PLAYOFF BELL RINGS

PLAYOFF BELL RINGS — Mabton Vikings players and coaches gather around for a team photo at the high school to commemorate their departure to take on the Napavine Tigers in the 2B Gridiron Classic opening round game at Centralia High School.

CENTRALIA — No. 15 Mabton (1-5 EWAC, 4-7 overall) embraced the challenge and were confident in going up against No.2 Napavine (3-1 Pacific Mountain, 9-1 overall) and last year’s state runner-up on Saturday, Nov. 16, at Centralia High School.

“Their resiliency in facing all the obstacles they went through this season and how the team never gave up. They always kept believing in each other and never stopped fighting for me, our coaching staff and most of all, for each other,” confidently stated head coach Pat Zavala after the Tigers defeated the Vikings 51-14.

Zavala pointed out how he thought his team’s passing offense matched up well against Napavine’s passing defense. He believed senior wide receivers Armando Morales and Alexis are two of the best at their position not only in league but are right there with anyone in state.

“We came out and on the first drive, we stopped them. We showed that we’re here to play. Napavine’s offense is phenomenal,” Zavala explained. We had a good game plan going in. It was totally on me. We came out and didn’t really execute and stick to our game plan.”

The Vikings were focused on airing the ball out deep to their playmakers and didn’t seize the opportunity with hitting the underneath routes to open the game, Zavala said. The offense completed a pass for a first down, but the opening drive stalled.

The Tigers proceeded to score, putting up 28 unanswered points in the first quarter and taking the wind out of Mabton’s sails.

The score wasn’t indicative of how the Vikings were able to compete with Napavine’s perennial powerhouse team.

Morales had four catches for 66-yards and Galaraza made six receptions for 138-yards and two touchdowns while sophomore quarterback Andrez Zavala threw for 240 yards on 12 passing completions in 40 attempts with one interception.

On the defensive side, senior Fernando Lemus and Angel Sandoval Velazquez made four solo tackles; Jesus Mata had two tackles and two for losses, one sack and three assists.

According to Zavala, at the end of the game about 60 Tiger players, along with their coaches, congratulated all 16 Mabton players for a hard-fought game. “They told our guys they were lucky that we got going kind of late,” Zavala conveyed.”

Patrick Shelby can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 110 or email PShelby@SunnysideSun.com

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