Yelm had no answer for Gig Harbor's read-option, as quarterback Conor Scanlan and running back Sterling Brown had their way with the Tornados' defense. Brown racked up 174 yards on 13 carries, with a pair of touchdowns, and Scanlan rushed for 125 yards on eight carries, with three touchdowns on the ground, including an 80 yard touchdown on a read-option keeper where he ran virtually untouched the entire length of the field. Scanlan made all the right reads on Friday night.
“We worked on it all season and we worked on it in pre-season,” Scanlan said. “As the season goes on, we just get better at executing it. We've been saying it for the past few games here, but it's all our offensive line, they work so hard and they execute so well, and that's really what causes the success of our read.”
Head coach Aaron Chantler said the success of the read-option is the result of hard work.
“He (Scanlan) has been playing well,” Chantler said. “Conor's been working hard, Stewie's been running hard, so tonight it came together.”
The Tides appeared poised for a first half shutout when Yelm's Aaron Rivera ran 80 yards for a touchdown, putting the Tornados down 49-7 going into the half. Tides' linebacker Brett Villa said the touchdown run was a mixup.
“We got a little confused on our responsibilities,” Villa said. “We had a mixup, we didn't get in the right formation, and they broke through a hole in our defense.”
Regardless, the Tides defense has played well lately, shutting down the Yelm offense and stifling a talented Olympia squad last week, and appear to have come a long way since the opener at O'Dea.
“Up front, we're reading our keys a lot better,” Villa said. “The coaches are putting a lot of time, seeing what happened early on in the season, and they're doing a great job correcting us.”
Chantler said he's been pleased with the defense, but it isn't perfect.
“The defense has played well for a few weeks, they're working hard in practice,” Chantler said. “We've still got things to get better at, we'll take care of that for Bellarmine.”
The Tides will play Bellarmine next week for the league championship at Roy Anderson Field. The Lions fell to Olympia on Friday. Chantler said the Tides will need a good week of practice to defeat Bellarmine.
“We'll need to have a good week of practice and play hard,” Chantler said.
Defensively, the Tides will look to continue playing with physicality.
“We're just going to keep having to play how we did against Olympia and Central,” Villa said. “We have to play physical up front, we have to stuff our wholes, read our keys, and we'll be fine.”
Reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.