For the season’s first three games, Rainier’s defense took center stage, posting a trio of shutouts.
Friday was offense’s time to shine.
Zachary Lofgren hit Michael Green on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 6 seconds remaining, and Ian Russell ran in the 2-point conversion to give undefeated Rainier a wild 41-40 victory over visiting Morton-White Pass in a 2B Central League game.
“It was a mistake-filled game on both sides,” Mountaineers coach Terry Shaw said, “but the kids sucked it up and found a way to win in the end.”
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Rainier (4-0) appeared headed for its first loss after turning the ball over for a sixth time late in the fourth quarter while trailing 34-33.
MWP scored on the very next play — but failed on its 2-point conversion — to take a 40-33 lead with 1:06 remaining.
The Mountaineers needed just 60 seconds to pull out the victory.
“When they scored we said that was the best thing that could have happened to us,” Shaw said. “It gave us a chance.”
Russell, who scored three times, ripped off a 40-yard run to place his squad in the red zone.
Three plays later, Lofgren found Green in the corner of the end zone, setting up the decisive 2-point conversion.
“We probably could have gone for one,” Shaw said, “but we’re not playing to tie.”
Rainier overcame three first-half turnovers to take a 19-18 lead into the intermission. An Easton Holmes PAT was the difference at the break as the Timberwolves were unsuccessful on all three of their conversions.
The Mountaineers entered the contest having outscored their first three opponents a combined 146-0.
MWP, however, needed just 9 minutes to put an end to Rainier’s shutout streak, getting a 15-yard TD run from Dylan Pelletier.
It was the first time the Mountaineers had trailed all season and it lasted all of 18 seconds. Russell found the equalizer on the very next play, racing 60 yards for a score.
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Rainier faced their second deficit 3 minutes into the second quarter after the Timberwolves punched it in from 1 yard out.
Again, the lead lasted a mere 18 seconds. This time is was Lofgren with the long touchdown run, going 46 yards for the score. Holmes’ kick gave the Mountaineers their first lead of the game at 13-12.
Russell added his second touchdown run late in the second quarter before MWP closed out the first half on a 59-yard TD pass from Kaleb Rashoff to Pelletier.
Lofgren scored on a 6-yard run then punched in the 2-point conversion to reclaim the lead for the Mountaineers at 27-26 with 10 seconds left in the third quarter.
Rainier will travel to Onalaska next as it eyes its second consecutive 5-0 start. The Mountaineers won 22-20 over the Loggers last season.
Morton-White Pass 6 12 8 14 - 40
Rainier 6 13 8 14 - 41
MWP-Dylan Pelletier 15 run (run failed)
R-Ian Russell 60 run (kick failed)
MWP-Gavyn Higdon 1 run (run failed)
R-Zachary Lofgren 46 run (Easton Holmes kick)
R-Russell 1 run (run failed)
MWP-Pelletier 59 pass from Kaleb Rashoff (pass failed)
MWP-Higdon 1 run (Rashoff run)
R-Lofgren 6 run (Lofgren run)
MWP-Jesse Urban 36 pass from Rashoff (Higdon run)
R-Russell 39 yards (run failed)
MWP-Pelletier 15 run (run failed)
R-Michael Green 10 pass from Lofgren (Russell run)