A 19-yard touchdown run with 22 seconds remaining in last Saturday's SWW 1A League crossover game in Tumwater lifted Toledo to a season-ending 24-18 victory over Columbia High.
The win leveled Toledo's final record at 5-5, dropped Columbia to 4-6 and avenged a 35-15 loss to CHS in the final game of the 2006 season.
Toledo trailed 18-12 after three quarters but put together a pair of scoring drives in the final 12 minutes of play to take the game away from Columbia.
"Our kids played hard, they were ahead for most of the game, but as they'll admit, Toledo wanted to win the game more than they did," Bruins Coach Matt Whitmire said, "and that was the difference."
Toledo began its game-winning drive in great field position--at CHS's 44-yard line with 44 seconds remaining--after a shanked Columbia netted 11 yards.
From there the Indians needed just three plays--the last a 19-yard run up the middle by Mike White--to break an 18-18 tie. For White, who finished with 261 rushing yards, it was his third touchdown of the game.
"That was distressing," Whitmire said of Toledo's last drive, "to have them go 44 yards in that amount of time, basically by shoving the ball down our throats."
Stopping Toledo's running attack was something the Bruins had trouble doing throughout the game. The Indians rushed 50 times for 321 yards and all four of their touchdowns.
Until the fourth quarter, however, the Bruins showed they were pretty good at running the football too.
Senior halfback Taylor Champion carried 24 times for 144 yards and both Bruins touchdowns, and senior fullback Devin Dean added 133 yards in 22 attempts. All told, CHS ran for 268 yards and added nine via the pass.
"We ran the ball quite effectively but our inability to pass hindered us," Whitmire said. "That's something to address in the off-season because we need to become more diversified offensively."
Columbia opened its final game of 2007 with a scoring drive that culminated in a 25-yard run by Champion.
The score remained 7-0 until early in the second quarter, when Toledo drove 60 yards for its first touchdown. A miss of the point-after kick, however, left CHS in front by a point.
Late in the first half, Columbia reached Toledo's 12-yard line before the Indians' defense stiffened. The Bruins salvaged the possession, though, with a career-long 29-yard field goal by Felix Torres, with 1:09 to go before the intermission that put CHS on top, 10-6.
Toledo received the second-half kickoff and soon thereafter took a 12-10 lead on a 15-yard run by Jace Catlin.
But back came the Bruins, who countered with a 1-yard run by Champion, who also ran for the 2-point conversion that gave CHS an 18-12 advantage.
Columbia held the lead until White scored from 14 yards out with 5:09 left in the contest.