Part 7: Tumwater Winning Football; The Sid Otton Legacy “The Streak”

paulb

10/20/16

This was supposed to be the 7th of 8 parts but it’s impossible so I will be adding  a part-9. Even with adding another part we will be flying through the years to get to 2015 with this part focused on 1990 and 1991. Part 8 will be the rest of the 1990’s with a focus on the 1993 State Championship and then the Millennials to wrap up our series.

I want to step back and explain the purpose of this series as you can tell we still have 3 Championship seasons and a ton of winning seasons in between. First and foremost I wanted this to be about Coach Otton and how he got to this point. The history of the journey has been filled with ups and downs, incredible performances at critical times culminating in some historic decisions Coach Otton and this coaching staff made.

After 1989 cemented the decisions between 1986 and 87 the T-Bird machine was at full tilt. Sure there were and still are some tweaks and changes made within the system that has been in place since 1987 but only a splitting of talent when Black Hills High School opened would the T-Birds take any step backward. It would be during this time that Tumwater would post the only 2 losing season’s since 1979.

I also wanted to write this with the hope that especially parents, fans and administrators understand this is not professional sports, this is not (for the most part) college sports where you get to hand pick your players. This is High School and it takes time to create and establish your program. This is hard evidence that if you believe you have chosen the right person for the job then you need to rally behind them and support your program. Will your coach make play calls they regret and leave you scratching your head? Yes, but this happens at all levels. Are we still not scratching our heads over the Seahawks choice to throw the ball instead of giving it to Beastmode? Did we want Pete Carroll fired for the one call? Of course not. If you are hellbent on getting your coach fired there is a great question to ask yourself, who in the world do you think you’re gonna get?

So with that in the 1990’s there were 3 significant season’s, 1990 a State Championship, 1993 the 4th State Championship and then in 1997 the opening of Black Hills High School. I hope the years that I simply don’t have time to cover will understand why I have written this series the way I have, if I was writing a book there would be 49 chapters with the final chapter still to be written.

1990

The 1990 season was an incredible run and much of the success comes directly from 1989. Losing 27 seniors would normally wipe a team out with the expected large number of starters and many times that impacts the numbers of the classes coming up but not now at Tumwater. Each class rolling through attracts huge numbers and in 1989 the back-ups played nearly as much as the starters plus all the extra time they get with the post-season games, there would not be much drop off with this 1990. You will see the scores are not quite as dominating but more times than not each game was well in hand and another historic undefeated season was not a hope but an expectation.

Here is a total re-cap of the 1990 season:

Regular Seasontum-90-5-001

Tumwater 59, Elma 8

How would the T-Birds rebound from a perfect 1989 season where they trounced every single opponent and graduated 27 seniors? The answer, more of the same. Sophomore Chris Doelman led the T-Birds at QB and of course the return of Senior RB Bryan Lowe and Jr RB Kevin Clark as they combined for 205 yards and 4 TD’s. Barrett Burbidge also got into the act with 1 run for 70 yards and a score while on defense linebacker Jeff Johnson had an INT for a TD.

Tumwater 42, WF West 15

Doelman completed 5 of 6 for 77 yards for a TD and a 2 point conversion. Kevin Clark rolled over the Bearcats with 146 yards and 2 TD’s while Lowe held up his end of the bargain as well with 95 yards on 17 carries for 2 scores. Clark had a 30 yard run and Burbidge the 22-yard TD catch. Tumwater now 2-0 had extended their winning streak to 15 straight games.

Tumwater 30, Olympia 8

The thought was the Olympia Bears were ready for a bounce back season and although the T-Birds were favored this would be a tough game. GATA took those comments as a challenge and through 3 quarters shut out the Bears holding Olympia to just 17 1st half yards and 1 first down. The Bears would do a little better in the 2nd half but finished with just 7 1st downs and 86 total yards. The T-Bird defense would also score a safety late in the game.

Meanwhile the offense was cranked to the max with Lowe leading the massive ground game with 164 of the 351 total yards rushing and 3 of the 4 TD’s. Doelman finished with 123 yards thru the air completing 6 of 13.

Tumwater 47, Centralia 12tum-90-7-001

This was to be the next true test for the T-Birds as the Centralia Tigers rolled in with a 3-0 record. Tumwater would be challenged was the common thought from the prognosticators but should find a way to hold off the Tigers. Hmmm…..47-0 before Centralia would sniff the endzone is what it turned out to be. Lowe dashed 71-yards for a TD, his 53-yard run to the 1 before Kevin Clark plowed in for the score would be how it began. Doelman then hit Jason Hicks on a 46-yard strike and by halftime it was 28-0. How about a quick fun fact! In the 1st half the Tigers ran a total of 38 plays while the T-Birds ran 13 yet built a 28-0 lead. GATA was a little bend but don’t break as they gave up 251 total yards but again the Centralia TD’s were late and against the defensive back-ups. T-Birds now 4-0 and the winning streak at 17.

Tumwater 41, Capital 13

The Cougars actually took a 6-0 lead in this one but that wouldn’t last long. Capital hit a double reverse flea-flicker to surprise the T-Birds out of the gate but after that it was all Tumwater. Doelman would hit Burbidge on a 28-yard TD pass and Tumwater would lead after 1, 7-6. The Birds then fired off 20 straight with the other Clark, Keith getting into the action with a 60-yard TD run. Kevin Clark then scored from the 14 following a muffed punt and Doelman would hit Tight End Ryan Reynolds for a 25-yard scoring strike just before the break to make it 27-6. Burbidge and Lowe would switch places seemingly with Burbidge running in a 30-yard TD and Lowe catching and scoring on a pass from Doelman, his 3rd of the game.

Tumwater 37, White River 19

The T-Birds were tested by a feisty Hornet squad and led only 17-13 at the break. Lowe and Clark did ring up 230 yards on the ground but it was Keith Clark who stepped up with a 20-yard touchdown run to make it 17-7 and then picked off the Hornets in the 2nd half and returned it 34 yards for a TD. Tumwater would improve to 6-0 and the winning streak was at 19.

Tumwater 24, Aberdeen 14

In these days there were no crossover games and the sharing of state berths so the BHL only had 1 entry setting up a huge game with the Aberdeen Bobcats. Aberdeen was 5-1 coming into this showdown and it would end up being the toughest game of the season including the play-offs.

It was a slugfest with the Bobcats and Aberdeen actually slugged their way to the lead after 2 quarters. The last time Tumwater trailed at halftime was in 1988 but here the spunky Bobcats were up 7-3. In the 2nd half Otton went to his Sr running back and offensive line saying this is how we are going to turn this around and Bryan Lowe would tote the rock 26 times for 152 yards scoring 2 touchdowns. Lowe would carry the ball 6 straight times to begin the 3rd quarter covering 57-yards for the TD.

The running backs, QB and receivers have been getting a lot of credit and the O-line gets just that as credit, the O-line. This is the group that won this game. They took over the line of scrimmage in the 2nd half and created opportunities for the RB’s to do their thing. The line of Pat Abrahamson, Marshall Lloyd, Jamie Hicks, Jeff Terry, Eric Mejia and Jeff Coleman were continuing the domination that 1989 set in place. Their 2nd half effort was epic and kept the T-Birds perfect now 7-0 and the streak at 20.

Tumwater 67, Hoquiam 6tum-90-12-001

Tumwater set the school scoring record in this runaway snapping the 62 points put up against Elma back in 1980. Kevin Clark, Bryan Lowe and Barrett Burbidge combined for nearly 200 yards on the ground and 4 TD’s while Doelman continued to be extremely effective with the limited passing game throwing for 108 yards and a TD. GATA held the Grizzlies to 13 1st half yards and no 1st downs.

Tumwater 27, Shelton 4

The T-Birds finished off the season with this odd score of giving up 2 safeties. This was also an interesting game for the Clark brothers who grew up in Shelton and had played with many of the players on the Highclimbers team until they moved to Tumwater prior to their sophomore year.

Keith Clark quickly douses any rumblings this was a move by over motivated parents saying his Dad had actually gotten a new job in Tacoma. Keith says he and his brother Kevin did not want to go to Tacoma. He said it was bad enough to have to leave friends in Shelton especially after their older brothers had quite a legacy as Highclimbers including being part of the Shelton 1985 State Championship team.

Keith says staying in the Olympia area was a compromise with their parents and in fact they almost went to Olympia. Keith says his parents actually had made an offer on a home that was accepted in the Olympia school district and they were set to be Bears when the deal fell through at the last second and they scrambled to find a home and it was in Tumwater.

Back to this game, the Clark brothers may have known most of the players across the line of scrimmage but that didn’t stop them from toning down their effort. Keith got it started with a 70-yard punt return followed by Kevin Clark’s burst around the right end for 53-yards and it was 14-0 T-Birds on just 5 offensive plays.

The Climbers did move the ball down to the Tumwater 3 but GATA goal line held and they turned it over on downs. Kevin Clark would run a dive but Shelton guessed right with a run blitz and tackled him in the endzone for a safety and a 14-2 score at the half.

In the 2nd half Bryan Lowe got in the act as he scored twice and topped 63 yards to run his season total to 1,003 and became the 1st T-Bird to rush for 1,000 yards during the regular season. The final points were another safety of a Tumwater back-up player with less than a minute to play. The win would push Tumwater’s record to 9-0, League Champs for the 5th straight season and another trip to the State Play-offs.

Play-Offs

Tumwater 40, Prairie 7tum-90-13-001

The T-Birds had no problem in turning away the Prairie Falcons who had upset Battle Ground to get into the play-offs. Kevin Clark, Keith Clark, Barrett Burbidge and Bryan Lowe all scored as the O-line had their way with the Falcon from 7 racking up 248 yards on the ground. Chris Doelman also found TE Ryan Reynolds on a 17-yard connection as Doelman again was under the radar completing 7 of 9 for 138 and a TD.

The T-Bird defense had been downright stingy since their close call against Aberdeen and they continued that trend. Jason and Dan Hicks leading the way from their LB positions, Kris Haskins had been a beast up front all season and Keith Clark was an all-around threat but shined from his safety position. Tumwater would improve to 10-0 with the winning streak now at 23.

 

Tumwater 54, Renton 13

The Indians were a team of big plays and this was going to be a test for GATA. This game was billed as speed vs power with Renton possessing a ton a fast kids. What they found was indeed a powerful T-Bird team but what they didn’t count on was Tumwater’s speed. This game was a shellacking from the start, Coach Otton told Olympian reporter Darrell Root, “That’s as relentless as we’ve been in a long time”.

Kevin Clark and Lowe combined for 300 with Clark setting a new single game rushing record of 202. Clark would tally 4 TD’s and Lowe had 1 while Burbidge and Jason Hicks would haul in 2 scoring passes from Doelman and the 48-7 lead at halftime was all that needed to be said about this match-up. 11-0 and 24 in a row were chalked up pretty quickly.

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Tumwater 41, Bremerton 20

The final two steps to the big trophy would not be as easy as the year prior and the first stop was back to the Tacoma Dome against Bremerton. The defense would set up Tumwater’s offense with several opportunities in the first half collecting 4 turnovers. Jeff Johnson returned one 25 yards to give Tumwater a 14-0 lead.

Offensively it was another huge night for Kevin Clark as his hot streak continued setting yet another school record for the single game rushing record going for 225 yards. Chris Doelman would toss another pair of TD’s to Jason Hicks and Burbidge on 3 completions.

Bremerton did try to rally in the 2nd half and made some big plays but dug themselves to big a hole.

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KingBowl

Tumwater 32, Mt Rainier 17tum-90-24-001

Tumwater came into this Title game as the clear favorite. The Rams were not expected to be here when they traveled east and beat Cheney preventing a back-to-back Tumwater vs Cheney Title tilt.

The Rams came out and were ready to pull off the upset when they hit a 44-yard TD pass taking a 7-0 lead. The offense answered with a 10-yard run by Kevin Clark but the PAT failed and the Rams led 7-6. Mt Rainier would boot a 29-yard field goal to make it 10-6 and that’s how they would stay heading to halftime.

Kevin Clark and the offensive line would kick it into gear after a healthy reminder from Coach Otton at halftime to focus and get back to basics. Just like in the Aberdeen game where they came out and re-took control of the line. Chris Doelman would get it going with a 22 yard pass to Barrett Burbidge to take a 13-10 lead.

The Rams would not flinch and answered with a 19-yard pass and catch and now the Rams had a lead in the 2nd half 17-13.  Tumwater answered led by a big kick-off return from Lowe setting up Doelman’s 2nd TD pass again finding Burbidge for a 46-yard strike, the extra point was no good but Tumwater led 19-17.

Tumwater’s defense finally got on-track and with Keith Clark and Jeff Johnson both picking off Rams passes and nearly getting another 2. The front was also getting pressure on the Rams QB who had had time in the 1st half as they tallied up 183 passing yards most of those in the 1st half. Jason Hicks came up with a particularly important sack and that set the tone for the rest of the game.

Kevin Clark would catch a 3rd Doelman TD pass and add another score to seal the win and the Tumwater T-Birds would become the 1st 2A or 3A team to win back-to-back State Titles and the 1st 2A or 3A team to win 3 Championships. The Winning streak also remained alive and was up to 26.

**Side Note, remember at this time there was not a 4A classification, only 3A, 2A, 1A and B classifications.

 

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Final thoughts and facts on 1990

Tumwater’s defense in 1990, boy this is tough to say with their results, but this is the issue with coming next after such an unbelievable season in 1989, but some would say it was not as good. Stats will bear that out. But the goal is to win, 1st and foremost and with that this defense, in my mind, would be considered downright filthy and at times they were truly devastating.

There were other times they would give up yardage but limit the scoring. The flip side was the offense was even better at the Wing-T, there’s even a school of thought that this offense was better than 1989’s, I will leave that for debate but with Lowe, Clark, Clark and Burbidge that is a deadly combination rushing for a season total of 3,936 yards and 46 TD’s.

Here are some of the other crazy numbers from this incredible season:

Points

Total scored 541 for an average of 41.6

Points against 156 or 12 per game for an average of 42-12 score.

Total Points scored 1989-1990 combined 1,147 or a 44 point average, points allowed was a combined 248 or a 9 point average so the average score over this 26 game stretch with 26 wins and 2 State Championships was 44-9.

1990 GATA scored a total of 50 points with 1 punt return, 4 interception returns, 3 fumble recovery returns and 1 safety.

Some Crazy individual performances:

Let’s start with the Defense:

*Jason Hicks had 93 tackles, 32 assists, 1 sack and 2 int’s

*Jeff Johnson had 42 tackles, 24 assists and was quite the ball hawk with 3 fumble recoveries and 4 int’s

*Kris Haskins 51 tackles, 16 assists and 8 sacks

*Dan Hicks 63 tackles, 18 assists, also was around the ball with 2 fumbles and 5 int’s

*Keith Clark 37 tackles, 13 assists, 1 fumble and 4 int’s

*Brandon Chartrey 40 tackles, 16 assists, 4 fumble recoveries and 1 int

Offense

*Kevin Clark 1,497 rushing yards, 21 total TD’s a school record. Clark ran for an incredible 622 yards in the final 3 games against Renton, Bremerton and Mt Rainier.

*Bryan Lowe 1,276 rushing yards, 130 receiving 18 TD’s. Lowe did set the school record for career rushing yards counting 1989’s yardage of 1,132 for a total of 2,408 and 27 career TD’s.

*QB Chris Doelman was ridiculously efficient throwing the ball 97 times or just 7.4 times per game and completed 54 for 1,018 for an average of 18-yards a completion. Doelman also threw 20 TD’s that’s 1 TD for less than every 3 throws.

*Barrett Burbidge ran for 345 yards and led the team with 277 receiving yards and 14 TD’s. He was also the kicker and was the 2nd leading scorer behind Clark who had 134 total points while Barrett scored 132.

*Jason Hicks made both lists here leading all receivers with 13 catches for 235 yards and 4 TD’s.

This team certainly made it’s on mark and left their own legacy an extremely difficult challenge even though the talent level was high. It’s one thing to repeat as Champions but to do it with another 13-0 record is crazy. This team Coach Otton said several times throughout the year were not the best practice team. Many weeks he would talk after the games about how he hoped they would learn their lesson about preparation.

This team was devastating when fully cranked and focused but when they were challenged this was the biggest group of gamers you ever want to meet. Nothing fazed them, nothing worried them and when they faced a challenge they rose each and every time.

The following is a piece written by Keith Clark with his thoughts on this very special season and the experience of being a T-Bird:

By Keith Clark

Keith Clark Part of the ESN Staff
Keith Clark Part of the ESN Staff

The 1990 season was my junior season at Tumwater and my second year as a Tbird. We were coming off our State championship 89 season. There were many saying that this would be a rebuilding season for Tumwater.

Which was understandable due to the fact that we had graduated 19 starters from the 1989 state Championship team. It’s a good thing the players that actually play the games didn’t buy into that idea.

The seniors from the year before left us with a challenge to continue the level of success. They had set the bar very high. Coach Otton always said “Tumwater reloads we don’t rebuild”. I know that our junior Class took it very personal that people didn’t believe we would be able to get back to the championship game.

Myself, Bryan Lowe and Jason Hicks were the only returning starters. I was the only returning starter on the defense, and was made defensive captain right away.  We had several juniors and seniors that year that had a lot of playing time the year before, such as Kevin Clark, Barrett Burbidge, Jeff Johnson and Ryan Reynolds, and so on and so on.   

My biggest take away from that season is week after week people outside of the program didn’t give us a chance to win, and week after week we proved ourselves right that we were a championship team!

The lesson there is that it absolutely does not matter what other people think you can do, it’s what you know you are capable of doing yourself. We accepted the outgoing seniors challenge and went 13-0 and  won the 1990 State Championship!

That challenge looked like it would carry over to 1991 and all indications a 3rd straight Championship was on the way. But the old cliche, that’s why they play the games was never truer than in 1991.

1991

**Additional reminder, we will be flying through the years and our next big re-cap will be the 1993 State Championship season. Again, I know there are many stories being untold. Maybe a book project is in order for another day examining each and every season. That’s for another day so for now I apologize I can’t spend nearly enough time with each season.

1991

This season is as opposite of the 1990 season as you could possibly get with 2 huge shortcomings, 1 ending and the beginning of another ending. Let’s start here first. The Clarks who burst onto the scene after transferring from Shelton made their marks as Sophomore’s and Junior’s and were set to go out John Elway style as Senior’s. One thing was certain the Clark brothers dynasty was coming to a close.

The other family dynasty, the Lowe’s were beginning their final chapter. Casey began it as a key part of the 1987 State Championship team followed by Bryan who not only was huge in the 1989 title season as a Junior but key in 1990’s undefeated season. Bryan was the school’s all-time rushing leader and as a varsity starting player never tasted defeat going 26-0. In fact his career at THS beginning as a Freshman in 1987 was a combined 47-4 with 3 State Championships. That’s a pretty incredible run of High School Football.

In 1991 we got introduced to the final Lowe brother who would begin where the other 2 left off as a sophomore. Derek Lowe will be prominent in our next big re-cap in 1993 as a Senior but it was 1991 that he served notice that the Lowe run at Tumwater was not yet done.

**Side Bar: The initial run of Clark’s and Lowe’s is over in 1993 but both families have already begun to run the next generation of Clark’s and Lowe’s. This time it is not limited to boys who are in the pipeline at the Youth Football level but girls as well who have already had big impacts on the local soccer scene especially. We know there are many other families with multiple generations of T-Birds, it just so happens these 2 families came along at such a key time and all had huge impacts on their teams with 4 of the 5 all holding one school rushing record or another at some point in their careers.

Back to 1991 and when you are King of the Hill this season is a great reminder there are many who want to knock you off that perch and this was the year for Tumwater. Coming into the season the T-Birds had convinced even more people this was the team to beat. They returned a huge number of starters, something they did not do in 1990, including their starting QB Chris Doelman, the Clarks, Jamie Hicks, Dan Hicks, Kris Haskins, Marshall Lloyd, Pat Abrahamson, Jeff Terry, Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Johnson and more.

There were huge expectations on this team including a 26-game winning streak on top of it all. All appeared to be well with the T-Birds posting big wins over Mountain View 44-22, Cascade a 3A team, 16-6, over WF West 50-6, Centralia 32-0, Aberdeen 48-19 and Olympia 47-0 running the State’s longest winning streak to 32 straight.

There was no reason to think this run would stop and the T-Bird machine was rolling toward glory. However, behind the scenes Coach Otton would admit there were issues within the team. He says unity was a problem. He was also fearful that outside messages of the greatness of this team were being bought into and not necessarily pressure from the winning streak or 2 straight Titles would be a factor if it all crashed down but over-confidence.

This day would come on Friday, October 25 when the Shelton Highclimbers came to town. The Highclimbers were more pumped than normally not just because it was Tumwater but it would be the last time they got to face their former teammates the Clark’s.

The night was a downpour and made the each possession extremely important. Surprisingly the Climbers would score on a 29-yard TD pass and a field goal to go up 10-0. Tumwater finished the 1st half with -6, yes, minus 6 yards of offense. They would get on the board when Shelton punting from deep in their own territory iun the 2nd half snapped the ball over the head of the punter and he grabbed it and stepped out for the safety making it 10-2 and now a touchdown and 2-point conversion would put them right back in this game.

Kevin Clark then took the ensuing free kick and ran it back 62-yards for the score pulling the T-Birds within 2 at 10-8. The momentum had shifted and there would be no stopping the comeback now…or would there be? The 2-point conversion failed and the Climbers maintained their lead. They then went on a nearly 8 minute drive aided by 2 big penalties from the T-Birds deep into Tumwater territory. They would not score but left little time for the T-Birds to answer and this time the Birds had no answers and Shelton knocked Tumwater from the ranks of the unbeatens and the 32 game winning streak was now a memory.

How dominating was Shelton? They gave up a grand total of 2 yards of total offense and 1 1st down. Frankly, how the T-Birds lost by 2 with a chance to win it is a pretty amazing feat in itself.

This was also the first season the Greater St. Helens League and the Black Hills League shared their state entries and so Tumwater’s dream of a 3-peat were not over. They would run past Hoquiam 59-6 and then beat a tough Capital team 28-21 setting up a cross-over game with the GSHL’s Prairie Falcons. Tumwater would advance to the State Tournament with a 42-24 win. Up next the 1st round of the play-offs and the T-Bird express was cranked and rolled by White River 54-0. It appeared all was right with the T-Birds as they got set to host the Hazen Hilanders.

Hazen came in as the clear underdog and the coaching staff spent the week building up the David and Goliath match-up. Current Kent-Meridian Head Coach Brett Allen remembers this game. I talked with Brett a few weeks ago prior to a game we were covering on ESN. Allen remembers that whole week and his TD catch to give Hazen a 7-0 lead. He also remembered the 2nd TD was intended for him when #35 (Keith Clark) poked the ball up and out of his hands but Hazen’s Todd Nelson caught the rebound for the score making it 14-0. Hazen would make it 21-0 at half on an interception returned 95 yards to the T-Bird 1 where they punched it in.

The T-Birds were able to re-focus and made a big run in the 2nd half. This was the largest halftime deficit the T-Birds had faced since 1985.  Tumwater got things going on the 1st drive of the 3rd quarter with Kevin Clark scoring on a 28-yard pass but the PAT missed making it 21-6. The 2nd score came on Derek Lowe’s 1-yard plunge followed by a Chris Doelman to Ryan Reynolds 2-point conversion to pull the T-Birds within 7, trailing 21-14.

The T-Birds then scored what they thought would be the tying TD when Kevin Clark scored on a brilliant 33-yard run set up by a Dan Hicks interception. Coach Otton sent kicker Bryan Palmen out for the PAT but it went wide and the Hilanders held onto the lead. Tumwater would get one more chance and with 7-seconds to play would send Palmen out for a 52-yard field goal attempt that would be well short. Otton said Palmen had hit from that distance in practice but it was unfair to put him in that position and if he had to do it over again would have put the ball in Kevin Clark’s hands to see what he could have done. Otton added that he wouldn’t even had considered putting Palmen in if he didn’t believe he had a shot at making it and Palmen had earned the right to give it a try. Otton also said they should have never been in that position to begin with they just dug too big a hole to climb out of.

One of the ironies of this game is that the defensive coordinator for Hazen at the time was a guy named Rick McGrath. McGrath ended up in Tumwater where he has been a long time Tumwater assistant and “bleeds green” the way he ends virtually all of his social media messages.

The 1991 team no doubt was a disappointment not only to themselves but T-Bird nation who believed a 3rd title was not only eminent but expected. I think this is an unfair conclusion for this team. Human nature is difficult to defeat and if you think about the pressure of the streaks put in place on this 1991 team it really is mind boggling. This team at one point was ranked 17th in the NATION according to USA Today. I think it is important to realize that no matter how talented, how much experience a team seems to have you are still dealing with 15, 16, 17 year-olds.

If this team had come along in 1979 for example, they would have been celebrated for the magnificent accomplishments they achieved in this season. History is history and people tend to judge it with emotion and not facts. This team lost in the quarterfinals, just like the 1977 team did but 1977 is celebrated as the most important team in Coach Otton’s career because more than likely it kept him employed as the T-Bird head coach and the lack of success of teams prior and right after 1977. 1991 may be viewed as a disappointment due to the success of 1989 and 1990 and that is unfair. The fact this squad had all the pressure that no other Tumwater team has ever had to face with 2 straight Titles and a State leading win streak and still advance as far as they did is an impressive achievement. NGUNNGU was never more prevalent than the final 24-minutes of 1991 and for that they should be proud. Next week 1992 they bounce back setting up an epic run in 1993 and the rest of the 90’s decade.

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