Finally, Timberline football coach Nick Mullen saw a defensive performance he’d been waiting seven games to see.
From start to finish, the Blazers shutdown North Thurston’s running game, and behind a back-up quarterback, Timberline kept its 3A Narrows League title hopes alive with a 24-0 shutout victory Friday night at South Sound Stadium.
“We’ve been building up and building up and getting better and better each week,” Mullen said. “We had two really good running teams two weeks in a row. … I love where we’re at as a team. This is the most fun I think I’ve had as a coach emotionally for a long time.”
Timberline (7-1 overall, 5-0 3A Narrows) controls its own destiny and can clinch the program’s second league title in the past three years with a victory over Shelton next week in each teams’ regular-season finale.
Should Shelton win, North Thurston, Shelton and Timberline all would share the league title.
Friday was the first time North Thurston (6-2, 4-1) had been shutout in the Lacey Showdown series since 2008 when the Blazers won, 7-0.
Timberline senior Chris MacNeil got the start of the season in place of the injured Gabriel Gutierrez, who broke his arm in the third quarter of last week’s 40-6 win over Mount Tahoma.
MacNeil, who started four games in 2011, completed six of 16 passes for 124 yards and also had a pair of 33-yard touchdowns – one apiece to Malachi Jones and Markus Cuttino – that gave the Blazers a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
Timberline held the Rams to 81 rushing yards.