TENINO — Hoquiam’s playoff hopes were extinguished Friday by a last-ditch Tenino air assault.
Thomas Pier took three touchdown passes from Calvin Guzman in the final 6 1/2 minutes as the Beavers came from behind to edge the upset-minded Grizzlies, 39-32, in an Evergreen 1A League football game Friday night at Beaver Stadium.
Guzman’s 49-yard scoring pass to Pier with 16 seconds remaining gave the Beavers (4-1, 4-4) their only lead of the night.
Devin Kelly rushed for 152 yards and accounted for all of Hoquiam’s scoring on five touchdowns and a pair of conversion kicks.
But the Grizzlies, needing to sweep the last two games to keep their postseason hopes alive, slipped to 1-3 in league and 2-6 overall.
The Grizzlies owned a 26-10 lead when Kelly took a 30-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jeff Capoeman with 41 seconds remaining in the first half. Following a Tenino field goal and touchdown, Hoquiam was in front 32-20 on Kelly’s 32-yard TD run with 9:32 remaining in the contest.
The Beavers reallied on two Guzman-to-Pier scoring passes — the second with 1:26 on the clock.
When they missed both conversion kicks, however, overtime seemed imminent. An interception gave the ball back to the Beavers with 43 seconds left.
That set the stage for the winning TD, on which Pier broke a couple of tackles en route to the end zone.
“It’s disheartening, because the kids laid it all on the field, I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Hoquiam coach Rick Moore said.
Kelly scored on a pair of 1-yard runs and also tallied on a 35-yard draw play in the first half.
Tyler White’s 48-yard punt return set up Kelly’s first TD.
Kelly had another apparent scoring run in the third quarter nullified by a holding penalty.
All three of Hoquiam’s turnovers came in the second half.
“The first three quarters, we controlled the tempo of the game and we controlled the line of scrimmage,” Moore said. “Then we made a couple of crucial errors and it came back to bite us.”
Tahj Malone had 12 tackles and four assists for the Grizzlies.
Moore also cited the play of Dante Lopez and Brenner Carlstrom, plus his offensive line.
He also praised his coaching staff for its contributions. The Grizzlies close out their season Friday at Forks.