NOOKSACK - Nooksack Valley coach Robb Myhre wanted to see his son, sophomore Tanner Myhre, take a hit right away in his first varsity start at quarterback to shake out the nerves.
Tanner, all 160 pounds of him, was more than happy to take a multitude of hits all night, but he also dodged one tackler after another with his hard-nosed but shifty style while leading the Pioneers to a 17-6 victory over Sehome in the season opener for both teams.
Before the kickoff, the Northwest Conference non-classification game had pretty much everyone talking about what a beautiful night it was for football on Friday, Aug. 31.
The officials, however, spotted at least five lightning flashes far off in the Canadian distance, well northeast of Abbotsford, early in the third quarter, so the game was delayed for more than half an hour and did not re-start until 9:05 p.m.. A National Federation rule requires a delay any time consistent lightning is spotted.
Tanner Myhre provided the only high voltage most of the fans saw, since the lightning appeared behind the stands.
In fact, on the first play after the game resumed - technically 50 seconds into the third quarter - Myhre scrambled 47 yards for the game's longest run from scrimmage. It was that kind of jolting night for the Pioneers, who had to overcome a seemingly much-improved Sehome team in Mariners coach Bob Norvell's debut.
"Oh, I sure did have the nerves," said Tanner Myhre, who finished with 13 carries for a game-high 92 yards and completed 16 of 25 passes for 135 yards without an interception. "But after that first series, I felt good."
That was what Robb Myhre figured would happen.
"He told me he couldn't sleep - he was just beyond nervous. So we wanted Tanner to be hit (right away), and we planned a series of short passes," the veteran coach said.
The plan worked to perfection on the opening series, a 52-yard, 6-play drive capped by Myhre's 6-yard scoring toss to returning standout Trey Handy on a nicely executed screen pass. Myhre scrambled for 17 yards on Nooksack's second play - that was the run designed to make him feel comfortable - and went 4 for 4 passing on the drive.
He later added a 27-yard third-quarter screen pass for another touchdown to Handy, but the quarterback was quick to share the credit with his linemen.
"Oh, my goodness," Tanner said with a grin. "The blocking was fantastic. Those guys (Matt Aure, Tyler Warner, Blake Warner, Michael Whitmer and J Snider) were just great. J did a great job filling in on short notice for Leni Halaapiapi."
Robb Myhre agreed that Snider's efforts were one of the game's highlights.
"We're still getting the appeal done with Leni (a 265-pound transfer from Hawaii) because he's having to prove hardship," the coach said. "J Snider had not been getting the practice reps, but he really did a good job."
Junior kicker Ethan Vinup's 30-yard field goal ended the scoring with 2:19 to play. The big kick followed a series on which Sehome drove 78 yards behind third-year quarterback Austin Rapp to score on Titi Lamositele's 1-yard run with second and third efforts.
On Sehome's final possession, Rapp completed four passes, including a 23-yarder to freshman Taylor Rapp, but the drive went for naught when Joe Luton and Tyler Warner picked up a sack on the game's final play.
Austin Rapp endured a bruising first half, but showed his well-known competitiveness in the second half. He finished 10 for 21 for 124 yards, but suffered a key interception in the second quarter when Handy made a nice read and earned a 20-yard return.
Handy also rushed for 29 yards on three carries and caught six passes for 48 yards while showing he's likely to be one of the conference's most dynamic performers.
Taylor Rapp showed plenty of potential, especially for a freshman, with nine carries for 33 yards and four catches for 55. Daniel Goebel caught four passes for 35 yards.
Sehome, in fact, was more competitive than the score indicated. The Mariners amassed 247 yards on 55, plays and the Pioneers netted 290 on 50 plays.
"Sehome definitely has some athletes," Robb Myhre said.
So does Nooksack. In fact, Handy's cousin, sophomore transfer Curtis Handy, and Joey Scheffer were in on numerous important stops at linebacker and looked capable of playing well against anyone.
"We still have a lot to work on," said Tanner Myhre, sounding just like the coach's son he is. No wonder he wanted to take that first hit right away.
Sehome 0 0 0 0- 0
Nooksack Valley 7 0 7 3- 17
NV - Trey Handy 6 pass from Tanner Myhre (Ethan Vinup kick)
NV - Trey Handy 27 pass from Myhre (Vinup kick)
Seh - Titi Lamositele 1 run (kick failed)
NV - Vinup 30 FG
First downs 15 16
Rushing Att-Yards 32-135 25-155
Comp-Att-Int 11-23-1 16-25-0
Passing yards 122 135
Penalties-yards 8-85 8-53
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-0
RUSHING - Sehome: Austin Rapp 9-54, Taylor Rapp 9-33, Titi Lamositele 6-28, Bo Banner 2-11, Forrest Longanecker 2-3, Malik Wiliams 2-7, Brice Longanecker 1-1, Willy Lallas 1-(-2). Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 13-92, Trey Handy 3-29, Curtis Handy 4-19, Bret Rediger 2-9, Levi Schram 3-6.
PASSING - Sehome: Austin Rapp 10-21-1-124; Daniel Ziegler 1-2-0-(-2). Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 16-25-0-135.
RECEIVING - Sehome: Daniel Goebel 4-35, Taylor Rapp 4-55, Titi Lamositele 1-12, Brice Longanecker 1-14, Willy Lallas 1-6. Nooksack Valley: Trey Handy 6-48, Bret Rediger 4-32, Joey Scheffer 3-36, Curtis Handy 2-15, Joe Luton 1-4
NOTE: Passing statistics corrected on Sept. 4.