Mount Baker kicker Alex Tyska had a chance to put the Mountaineers into the Class 1A state championship game with a 53-yard field goal at the end of regulation on Saturday afternoon.
He missed, and it breathed life into the Cascade Christian Cougars, who had rallied from a 28-14 deficit to tie the score in the fourth quarter at the Tacoma Dome.
When the Cougars failed to score on their first drive in overtime, Mount Baker kept the ball on the ground for four consecutive plays and advanced to the Cascade Christian 11.
Tyska took it from there as he nailed a 28-yard, game-winning field goal just inside the left upright to lift Mount Baker past Cascade Christian, 31-28, in the state semifinal matchup.
The Mountaineers (11-1) advanced to face Freeman at 1 p.m. Saturday for the state title. Cascade Christian finished 11-1.
Mount Baker led 28-14 after Izaih Schwinden scored on a 2-yard run with 11:20 left in regulation. The Cougars defense, led by linebacker Damon Davis, held the Mountaineers scoreless on their final three drives of the quarter, paving the way for a comeback.
Cougars junior running back and slot receiver Robert Terhune, who hauled in a 64-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jaelin Goldsmith in the first quarter, never thought his team would lose despite being down by 14 points on two occasions.
Mount Baker led 21-7 in the first half.
“There was never any doubt in anyone’s minds,” Terhune said. “We knew we were coming back, and we knew we were going to get it done, but we just fell short.”
Cascade Christian’s offense capitalized as Goldsmith and fullback Hunter Austin each scored rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to force overtime.
It just wasn’t enough.
Cascade Christian head coach Randy Davis said he was proud of his team for rallying in the second half.
“We pride ourselves on being a third- and fourth-quarter team,” Davis said. “Our guys showed it today. We rose up, but we just didn’t get it done at the end, and they did. We really thought we were going to do it in overtime. That’s just the way it goes.
“We had a phenomenal year,” he said. “We battled back, and our guys can hold their heads up high.”
Austin fought back tears following the final game of his high school career. The three-year starter said he will miss the camaraderie of being part of the Cougars’ football team.
“It’s pretty tough,” he said. “The coaches, and just the atmosphere of the guys on this team, there is nothing like it. You’re not going to find it anywhere else. From a senior’s perspective, you just take what you learned from being a Cougar and take it to the next level of your life.”