Trailing 14-6 at the half, Thunder Mountain football players were challenged by their coaching staff to dig deep and look inside themselves.
That resolve lasted just over three minutes before Renton Indians running back Anthony Gold scored his second of four touchdowns on the night and propelled the visiting squad to a 42-6 win on the Falcons senior night.
It was a night of rain and cold, and pomp and circumstance. It was a tune-up game before fans and parents on the weekend before the Falcons’ first ever home playoff game.
The Falcons’ seniors and parents were brought out on the field with coach Bill Byouer.
None of that mattered in the first quarter. Not the wind, the rain or the nerves of senior night. “Several Falcons” was the name given for defensive tackles against the Renton Double Wing of Gold and Brian Barron.
Ofeina Sokai put a big hit on Gold on fourth and one, stopping the Renton runner on his own 45 yard line with 9:18 remaining in the quarter. Then both teams started to fumble and miss passes and draw yellow flags.
Renton looked to threaten until Sam Jahn batted down a pass and Ben Jahn picked up a fumble on the Falcon 30. After a penalty, Eric Reyna picked up 13 of the 15 needed yards on third down yet was stopped inches from a first down on the next play.
Then Renton’s Gold burst sideways and up the field from his own 31 yard line, scoring the game’s first touchdown 68 yards later.
In the second quarter a Falcons punt was downed at the Renton 13. The Indians’ Da’Ssaun Sauls moved to the 38 on a keeper but Renton fumbled on the next play and Connor Hoyt gave the Falcons control.
Camden Thomas picked up five on a run, and Renya two but on a long pass to B. Jahn the ball was tipped and intercepted by Gold.
The Falcons’ Matt Abrahms was injured on the play but able to walk off the field.
Thomas used Reyna, Jahn Joe Ia and John Jolly to move the ball up field. The tide turned on a pass over the middle as Renton’s Paul Mattingly leapt to intercept the pigskin on his own 19 yard line and outrun the Falcons over 80 yards to a 14-0 advantage.
Three minutes later, with the wind blowing in from the Mendenhall Glacier, Thomas threw a bullet to S. Jahn that went through his hands to B. Jahn for a touchdown.
“I tipped it to him,” Ben Jahn said in jest. “It is a set play now.”
Matt Schram made two big tackles and B. Jahn broke up anther pass threat at the three-minute mark. On the ensuing play, Austin Thomas intercepted a pass but the Falcons couldn’t mount a drive before the half.
Renton wasted little time in the third quarter. After recovering a pooch kick on the Falcons 37, Gold carried three times up the middle before breaking a 36 yard run to pay dirt.
What the Falcons didn’t need was another injury, but S. Jahn left the game with a concussion at the 10:50 mark of the quarter.
After Drew Gardner recovered an onside kick on the 50, a high snap was recovered by Renton and Gold scampered into the end zone from 38 yards out.
On the ensuing drive the Falcons were threatening before a second high snap was recovered by Renton on the TMHS 20 yard line. Gold would slash across and then up field for his fourth touchdown on the night.
Both teams struggled to hold onto the ball in the fourth quarter. Joe Ia was injured on an interception run at the 9:11 mark and left the game.
Jolly got some legwork on five straight plays for the Falcons, bringing the ball to the Renton 36 and B. Jahn caught a Camden bullet at the 16. Once again the drive was shut down, this time by a broken pass in the end zone and a sack.
With three minutes left in the game, Renton’s Savion Phillips broke off a 60-yard run and Ernie Davis moved it 15 yards closer. Phillips took a handoff from Da’Ssaun around end for 20 yards and the final score.
How They Scored:
RHS – Anthony Gold 68 yard run (Uriel Gonzalez kick). 7-0 RHS.
RHS - Paul Mattingly 80 yard pass interception (Gonzalez kick). 14-0 RHS.
TMHS - Camden Thomas 42 yard pass to Ben Jahn (pass incomplete). 14-6 RHS.
RHS - Gold 36 yard run (Gonzales kick good). 21-6 RHS.
RHS - Gold 38 yard run (Gonzales kick). 28-6 RHS.
RHS – Gold 20 yard run (Gonzales kick). 35-6 RHS.
RHS – Savion Phillips 20 yard run (Gonzales kick). 42-6 RHS.