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Tigers finish second in NCYFL; Steenkolk injured during TD reception, released from hospital after evaluation | Football
By KRIS BROWN
Special to The Journal
Friday Harbor fans, few in number and very cold, held out until the bitter end in hopes that the Senior Tigers would triumph in the 2009 North Cascade Youth Football League championship game on Saturday evening.
The Friday Harbor Tigers faced the Burlington Tigers, who they had defeated just a few weeks earlier 18-7.
From the beginning, it was a battle of defensive lines and running backs. Burlington scored two times in the first half, both on runs, but missed the after-point attempts. Friday Harbor running back Nate Steenkolk finally broke through in the second quarter for a 65-yard run into the end zone and threw for the point after. The Friday Harbor squad was behind 12-7 at the half.
Late in the third quarter, the Burlington boys opened a hole to run in another touchdown but still couldn't convert on the point after. With 1:24 left in the game, Steenkolk injured his neck as he caught a C.J. Woods pass for a touchdown, bringing the game to 18-13.
With tingling in his neck and arm, Steenkolk lay on the field and, as a precaution, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital for evaluation. He was released shortly after the game.
When the game resumed, Alec Kurtz failed on a fake kick and pass for the point after. Kurtz then tried an onside kick to regain possession but Burlington recovered and, with 1:09 left, ran out the clock.
“Your team has nothing to be ashamed of,” one referee commented after the game. “I’ve never seen such a small squad play so well against a team twice their size. It was unbelievable how hard they fought.”
This team finished the season 8-3 and in second place. Last year, as juniors, they finished 10-1 and second place and in 2007 were undefeated and NCYFL champions.
Notebook ... A note from the Friday Harbor Athletic Association: “The Friday Harbor Athletic Association, sponsors of Tiger football, wants to thank our fans and cheerleaders for such wonderful support this season. We offer a special thanks to those who donated more than $600 to help our cheerleaders join us for the game, as well as a pizza party and overnighter.”