The Squalicum Storm traveled south to Tumwater in a 2A State semifinal WIAA football battle Saturday, November 27, 2021. In a defensive battle, the first ranked T-Birds (10-2) prevailed 14-3 at rain drenched Tumwater District Stadium ending the fourth ranked Storm’s (8-3) quest for a birth at the Gridiron Classic championship game next week at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
Storm seniors Leyton Smithson and Djouvensky Schlenbaker shared the majority of offensive production for Squalicum, with Smithson rushing for 147 yards and Schlenbaker for 74 yards on the evening.
Defense was the theme as both teams went scoreless during the first quarter and second half. Bryson Lamb led the Storm and Tumwater saw consistent leadership from Caleb Sadlemyer, Ryan Otton, and Austin Terry.
Tumwater junior quarterback Alex Overbay went 8 for 13 for 79 yards including a 19-yard second quarter play action pass to University of Washington signee Ryan Otton that put Tumwater ahead 7-0. The T-Bird wing-T rushing attack saw consistent rushing from junior Carlos Matheney (20 carries for 95 yards) and senior Peyton Hoyt (15 carries for 44 yards, 1TD).
Squalicum had small bursts throughout the game but could not connect their bigger plays with points. Training 0-7 Smithson dazzled a 58-yard run deep into the red zone. Tumwater’s defense always seemed to respond stopping the Storm who were forced to connect for a Sebastian Smith 25-yard field goal.
Tumwater extended its lead to 14-3 after driving the entire field after the Squalicum field goal. Peyton Hoyt looked to pass as time expired but rushed for a one yard touchdown to close the half.
The T-Birds will prepare to meet second ranked Lynden at the Gridiorn Classic. Coach Bill Beattie praised his team’s defensive play. “Defensive was just lights out,” Beattie said. “That was a great football team over there and our kids just played fantastic. We are excited to be heading back to the state championship and it should be a blast.”
Squalicum coach Nick Lucey was proud of the way his team competed. “Our defensive was lights out and offensively we were close but just fell short,” he said. “We have a great senior class who loved to play and came to work every day. It is really sad to see them move on but it was a great group of kids that have passed on a spirit that will stay with our program.”
Squalicum senior quarterback Leyton Smithson will move on to play for Washington State where he will be joined by Schlenbaker as both seniors have signed with the Cougs. Smithson ended his year with 1,236 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on the year.