ABERDEEN — Jason Harman had a 78-yard catch, Daniel Holt scored twice on defense and once on offense, and Fa’aoso Tutu’u had three rushing touchdowns in Naselle’s 66-20 octofinal victory over Crescent Saturday, Nov. 16. The Comets advanced to State quarterfinals, where they will return to Stewart Field in Aberdeen to face Quilcene Friday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.
Harman’s big gain came on third-and five early in the second quarter. The Comets had the ball at their 21 ahead 20-0, and the Loggers’ most promising drive had just died inside the 20-yard line. Harman got open deep, Ethan Lindstrom hit him at the 50-yard-line, and Harman made it all the way to the one-yard-line; he plunged in on the next play for a 26-0 lead with 10:48 in the half.
“My defender was playing way back, so I just cut inside,” Harman said.
The Loggers turned to their passing game to try to keep up with the Comets’ offense. Tutu’u provided a disruptive pass-rush against quarterback Eric Emery, and the Comets made some plays in coverage throughout the game. Lindstrom’s third-down deflection forced a punt on the Loggers’ opening drive. Holt had a pair of end zone deflections to help stop the drive right before the Harman touchdown. Holt returned a fumble for a touchdown on the second play of the second half. Two plays later, he ran back an interception for a score to make it 58-14, triggering a running clock.
Besides his big night on defense, Holt came open over the middle for a 22-yard second-quarter touchdown catch.
Tutu’u put the Comets ahead early. He had a 42-yard run on the second play of the game. He added a seven-yard TD run, set up by Lindstrom runs of 30 and 18 yards, to put Naselle up 12-0 with 7:52 in the first quarter. Later in the quarter, Joey Strange stretched the ball out to pick up a tough third-and-one near the goal line, setting up Lindstrom’s one-yard plunge as the Comets went ahead 20-0 late in the first quarter. Tutu’u added his third touchdown run with 1:27 to make it 42-14.
The oddest play of the game came on a kind of reverse punt return in the second quarter. After a Kolten Lindstrom sack forced fourth-and-eleven at the Crescent 29, the Loggers had to punt. The punt was partially blocked, and the Loggers picked it up at around their own 20. Everyone stopped, but there was no whistle, so the Loggers’ player who caught the ball ran it the other way. Some Comet players eventually gave chase, bringing him down inside the Naselle 20-yard line. The play stood, leading to a Crescent touchdown. A referee explained that 1B eight-man football rules allow the punting team to advance the ball if the punt ends up short of the line of scrimmage.
A Warren Wirkkala touchdown pass to Trevor Johnson was the Comets’ final scoring play.
After the weekend’s games, the WIAA announced the brackets for the final eight 1B teams. The Comets got the number two seed, which pits them against the seven-seed Quilcene Rangers (8-1). Quilcene’s loss was 60-39 against a Neah Bay team that lost 50-14 to Naselle. Quilcene’s wins include an 18-12 victory over Crescent. Defending champion Odessa is the number one seed.