EUGENE – It’s often said that good teams manufacture their own good luck.
If that’s truly the case, then based on Friday night’s 48-28 victory at Churchill High School, Thurston obviously must be one heckuva good – and fortunate – football team.
Have the Colts (7-2) – who host Dallas (6-3) on Friday night in a first-round playoff game – been hanging on to a lucky horseshoe? It sure seemed that way after Noah Blair’s long pass bounced off a Churchill defender and into the arms of Thurston’s Lombel Doreen for a 52-yard gain. Three plays later, Blair found tight end Luke Newell in the left corner of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown with only 49.7 seconds left in the second quarter, giving the Colts a 28-14 halftime lead.
It was one of the highlight plays of the high school season – for Thurston or any other school, for that matter.
“It was beautiful. A great catch. Absolutely,” Thurston coach Justin Starck said.
In the third quarter, facing a 4th-and-5, Blair threw a pass toward the right sideline that initially appeared to be intercepted. But as the Churchill defender tried to turn upfield, the ball slipped out of his hands and into the awaiting arms of Walker Bonar, who converted the first down at the Lancers’ 15-yard line.Two plays later, Blair and Bonar connected again, this time for a 15-yard score that made it 34-20 with 1:14 remaining in the third.
Matthew Newell and Ethan Burkhead made “house calls” for Thurston as the Colts took a commanding 48-20 lead early in the fourth quarter. But Starck was less than thrilled with his team’s overall performance in its regular-season finale.
“We lacked a little motivation this week and it showed, we didn’t have a great week of practice,” Starck said. “The league championship was wrapped up, we were in the mud, and we had a bad week, and they played well against us. And that’s on us as coaches; we’ll own that as a group.
“Never fault the effort. We were very undisciplined, we made some uncharacteristic mistakes at a lot of different positions, so that was very frustrating, but we’ll get better. … Our kids have a lot of pride.”