OLYMPIA — Sterling Brown rushed for 310 yards on 43 carries and a pair of touchdowns as the Tides (6-1 overall, 5-0 Narrows 4A) ruined Olympia's homecoming night, coming out on top with a 27-21 win at Ingersoll Stadium. Head coach Aaron Chantler called Brown “Beast-Mode” after the game, a fitting title after his performance.
“He's a stud,” Chantler said. “I told him before the game, I said, 'Stewie, you've gotta lead us there tonight,' and he said, 'I've got it coach.' We're going to pound him, and he knows it, and that was a heck of a game, I can't ask anything more. He came to me after the second score and said, 'Coach, I got you tonight.' And I knew he would.”
Brown deflected the credit to the big boys up front, the offensive line, who opened huge holes for him the entire game.
“It all starts with my o-line,” Brown said. “I couldn't do anything without them. I just take the ball, hold it tight, and run hard.”
Chantler also praised the offensive line's effort.
“I mean my goodness, our whole o-line was absolutely phenomenal tonight,” Chantler said. “Even when Owen (Taylor, who suffered an injury in the third quarter) went down for a little bit on the sidelines, everybody just steps in and the o-line, I can't even talk about how well they played tonight.”
The Tides went up 14-0 in the first quarter on Sterling Brown and Conor Scanlan touchdown runs. Gig Harbor was knocking at the door again in the second quarter when Brown fumbled the ball at the Olympia 5 yard line. Olympia capitalized on the turnover with a 61 yard touchdown pass to Braden Neal, who broke several tackles on his way to the endzone.
“I had one fumble, but I thought I overcame that well,” Brown said.
He did indeed. Brown tallied 237 yards and one touchdown in the first half alone, and kept chipping away at the Bears' defense all night.
Chantler made a quarterback change late in the third quarter, bringing in backup Davis Alexander, and it paid off. After the Bears had clawed back to tie the game, Alexander found the endzone on a quarterback keeper late in the third quarter, putting the Tides ahead 21-14. In the fourth quarter, Brown found the endzone to put the Tides ahead 27-14, and the lead proved too large for the Bears to come back.
The Tides' defense personified the “bend, don't break” philosophy, giving up 21 points in the game, but stepping up in critical moments. The defense turned the Bears away twice on fourth down opportunities deep in their own territory, including once in the fourth quarter.
Chantler, who finished 3-7 in his first year, took a moment to reflect on this year's 6-1 start.
“It's a big turnaround,” Chantler said. “We had goals when the season started, we wanted a chance at a league championship week nine. Well, we just got it. We're pretty excited right now.”
The Tides finish the regular season with back-to-back home games against Yelm, and what will be a showdown in the last week against the Bellarmine Lions.
Reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.