EVERETT - Squalicum will have to wait another year to earn its first state tournament berth in school history.
Two years ago, Archbishop Murphy dashed the Storm's hope of making the state round of 16. The Wildcats played spoiler once more.
Alex Galgano ran around, through and over Squalicum's defense for 245 yards and six touchdowns on 30 carries, and Squalicum found itself in a deep hole early and couldn't recover in a 44-16 winner-to-state, loser-out Class 2A District 1/2 playoff game Friday, Nov. 2, at Everett Memorial Stadium.
"It was a great season, and what a group a great group of guys," Squalicum coach Reed Richardson said. "I can't say enough good things about our seniors and the people they are."
After failing to sew up a district home game with two losses to end the season, Squalicum was handed a road game with perennial 2A power Archbishop Murphy.
Richardson and the Storm, which touts a strong running game itself, learned first-hand how formidable Murphy's running back duo of Alex Galgano and Hans VanderWel can be.
The Storm's defense was simply outmatched by Archbishop's deceptive Wing-T power rushing attack.
"Galgano is good, and so is VanderWel," Richardson said. "They don't have one good running back; they have three that are very difficult to tackle. They showed that tonight. I felt like we were in the right spots a lot of times, but those are pretty good kids."
VanderWel finished with 92 yards on eight carries, and Archbishop Murphy compiled 396 total rushing yards.
Squalicum didn't help its cause by starting slow on offense.
The Wildcats raced to a 23-0 lead on a 33-yard field goal by kicker Foster Wade and scores by Galgano of 3, 1, and 28 yards.
Squalicum's deficit may have been more if it wasn't for the Storm's defense turning away ATM once during a first-half red zone possession and holding the Wildcats to a field goal on another early trip inside the Storm's 20.
Squalicum endured a three-and-out, turnover on downs, three-and-out and a botched punt attempt, which gave Murphy possession deep in Storm territory, in its first four possessions. The Storm's first first down came with 2:25 to go in the half.
Despite the slow start, quarterback Clark Hazlett led Squalicum on an eight-play, 71-yard drive capped by a Nick Manchester 5-yard TD run. Hazlett connected with Ben Garcia for the two-point conversion to cut ATM's lead to 23-8 going into the break.
"It was difficult," Richardson said of his offense's start to the game. "We got buried a little bit early but got that great drive to end the half. If we score on that first drive to start the second half, all of a sudden it's a game."
Hazlett, who finished 15 for 29 with 148 yards and a 28-yard fourth-quarter touchdown strike to Garcia, found his rhythm on Squalicum's final drive of the first half, and the sophomore signal caller kept throwing in the final 24 minutes.
The Storm moved the ball to Archbishop Murphy's 30 to begin the third quarter, but the Wildcats sacked Hazlett, forcing the Storm into a fourth-and-15 it couldn't convert.
Galgano added his fourth and fifth TD on Murphy's next two drives to give the Wildcats an insurmountable 37-8 lead with 1:43 to go in the third.
Garcia's score cut ATM's lead to 37-16 with 10:26 in the fourth, but Archbishop's ground game chewed up the clock and ended the game.
"Our kids played hard," Richardson said. "That's all you can ask. They played with heart and played with class."
Richardson was pleased with how Hazlett threw the ball and was optimistic about the future of his young, talented team. "He's a two-year starter, but he's still a pup as a sophomore," Richardson said of Hazlett. "I bet he'll call me tomorrow morning to get that film up and see what he needs to improve on. That's the kind of kid he is."
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
Squalicum 0 8 0 8- 16
Arch. Murphy 10 13 14 7- 44
ATM -- Foster Wade 33 field goal
ATM -- Alex Galgano 3 run (Wade kick)
ATM -- Galgano 1 run (kick fail)
ATM -- Galgano 28 run (Wade kick)
SQ -- Nick Manchester 5 run (Ben Garcia pass from Clark Hazlett)
ATM-- Galgano 9 run (Wade kick)
ATM -- Galgano 19 run (Wade kick)
SQ -- Garcia 28 pass from Hazlett (Hazlett run)
ATM - Galgano 12 run (Wade kick)
First downs 13 27
Rushing Att-Yards 19-36 53-396
Comp-Att-Int 15-29-1 3-7-1
Passing yards 148 61
Penalties-yards 2-20 8-78
Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0
RUSHING - Squalicum: Nick Manchester 6-17, Mac Novak 3-19, Brandon LeDoux 5-15, Clark Hazlett 5-(-15). Archbishop Murphy: Alex Galgano 30-245, Hans VanderWel 8-92, Richard Gordon 5-10, Reagan Gordon 4-33, Jonathan Galgano 4-22, Camden Buchanan 1-(-6), Taylor Gipson 1-0
PASSING - Squalicum: Clark Hazlett 15-29-1-148. Archbishop Murphy: 3-7-1-61.
RECEIVING - Squalicum: Ben Garcia 6-100, Blaze Yetter 6-34, Brock Jorgensen 1-7, Mac Novak 2-7. Archbishop Murphy: Brandon Byrne 2-50, Hans VanderWel 1-11.
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.