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Peninsula Daily News
TACOMA — Neah Bay had the number two on its side Saturday night at the Tacoma Dome.
Lummi learned the hard way how powerful that number can be as the Red Devils beat the Blackhawks 40-30 in the semifinal round of the 1B state playoffs.
With the win, Neah Bay moves on to face Liberty Christian in the championship game.
The Red Devils (13-0) will be aiming to win their second state title in as many years.
Lummi (10-3) looked primed to jump out to another big lead over Neah Bay, as it has the previous two meetings between the teams, when quarterback Jared Tom hooked up with Austin Brockie for a 76-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the game.
Lummi failed to convert the two-point try.
Enter Josiah Greene, wearing No. 2 for the Red Devils.
On the Red Devils’ first play from scrimmage, the junior quarterback — the 2011 1B MVP — took the snap from center and dropped back to pass.
It appeared he had a receiver open across the field, but Greene instead took off running down the right side of the field.
He weaved, patiently stopped to wait for his blockers, and weaved some more before running up the sideline for an 80-yard touchdown run.
“That was a designed run, so I wasn’t really looking for the pass,” Greene said.
“I just trusted that my blockers would go and get the blocks.”
Neah Bay converted its two-point conversion on a pass from Josiah Greene to Zeke Greene to make it 8-6.
Number two again
Two-point conversions would end up having an important impact on the game.
Both teams came up empty on their next drives with Neah Bay stalling at the Lummi 1-yard line.
This put Tom in his own end zone, standing in shotgun formation ready to receive the snap, but it went over his head.
He was able to recover it, despite the swarm of Red Devils in pursuit of the fumble, but since he was in his end zone, Neah Bay was awarded a safety — for two more points.
On the next drive, Josiah Greene threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Leyton Doherty, and the Red Devils led 16-6 after one quarter.
Josiah Greene finished with 365 yards of total offense, 279 rushing and 86 passing. He ran for three touchdowns and passed for one.
“Josiah’s just an outstanding player,” Neah Bay coach Tony McCaulley said.
“Anybody can see that. And he works so hard.”
Joey Monje, one of the few seniors on the roster, also had a big game for Neah Bay, for the second time this season.
Monje scored the only touchdown of the second quarter with a 79-yard run that put the Red Devils ahead 24-6 at halftime.
Monje set up Josiah Greene’s third touchdown run — a 2-yarder in the third quarter — and Neah Bay’s final score, by picking up 60 of the 62 yards on the ground, including a 44-yard run that moved the ball to the Lummi 3-yard line.
Monje finished with 144 yards on just seven carries.
Good blocking helped him break through the line of scrimmage, after which he used his speed to outrun defenders.
“It all starts on the offensive line,” Monje said.
“Nothing can start if we don’t have an offensive lineman blocking for us. We owe a lot to them. We love our linemen, we’re thankful for them.”
After a successful two-point conversion, Neah Bay led 40-12 with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Red Devils were 4 for 5 on two-point conversions.
Lummi, meanwhile, went 0 for 5.
The Blackhawks weren’t done, though, and scored three more touchdowns to narrow the game, but 10 points was as close as they could get.
They ended up with the same amount of touchdowns in the game as Neah Bay, five, but the game was never in doubt because the Red Devils were able to maintain a two-score lead.
If Lummi had converted all of its two-point tries, it too would have reached 40 points.
“We thought the twos were going to be the difference in the game; we really did,” McCaulley said of the point after attempts.
“We worked on it extremely hard this week, so it paid off.”
Despite Lummi’s late-game comeback bid, Neah Bay’s defense was stout throughout, especially in the first half.
McCaulley said the defense appeared to wear out later in the game due to the heat in the Tacoma Dome.
On the few occasions the Blackhawks were able to get a big gain and get out in open field, the Red Devils’ safety was usually always there to prevent a touchdown.
That last line of defense wore No. 2.
“My role is to let nothing get behind me,” Josiah Greene said.
“I don’t want anything scored on me, knowing I could have done something.”
Josiah Greene prevented or delayed three touchdowns.
While he and Monje were the ones making the big plays, other Red Devils were just as crucial to the win by contributing outside the spotlight.
“The big thing about our team is everybody does their job,” McCaulley said.
“Not everybody’s going to stand out. Just like tonight, [Tyler McCaulley] did his job; We wanted him to shut down one side [on] defense, and he did that.
“So, I was happy with the performance.”
Neah Bay now turns its focus to Liberty Christian, which has been ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press 1B poll for most of the season. (Neah Bay is ranked second.)
The Patriots made the title game by beating Cusick 34-32 Saturday afternoon at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane.
“I’m ready for a repeat now,” Tyler McCaulley said.