Marshall Coleman was intent on making up for his mistakes.
He had just thrown a pick-six that tied the Kelso Hilanders and the Spanaway Lake Sentinels at 14 midway through the third quarter of a 3A crossover game, and he wanted the ball.
On Kelso’s very next play from scrimmage, he raced 55 yards right up the middle of the field, coming four yards short of a score, setting up the go-ahead touchdown by Coleman himself, and Kelso pulled away for a 33-20 win. It was the first playoff win on turf at Schroeder Field, the first home playoff win for Kelso in decades, and a nice punctuation for Kirc Roland’s 400th Kelso football game in the radio booth.
“Huge. Huge,” Kelso coach Steve Amrine said. “That’s a 3A team from Tacoma. They have some guys, now. They have some guys. that’s a good football team. Credit to our guys. The playoffs are about punching back and fighting. And we kept going and going and going and believing.”
That run for Coleman was exactly what Kelso needed.
It needed a spark. It needed something positive. It needed to rip the momentum away for a Spanaway Lake team that would not go gentle into that good night.
And it was right on time.
After Kelso grabbed a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and rode it to halftime, the Sentinels landed a pair of hard punches.
Jonathon Shannon-Cordova caught a little inside screen pass from James Dempsey on the third play of the third quarter and went right up the middle as well, veering off to the corner of the end zone once he was well into the secondary.
He outran all of the Kelso defense for a 51-yard touchdown, seemingly cutting the Hilander lead in half. But Kelso caught a break, one of many Friday night, when Daniel Amaral’s point-after doinked off the right upright, leaving Kelso’s lead at eight at 14-6.
That was of just two plays that went for longer than 20 yards against the Scotties all night.
“Everybody on defense stepped up,” Coleman said. “Everybody had a great day. Linemen, linebackers (secondary) all played great.”
Then Coleman threw his first of two interceptions, forcing a corner route to Dillon Davis that Corry Byrd snagged at the Kelso 49.
The Kelso defense held, forcing Spanaway Lake into a three-and-out, but the punt bounced all the way to the Kelso 15, giving the Hilanders a long field with an excited Sentinel defense waiting.
Coleman then threw his second pick. He was flushed to his left and threw one off-balance that Byrd caught with a running start and cruised into the end zone. Braden Robinson then hit Deonte Hayes on the two-point conversion, and suddenly the game was tied.
“I just need to be smarter on offense,” Coleman said. “I threw those two picks that were costly, but we came through and got the win.”
“He’s a senior. He’s been through it,” Amrine added. “He’s won 16 games here now. In two years. That’s pretty good.”
But Coleman didn’t pout. He wasn’t angry about his mistakes. He wasn’t already worried about letting this teammates down.
He knew there was time left. And he took advantage.
“I was pretty pissed off,” Coleman said.
You have free articles remaining.
Coleman finished just 4-of-8 for 41 yards with a touchdown and the two interceptions, but that touchdown was a huge play and also an impressive one.
After a nice seven-play drive to open the evening, Kelso faced a third-and-19 from the Spanaway Lake 22 and really wanted the six points.
Coleman faked a run right and rolled back left and saw that Jaden Kay was wide-open heading to the corner. He lofted an accurate pass, but the Sentinel secondary converged quickly, making an initially open throw one into triple coverage that Kay somehow came down with in the end zone for touchdown.
“I was pretty worried,” Coleman said. “He looked wide-open at first, and I just threw it, and he made a great catch.”
Kelso forced a punt after a seven-play Spanaway Lake drive, then doubled the lead when Josh Webb, who rushed for 212 yards and two touchdowns, caught a toss, put a move on a defender, broke a tackle, then was off to the races.
It was a 65-yard touchdown that put Kelso ahead 14-0 with 1:41 to go in the first quarter and also made it very clear the Sentinels would have a tough road forward.
And so it went.
Spanaway Lake tied it in the third quarter; then Coleman broke off his run and later scored on a 4-yard plunge, but Mason Smith’s kick was quite low and never made it over the line of scrimmage. Kelso led 20-14 with 5:00 even.
On the ensuing Spanaway Lake drive, the Sentinels picked up 12 yards on third-and-15 when Dempsey found Taeshawn Cummings on a little tunnel screen, setting up a fourth-and-3 from the 50. Shannon-Cordova got the call and was stonewalled a yard short.
The officials measured, then pointed Kelso’s way.
A play later, Webb caught another toss, put another filthy move on a would-be Sentinel tackler and raced 40 yards for a huge gain.
Kelso caught one of those breaks, though, when Webb fumbled after a powerful 8 yard run, and Cummings had the first crack at it, but it leaked away from him and Kay pounced on it, saving the possession and momentum.
Five plays later, Coleman snuck in a touchdown and Kelso led 26-14, having all the points it needed.
Kelso added its last touchdown in the fourth quarter when Webb skipped in from 6 yards out; then Huey Kie ran back the ensuing squibbed kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown.
It mattered little. Kelso ran the clock out the following drive and took home its semi-historic playoff win.
Kelso knows not who it will play in the first round of the state playoffs. The seeding committee will meet on Sunday and hammer all that out.
The Hilanders care little.
All that matters to them is they get another opponent, another game, another chance to make a mark.
“I don’t know (what will happen),” Coleman said. “We’ll see. We’re excited. I guess you’ll see next week.”