If two touchdowns weren’t enough, Tucker Wetmore needed to make one more play to make sure Kalama High School would capture its first state football championship since 1998.
Wetmore came through. His late interception helped seal his team’s 28-27 victory over Liberty of Spangle, 28-27, in the 2B championship game Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
“I saw (James Heer) look downfield a little bit so I cheated off the ball a little bit more than I usually did and I ended up backpedaling behind him,” Wetmore said. “Then I jumped up and grabbed the ball over him ... and it was nice to seal off the game with that.”
Wetmore had a big game, scoring twice and recording 97 receiving yards to go with his game-clinching interception for the Chinooks.
“I just wanted to win, I didn’t care how well I did,” Wetmore said. “I said it earlier in the week, I didn’t really care how well I did I just wanted a ring so I’m glad we’re here.”
The Chinooks built a 14-0 first-quarter lead. They scored on their first drive with quarterback Alex Dyer hitting Jacob Herz from 11 yards out for the touchdown. Herz then connected with Wetmore from 30 yards out on the second TD.
But Liberty would rally behind Heer, who finished with 106 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
“That big 33, he can run the ball,” Kalama coach Sean McDonald said of Heer. “We put six men down on the line and then we had two more in the box; we stacked eight in the box and (fortunately) it worked.”
Liberty led, 27-21, with 5:37 to play on Heer’s 3-yard TD run and two-point conversion.
But Kalama answered, eventually punching it into the end zone when Elijah Haynes took a handoff up the middle and bounced it to the outside for a 16-yard TD run with 2:31 to play, giving Kalama a 28-27 lead.
Then Wetmore’s game-sealing interception with 1:54 to play.
“In the end, we came out on top and that’s all that matters,” Kalama coach Sean McDonald said. “In the end of the season, these kids are so ... resilient. [They] played in two overtime games and came out on top. Just to be 14-0, just to play through adversity at all times and come out on top at the end of the season in the state championship is huge.”
It wasn’t easy. But stopping the Lancers in the red zone and on a two-point conversion run by Heer on Liberty’s first touchdown provided the difference.
“Probably holding them in the red zone (helped) like quite a bit,” Wetmore said. “We did pretty good in the red zone so that was a big part.”
Chase Hutchinson: 253-597-8680