TUMWATER—For much of Saturday night, Woodland and Tumwater couldn’t stop one another.
Both teams boasted running games that matched each other and, as a result, the district playoff game between top-10 teams, like a see-saw, went back-and-forth.
But after an injury to Woodland’s do-it-all quarterback, a subsequent 14-point point swing, the Beavers saw their season end in a 58-38 loss at Tumwater High School.
“We figured if we hovered around and got the ball last we’d have a chance to pull it off, but we just ran out of gas at the wrong time,” Woodward said. “Couldn’t get the stop when we need it, and it hurt.”
Tyler Flanagan returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for touchdown, and had 270 all purpose yards and all four of the Beavers’ touchdowns in the first half. Woodland led Tumwater 26-21 at the midway point.
Tyler Flanagan’s halftime line:
rushing: 18 carries, 178 yards, 3 TD
passing 3-6, 42 yards
1 kick return TD, 92 yards https://t.co/EvpOPLKQwb
— Andy Buhler (@AndyBuhler) November 4, 2018
But early in the third quarter, Flanagan suffered a sprained ankle, stymieing his ability to run.
“Got rolled up on, high ankle (sprain),” Flanagan. “I was staying int he game no matter what. Even if I couldn’t walk I was going to be out there.”
So the Beavers went to the air.
“We were limited when he hurt his ankle,” Woodland coach Mike Woodward said. “We were forced to throw. It was tough, shortened up our game plan. But we threw the ball well.”
Still, Flanagan finished with 256 yards in the air, 224 of them coming in the second half.
Tumwater regained the lead at 28-26 in the third quarter when Rico Spiegner ran in from 18 yards. On the next drive, the Beavers were pinned near their own end zone facing third and 17, when Flanagan rolled right to pass and, facing pressure, heaved the ball downfield to sophomore Isaiah Flanagan (Tyler’s cousin), who hauled it in for a 93-yard touchdown.
Touchdown, Woodland. On 3rd and 17, Isaiah Flanagan 93 yards from Tyler Flanagan. Conversion fails.
Woodland 32, Tumwater 28 | 3:05 3Q pic.twitter.com/lLc6BFEOiF
— Andy Buhler (@AndyBuhler) November 4, 2018
“The DB stopped and stared at me, so I just threw it up,” Flanagan said. “Little cousin’s fast enough to score, I guess.”
That gave Woodland a 32-28 lead, which would be its last of the night.
The Thunderbirds saw a 14-point swing when they recovered fumble when Woodland had the ball on their one yard line. One play later, Dylan Loftis broke loose for a 62-yard run and Tumwater scored a few plays later to push its lead to 10.
“That was a big punch in the gut for us,” Tyler Flanagan said.
Loftis finished with 198 yards and three touchdowns, Hunter Baker had 116 yards and two touchdowns and then the T-Birds saw scoring contributions from two more rushers — Rico Spiegler and Turner Allen — in the second half.
The T-Birds would only pile on from there, sacking an immobile Tyler Flanagan multiple times late in the game.
“Toward the end they started sending one more than we had, (Tyler) hobbling around on one leg just couldn’t break free,” Woodward said.
The loss ended the Beavers’ season just short of the state playoffs. It’s a Woodland team Woodward dubbed among the best he’s coached in 20 years. Tyler Flanagan, unequivocally, is the best player he’s ever coached, Woodward said.
“He’s absolutely phenomenal,” Woodward said. “Unfortunately when a player like that gets dinged, it can really limit you.”
TUMWATER 58, WOODLAND 38
Woodland 6 20 6 6 — 38
Tumwater 14 7 14 23 — 58
W—Tyler Flanagan 92 kick return (kick failed)
T—Dylan Loftis 10 run (Nathan Vani kick)
T—Hunter Baker 24 run (Vani kick)
W—Flanagan 5 run (conversion good)
T—Zane Murphy 1 run (Vani kick)
W—Flanagan 32 run (kick blocked)
W—Flanagan 5 run (conversion failed)
T—Rico Spiegner 18 run (Vani kick)
W—Isaiah Flanagan 93 pass from Tyler Flanagan (conversion failed)
T—Turner Allen 18 run (Vani kick)
T—Baker 6 run (Vani kick)
W—Reid Hope 9 run (conversion failed)
T—Loftis 62 run (Vani kick)
T—Loftis 14 run (Vani kick)
RUSHING — Woodland: Tyler Flanagan 24-144, Reid Hope 6-20, Kenyon Guy 1-2, Wyatt Wooden 3-4. Tumwater: Dylan Loftis 24-198, Hunter Baker 21-116, Zane Murphy 4-0, Mason Burbidge 2-21, Cody Whalen 6-5, Rico Spiegner 4-47, Turner Allen 3-29.
PASSING — Woodland: Tyler Flanagan 12-23-2-256. Tumwater: Cody Whalen 4-7-0-49.
RECEIVING — Woodland: Wyatt Wooden 3-55, Reid Hope 2-34, Isaiah Flanagan 1-93, Christian Yager 5-62, Kenyon Guy 1-12. Tumwater: Zane Murphy 1-31, Scott Duboiski 2-13, Rico Spiegner 1-5.