusted our blitz package to allow us to put more pressure on their quarterback."

Hankin and freshman Erick Viramontes each recorded drive-killing quarterback sacks in the second half for a combined 16 yards in losses.

"We got good pursuit and guys flying to football," Ross said. "It was nice to see; it's something (team tackling) that we'd been striving for most of the year."

Notable:

In Saturday's other crossover games in Camas, Ridgefield unloaded on Rochester, 47-0, and Stevenson stuck it to Forks, 19-12.

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