ABERDEEN, Wash. — Naselle’s stellar football season continued Friday with a win that advances the Comets to the state 1B semifinals for the second consecutive year.
Naselle defeated Quilcene 50-46 to remain unbeaten in 2019. Next up is a WIAA semifinal against Almira-Coulee-Hartline (11-1) which defeated Lummi of Bellingham, Washington, in Saturday’s quarterfinal 80-30.
The Comets and Warriors will meet 1 p.m. Saturday at Tumwater High School in Washington.
Naselle advanced to the 1B semifinals last season, but suffered a heavy loss to A-C-H, which also beat the Comets in the quarterfinals the year before.
This year’s semifinals feature the top four seeded teams.
On the other side of the bracket, unbeaten defending state 1B champion Odessa defeated Selkirk 82-24 Friday. Next Saturday, at a location to be announced, the No. 1-ranked Tigers will play No. 4 Entiat, which defeated Lyle-Wishram 48-12.
Naselle went into Friday’s quarterfinal against Quilcene ranked No. 2 among Washington’s smallest schools, which play eight-man football.
Less than two minutes into the contest, the Rangers went ahead with a 6-yard touchdown run and added the 2-point conversion. Naselle quarterback Ethan Lindstrom responded right away, making 81 yards on three plays, finishing with a 52-yard score then adding the extra points.
Sophomore Joey Strange — one of the three smallest players on the roster — blocked a punt, setting up the Comets on the 2-yard line. Lindstrom then ran in, although the conversion was off.
Quilcene scored on a 3-yard touchdown run and added the extra points to bring the margin to two points. But on the kickoff return, Naselle’s state 100-meters medalist Fa’aoso Tutu’u ran the length of the field and Lindstrom added the conversion. Moments later, the two seniors connected on a 45-yard passing play to make the score 28-16.
Junior running back Warren Wirkkala got on the scoreboard next, catching a 32-yard pass from Lindstrom, but at the other end of the field the Rangers scored on a 6-yard pass.
Lindstrom carried the ball 54 yards to the Rangers’ 2-yard line where he then ran in a touchdown. He nailed the conversion pass to Tutu’u to stretch the halftime margin to 42-22.
Quilcene opened the scoring in the second half with a 23-yard touchdown pass and conversion, but as the third quarter ended Tutu’u again ran into the end zone from 9 yards and Lindstrom added the two.
The fourth quarter saw Quilcene reduce the difference to 50-38 in the first minute with a 3-yard run and conversion then add another touchdown from 6 yards and conversion to bring the Rangers within four points.
Junior Daniel Holt recovered ana onside kick, Lindstrom ran 24 yards and Tutu’u made a 14-yard run to gain ground before time ran out.