Prep football: Warriors’ season ends with playoff loss in Yelm

A light fog covered the football stadium at Yelm High School on Friday. By the end of the evening, however, it wasn’t the low clouds that weighed heavily on the Edmonds-Woodway Warriors, but a stinging loss to the Yelm Tornados.

After leading by three points early in the fourth quarter, the Tornados came back to beat the Warriors 27-17 in a Week 10 3A Football Playoff matchup.

With the defeat, E-W’s season comes to an end with an overall record of 5-5.

The Warriors had taken a 17-14 lead 44 seconds into the fourth quarter on a Steele Swinton 5-yard touchdown run. The score capped off an eight-play, 58-yard drive that had the looks of a momentum-grabbing stretch in the game for E-W.

But Yelm didn’t allow the Warriors to enjoy their only lead of the contest long. On the ensuing possession, the Tornados needed just 89 seconds to drive 70 yards in four plays, culminating in a Benjamin Hoffmann 45-yard touchdown run. The score put Yelm back out front 21-17 with 9:42 to go in the game.

The Warriors went three-and-out on their next possession and punted the ball back to the Tornadoes, who then went 68 yards in 11 plays, scoring on a Carson Amendt 6-yard TD run with 2:11 to go. 

The drive took more than six minutes off the fourth quarter clock and gave the Tornados their winning margin on 10 points as the Warriors had too little time left to mount a comeback.

E-W Coach John Gradwohl pointed to his team’s inability to sustain an offensive drive in its  next-to-last possession as the real turning point of the game.

“We had the ball — we couldn’t move it and we had to punt; credit to them,” Gradwohl said. “When you get the ball back you’ve got to take advantage of that opportunity and we weren’t able to do that.” 

The Tornados ended up running 15 offensive plays in the decisive fourth quarter compared to just eight for the Warriors.

“They fought and battled; (we) just couldn’t hold them off there at the end,” Gradwohl said.

Yelm had grabbed its first lead of the contest just 87 seconds into the game when Hoffmann reached the end zone with a four-yard TD run. Then early in the second quarter, Hoffmann connected with Austin Schaler for a 38-yard touchdown pass to push the Tornados lead to 14-3.

The Warriors also scored in the second quarter on a Read Carr 29-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Tesfatsion to close the gap to 14-10 at halftime.

Hoffmann not only was involved with three of the Yelm scoring plays on Friday, but the senior quarterback kept the Warriors off-balance throughout the game with scrambling runs when his pocket protection broke down. Hoffman had two such runs — including a 12-yard run deep into E-W territory — during the Tornados’ final scoring drive of the game.

“That kid’s a good running back, absolutely,” Gradwohl said of Hoffmann. “I thought we played it pretty well, but they just wore us down.”

“I thought they played a heck of a football game,” Gradwohl added of the Tornados. 

While the season-ending loss hurt, Gradwohl wasn’t necessarily disappointed with his squad’s performance on Friday. “I thought they fought hard,” he said. “We came back and had the lead in the fourth quarter. We did a lot of good things. You can do a lot of good things, but it doesn’t guarantee a win.”

To view all the results from the Week 10 3A Football Playoff games, click www.wiaadistrict1.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=3104&sport=1&ps_type=1

Prep Football: Edmonds-Woodway at Yelm, Nov. 8 (Week 10 3A Football Playoff game)

Edmonds-Woodway 3 7 0   7 17

Yelm Tornados 7 7 0 13 27

First quarter scoring:

10:33 — Benjamin Hoffman (Yelm) 4-yard TD run; Braden Hill PAT kick

  8:03 — Jacob Sanchez-Arias (Edmonds-Woodway) 28-yard FG

Second quarter scoring:

  9:51 — Benjamin Hoffman (Yelm) 38-yard TD pass to Austin Schaler; Braden Hill PAT kick

  4:53 — Read Carr (Edmonds-Woodway) 27-yard TD pass to Nathan Tesfatsion; Jacob Sanchez-Arias PAT kick

Fourth quarter scoring:

11:16 — Steele Swinton (Edmonds-Woodway) 5-yard TD run; Jacob Sanchez-Arias PAT kick

  9:42 — Benjamin Hoffmann (Yelm) 45-yard TD run; Braden Hill PAT kick

  2:11 — Carson Amendt (Yelm) 6-yard TD run; two-point conversion attempt failed

Records: Edmonds-Woodway 5-5 overall; Yelm 7-3 overall

Edmonds-Woodway next game: 2019 season completed

— By Doug Petrowski

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