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Late Smolko FG lifts Bethel in SPSL South barn-burner over Spanaway Lake

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on Aug. 31, 2012 at 10:45 pm with No Comments »
August 31, 2012 10:45 pm

Who said high-action rivalry football games have to wait until November to play out?

The regular season in Spanaway kicked off with a doozy of a season opener Friday night – and it all came down to the final play.

Ryan Smolko, the single-season South Puget Sound League record-holder in scoring, kicked a 24-yard field goal with one second remaining, lifting Bethel to a 38-35 victory over Spanaway Lake at Art Crate Field.

The two teams combined for 552 rushing yards – with the Sentinels netting 313. But it was Bethel that went 55 yards in the final 2 minutes, 54 seconds to set up Smolko’s game-winner.

“I am very proud of them,” Bethel coach Gavin Kralik said about his offensive players on that final drive. “And no question (Smolko) is a stud. He never missed an extra point last year (54-for-54) … and that field goal was basically an extra point from the hash.”

Spanaway Lake was seeking its first win over the Braves since 2005, led much of the first half – and ended up tying the score at 35-35 on quarterback Joe Martin’s 2-yard touchdown scamper with 3:06 remaining.

But the Sentinels aided Bethel’s final drive by committing a couple of penalties. And earlier in the game, special teams also swung in the Braves’ favor – they returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score, and a punt 71 yards for a TD.

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