TACOMA - Lynden defensive end Gabe Kaemingk knows there's only one place society allows people to inflict physical pain on others and get away with it.
That's the football field. And the Lions' defensive 11 put quite a hurting on Tumwater during Lynden's 41-7 Class 2A state title game win Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Tacoma Dome.
"For a lot of us, this was our last half of football," Kaemingk explained. "The whole time we were thinking this is the last time we'll be with each other, so we might as well make it worth it and leave it out on the field. There's only one place you can be this violent in society."
Lynden's defense allowed an average of 14 points in its first three state tournament games against Mark Morris, Sumner and Capital. Against Tumwater, Lynden put together a defensive masterpiece.
Even though the Lions didn't technically post a shutout - quarterback Josh Kraght threw a pick-6 representing the Thunderbirds' only score - don't tell senior linebacker Jose Martinez.
"I'm pretty sure it's a shutout," Martinez said. "Josh Kraght made a little mistake there, but it motivated us even more to smash them in the mouth."
Evergreen 2A Conference MVP Andrew Brown served as the focal point all week at practice leading up to the title game.
Brown rushed for 1,237 yards and 14 touchdowns, helping Tumwater reach the 2A state final.
"Mainly we were trying to contain them and make (Brown) go side-to-side," Lynden linebacker Jaremy Martin said. "He is fast and, if he goes up the middle, it's hard to catch him. All of our guys came to play like they do every week."
Brown finished with seven carries for 17 yards. Tumwater amassed only 88 rushing yards for an average of 2.4 yards per carry.
Martinez provided an extensive list of what Lynden needed to do, and did, defensively to shut down Tumwater's offense.
"Our game plan was do your job, focus on the next play, don't let the big play bother you, win the battle in the trenches, make sure (Brown) doesn't get outside of you because he's a fast kid and, most importantly, hit them like they've never been hit before."
Safety Zach Vis, most notably, took care of Martinez's last piece of Lynden's game plan.
On a fourth-and-4 from the Lynden 44 towards the end of the second quarter, Tumwater ran a fake punt. The punter lofted a lazy ball to receiver Gabe Gleizes over the middle, and Vis blasted him, sending a collective cringe throughout the Tacoma Dome.
"It was a great joy," said coach Curt Kramme of watching his team fly around the field. "I mean to watch Zach Vis come up and unload on that guy on that fake punt ... I mean, you almost feel sorry for the other team, because that was a vicious hit."
The running game is featured in Tumwater's Wing-T offense, but when the Thunderbirds were forced to go to the air trailing by 20 at halftime, they still struggled moving the football.
"We were harassing their quarterback to the point where he wasn't even looking downfield anymore," Kramme said. "He was just looking off. That's a beautiful thing from our perspective."
Tumwater quarterback Jayden Croft was 10 of 18 with 115 passing yards and threw an interception John Shine intercepted in the end zone.
Kaemingk recorded two sacks, and Trent Postma brought Croft down behind the line of scrimmage once.
Lynden gave up only 203 yards of offense.
Combine Lynden's stellar run and pass defense, and it was an effort Kramme couldn't be more pleased with.
"They executed (the game plan) beautifully," Kramme said. "Our whole game plan is based off not giving up the big plays. We don't look at how many total yards or first downs the other team gets. We could care less. We just care about how many points they get. Today they got zero."
Three times Tumwater moved the ball inside Lynden's 30. Those trips resulted in two turnovers on downs and an interception. Lynden's bend but don't break style of defense was on full display.
"We just went into the game like any other game," defensive end Caleb Newman said. "We prepared hard this week. We knew what we had to do. I'm so proud of these guys. I couldn't have asked for anything better."
Martin finished with a game-high 11 tackles. Nine of those were solo. Martinez recorded six tackles, Dak Shagren had five and Shine and Kaemingk had 4.5.
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