Skip to main content

Lincoln of Tacoma survives chaotic scene, Spanaway Lake to defend 3A PCL title

Game halted in fourth quarter after loud noise sends players, spectators scurrying away from grandstands, and No. 5 Abes awarded 38-19 victory
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

SPANAWAY, Wash. — A loud bang rang out from the southwest corner of Art Crate Field on Friday night.

"Gunshots. Gunshots!" one fan cried out from the home grandstands. Pandemonium ensued.

Fans scattered, hopping railings and falling four feet to the track’s asphalt, sprinting for the north exit. Players from Lincoln and Spanaway Lake followed suit.

In what ended up being a false alarm caused enough chaos that officials called the game early in the fourth quarter.

Even though the fifth-ranked Abes won, 38-19, over the No. 7 Sentinels, the loud noise - which was later determined to be a car backfiring - caused such a commotion, it left everyone dazed.

“We’re all a little confused,” Lincoln quarterback Gabarri Johnson said. “We (had) just seen people running, and our team took off. … 

"We’re just happy with how we played and that the score was what it is at this point. We didn’t get to finish the game but everyone’s happy."

The victory gave undefeated Lincoln another 3A PCL title.

"It was kind of a surreal moment," Abes coach Masaki Matsumoto said. "But as usual, I thought our players handled it well. They followed direction, they went where they were supposed to. … When we found out it was a car or whatever, they came back and they were ready."

While the Abes were plenty ready to put the finishing touches on the victory, they showed more than enough through the first 38 minutes to prove their class.

Gabarri Johnson was 9-of-11 passing for 236 yards and touchdown tosses of 20, 40, and 22 yards. He also ran for 59 yards and an 11-yard score.

Navarre Dixon added two touchdowns on 12 carries and 54 yards. Drake Granberry (two catches, 89 yards), Jemani Teplasy (four catches, 112 yards) and Deonjae Ervin (20-yarder) all caught touchdown passes.

"It’s just momentum," Johnson said. "We went through the regular season undefeated and that’s going to be in the back of our heads going into playoffs."

Spanaway Lake started the game out firing with touchdowns on its first two drives, the first a 16-play, 70-yard drive with three fourth-down conversions. Dempsy James, who was 6-of-10 passing for 95 yards on the night, dove in from 1 yard out to tie the game at 6-6.

The Sentinels took their only lead of the game when Zion Jones readjusted and hauled in a 38-yard touchdown pass from James.

But the Abes’ offense could not be stopped, scoring touchdowns on all six of their possessions, including a game-swinging fourth-down 20-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Ervin with just 11 seconds remaining in the half to go up 26-13.

Lincoln and Spanaway Lake await their round-of-32 matchups in Week 10, which should be announced Sunday.