By Meg Wochnick
OLYMPIA – The scouting report on the Newport Knights is well-known: run, run, run.
The Knights displayed their rushing attack early and often at Ingersoll Stadium against the Olympia Bears, racing out to a four-touchdown lead in the first half on their way to a 34-14 win on Saturday night.
Newport (8-2) moves on to the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs and faces a Lake Stevens (9-1) team that downed Timberline, 51-14, on Friday.
The loss ends the Bears’ season at 6-4.
The Knights have only attempted two-dozen passes all season, and Jordan Sandberg’s one attempt was picked off by Christian Reed on the final play of the half. But by that point, Newport’s lead was 27-0 on 364 yards of first-half offense.
With the absence of Isaiah Brooks, a running back-by-committee effort spearheaded the Bears’ rushing attack with Logan Pine, Scott Gunther and Cody Torstvet. Gunther, a sophomore who recently returned from a collarbone injury, had 72 of his 98 yards in the first half. His 5-yard touchdown run with 8:42 remaining in the game pulled Olympia within 34-14.
Olympia had double the amount of first-half plays (40) than Newport (20), but three of the Knights’ four touchdowns were on runs of 39 or more yards; Paul Wells had touchdown runs of 39 and 95 yards and Thomas Day’s longest touchdown run was 67 yards.
The pair combined for 404 yards on 25 carries.
Olympia outgained – and outscored – Newport in the third quarter with a 3-yard touchdown run by Matt Anthony. Starting at its own 22, the Bears had back-to-back big-yard plays by quarterback Kaden Wilson to Ben Bishop (28 yards) and Derek Buehler (35) that set up Anthony’s touchdown run three plays later. Also in that quarter came a blocked Newport punt that gave Olympia a safety.