A strong Burlington-Edison running game, mixed with the bitter cold of early November meant an exit from the Class 2A state football playoffs for the Orting High Cardinals.
In just his third game as a full-time starter, tailback Tyler Morrison rushed for 211 yards on 23 carries to lead the Tigers’ ground attack – and to a 35-21 victory at Cardinal Stadium on Friday night.
Morrison’s 14-yard touchdown run – his second of the first half – gave Burlington-Edison the lead for good, 21-14, with two minutes remaining.
After that, the Tigers just kept pounding away at the interior of Orting’s undersized defensive line, and rolled up 395 rushing yards.
“The last couple of weeks, we have been running the ball really well,” said Burlington-Edison coach Herb Lehman, who played his college ball at Pacific Lutheran. “We have some powerful running backs and a great offensive line.”
Yet, it was never a comfortable enough lead for the Tigers. After quarterback Dalton Schwetz snuck it in from 1 yard out late in the third quarter for a 28-14 Burlington-Edison lead, the Cardinals came right back to score.
On a sweep to the right side, Jaysen Yoro broke a couple of tackles, spun and took off 42 yards for a touchdown with 9.8 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Right after that, the Cardinals forced a three-and-out, got the football back and methodically drove down to the Tigers’ 26 behind the hard running of fullback Connor Rose (16 carries, 95 yards) and Yoro (team-high 131 yards on 17 carries).
But on a second-down run, Rose was tackled for a loss by Bajema, and apparently didn’t like the extra shove he received on the turf. He tapped Bajema on the side of the helmet, and was whistled for a 15-yard personal-foul penalty. Eventually, Orting was forced to punt with eight minutes remaining.
And Burlington-Edison drove it 72 yards on seven plays, capped by Bajema’s 9-yard scoring run to give the Tigers a 35-21 lead with 5:10 to go.