AMANDA PARK — Like a heavyweight fight, a late flurry of scores by Lake Quinault brought Mary M. Knight back into the contest, but not enough to prevail on Saturday afternoon at Fred Soth Stadium.
Drenched in a driving rain, the Elks rallied from a 22-point second-half deficit to get within one score, but couldn’t land the final knockout score in a 42-38 non-league eight-man football loss to the Owls.
The Owls (1-0) led 42-20 early in the third quarter before the Elks (1-2) scored three unanswered second-half touchdowns. However, the hosts missed on four second-half two-point conversion plays and had the ball in the final 29 seconds of the game, but couldn’t score in four plays.
“This was a gut-check game for us,” Lake Quinault head coach Darwin Sharrah said. “We fought back and the boys never quit. They never gave up and kept on playing hard. Our execution on two-point plays wasn’t very good; it would have made a difference if we were able to convert those short-yardage plays. We just can’t give a team that kind of cushion and expect to win.”
MMK, playing its first game of the season after struggling to field a team in the first three weeks of the season, took the air out of the football with the fourth-quarter lead. It gave up the ball on downs at Quinault’s 40-yard line with 5:06 left in the game and set up the Elks’ final scoring drive.
Even with a torrential rain storm pounding the area, Quinault quarterback Kobe Kalama found his targets in the air. A 33-yard connection to Julio Silva on 2nd-and-32 and got what turned into the game’s final touchdown with a 23-yard passing score to Silva on the next play.
Down 42-38, the Elks’ two-point conversion pass was intercepted, ending the play.
MMK got the ball back at its 35-yard line, got a first down and then lost the ball on downs with 30.3 seconds left in the game. Quinault was out of timeouts, losing its final stoppage on the previous drive.
At midfield, the Elks needed a touchdown to win. Two incomplete passes by Kalama were followed by a 19-yard run where he stepped out of bounds with .4 seconds left in the game, setting up a final play. With pressure by the Owls, Kalama tried to get the ball to Silva near the goal line, but his throw was out of range.
Kalama threw for 149 yards on 8-for-21 passing attempts, two touchdowns and one interception. Silva caught six of those passes for 126 yards and two scores. Kalama also led the Elks in rushing with 120 yards on 14 attempts despite spending some of the first half and the start of the second half on the sidelines with an injury.
The Owls utilized a power running game that drove the Elks backward most of the day. MMK attempted no passes and rushed for 414 yards, led by 292 yards from Brent Boley.
“They drove the ball down our throats,” Sharrah said. “They ran pretty much everything inside and just off the edge, never got a pass attempt. We were back on our heels too much. When you are giving up 6-7 yards on draws, you know you are in trouble. In the second half, we played much better on defense.”
The Owls led, 30-14, at halftime and enjoyed a very robust rushing game. Boley, who ran for two of his three touchdowns in the second quarter, had 172 yards on 16 attempts in the first half, a vast majority of the Owls’ 245 yards on the ground.
Quinault got the ball first in the second half, but on the first play from scrimmage, Dylan Dorhofer — taking the place at quarterback for Kalama, who was out of the game at the time — threw an interception. Three plays later, Adam Pais ran in a 10-yard touchdown for a 36-14 lead 1 1/2 minutes into the second half.
Kalama returned to the game, was sacked twice, then found Silva for a 31-yard catch-and-run and finished the drive with an 18-yard touchdown throw to Silva for the Elks’ first score since the first quarter. A two-point conversion run failed at 36-20.
Boley didn’t waste time getting his team another 22-point lead. On the ensuing drive, Boley hit the right corner and sprinted 69 yards to the Quinault 1-yard line. Boley would have scored on the run, but Silva sprinted and tripped him up for the stop on a tremendous defensive hustle play. Boley scored from 1-yard out on the next play at 42-20.
The Elks responded quickly again. Kalama hit two pass plays, one each to Silva and Chayton Johnson, before keeping the ball for a 49-yard touchdown run at 42-36. Another two-point conversion play failed following the score.
Kalama gave the hosts the momentum when he scooped up Boley’s first of two lost fumbles and rumbled 61 yards for a touchdown at 42-32 with 4:11 left in the third quarter. Again, a two-point conversion play failed.
On the ensuing kickoff, Quinault hit a squib kick that Dylan Lines recovered at the MMK 42-yard line. With a chance to take the lead, the Elks gave the ball back on downs after six plays.
After dodging Quinault’s shot following the squib kick, the Owls took the air out of the ball and milked the clock. Running plays just as the play clock (on the umpire’s watch) wound down, MMK made sure Quinault didn’t have a lot of time left in the game. The Elks had just three more drives in the game, one lost on downs, one finished on a touchdown from Kalama to Silva and another was lost on a fumble.
In the contest, Quinault had five turnovers — three fumbles lost and two interceptions. MMK scored three touchdowns off the Elks’ giveaways.
Kalama gave Quinault the opening lead on the first drive of the contest with a 7-yard touchdown run. Silva hauled in Kalama’s two-point conversion pass for an 8-0 lead. The conversion was the only one for the Elks on the day.
MMK quarterback James Anderson ran in his first of two touchdowns from 1-yard out, with Boley running in the two-point conversion at 8-8. On the ensuing kickoff, Quinault’s Lines found a seam on the left sideline and sprinted 81 yards for a kickoff touchdown. Silva laid a key block for Lines to allow him to find the seam for the score at 14-8.
Boley got his first touchdown of the game midway through the second quarter on the Owls’ longest drive of the game — seven plays, 90 yards. Boley shortened the drive with a 51-yard run, which ended on Silva’s sprinting tackle. Four plays later, Boley ran in from 5 yards out for a 16-14 lead.
Quinault lost the ball on a fumbled snap on its next drive, setting up MMK in the Elks’ red zone. Three plays later, Boley ran in from 5 yards out again for a 24-14 lead. The fumbled snap for the Elks was the first of three straight drives ended on turnovers.
Anderson finished the first-half scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run and a 30-14 lead.
Lake Quinault is off next week and will return to action on Oct. 12 at home against Wishkah.
Owls 42, Elks 38
MMK 8 22 12 0 — 42
LQ 14 0 18 6 — 38
First Downs: MMK 16, LQ 18
Rushing Yards: MMK 414, LQ 204
Passing Yards: MMK 0, LQ 149
Total Net Yards: MMK 414, LQ 353
Passing: MMK 0-0, LQ 8-22
Had Intercepted: MMK 0, LQ 2.
Fumbles Lost: MMK 2, LQ 3.
Penalty Yards: MMK 30, LQ 25.