High School Football

He’s the team’s best blocker, but he was asked to score at a crucial point in the game

Not exactly his team’s forgotten man, two-way line star James Williams acknowledged he was nonetheless “really, really shocked” to get a startling message.

Score the touchdown we really need, the senior leader was told in so many words by coaches and teammates.

After coach Jim Sandusky made the technical adjustments for a guard-eligible play, Williams eschewed his usual crunching block assignment and raced up the middle – with nary a defender in sight – for a 29-yard touchdown catch from Dashawn Lawrence.

It wasn’t the most spectacular of Lummi’s nine touchdowns – that was a 93-yard catch-run by Stanford Hoskins – but Williams did provide a vital performance in Lummi’s 62-42 win over Tacoma Baptist in the quarterfinals of the Class 1B state playoffs Saturday at Sammamish High.

The Blackhawks (9-3) advanced to the semifinals this weekend and will be the host team against Almira-Coulee-Hartline, a 60-32 winner over Naselle. The WIAA will announce the times and locals for all semifinals Sunday, and it’s possible Lummi and Meridian, which advanced to the Class 1A state semifinals, could play a doubleheader at Civic Stadium.

“I was afraid their linebacker would read the play,” Williams said. “It was the first time all season (Sandusky has) called that for me and the third time at Lummi.”

And what did Lawrence say of his breakout receiving star?

“James is my best blocker,” the senior quarterback said, while also noting the efforts of center Lincoln Tom and guard Jacob Washington.

2017 Football State Championships 1B State Football

Sandusky was succinct about why he called the play with 1:30 remaining in the first half. Lummi led 20-14 after seeing the Crusaders (8-4) score two of the game’s first four touchdowns.

“We needed to score at that time,” said Sandusky, whose team earned its sixth consecutive berth in the state semifinals as part of a streak of 14 state tournament spots. “That slow start by everybody (Lummi trailed 8-6) wasn’t good, so I called everyone together.”

Sandusky’s words of warning paid off with a 48-14 advantage after Tom, “a 150-pound guy with great heart,“ as Williams said, took his first snap of the day at quarterback on Lummi’s first play of the fourth quarter.

The result was a 69-yard touchdown run, as Tom burst into the open, refused to let anyone get a good grasp on him and had the team in an rousing uproar. With far less distance to go on his second snap, Tom scored in a similar stylish way from the 17.

The Blackhawks amassed 601 yards on only 45 plays, including Lawrence’s 14 carries for 153 yards and his 7-for-13 passing for 208 yards and one interception.

Lawrence threw touchdown passes of 24 yards to Tristan Revey (Lummi’s first score), 93-yards to Hoskins (who broke a tackle at midfield) and the 29-yard stunner to Williams. Lawrence also ran for the game’s only third-quarter scores – nifty dashes of 25 and 24 yards.

Hoskins ran five times for 57-yards, including a 17-yard score for Lummi’s third touchdown, set up by a 68-yard punt return by Caleb Revey.

“The 363 yards (total offense) was my best,“ Lawrence said.

Noah Toby, who rushed seven times for 78 yards, scored Lummi’s final touchdown on a quarterback sneak.

Tacoma Baptist freshman Noah Tangen, an intense, talented player, gained 84 yards on three catches, including a 32-yard score and also threw a 22-yard scoring pass to P.J. Talen for Crusaders‘ last touchdown.

Tangen, the first man to handle the ball on a nicely executed trick play, flipped to quarterback P.J. Talen – the Crusaders’ lone senior regular – and Talen threw 22 yards to eighth-grader Matthew Kessel for a score, pulling Tacoma Baptist within 20-14 late in the second quarter.

With the starters going the distance in an exhausting game, Pelen went 10 for 19 passing for 193 yards and three touchdowns. Pelen netted 105 yards on 17 carries, despite 40 yards in losses on four sacks. He scored on a 46-yard fourth-quarter run and Logan Kitselman gained 69 yards on 18 carries and scored from the 3 on the Crusaders’ first drive.