BELLINGHAM - There was good reason Squalicum football coach Reed Richardson was worried when reports began to circulate that worst-case scenarios for the turf replacement at Civic Stadium had it not being completed in time for his team's Week 2 showdown with Sedro-Woolley.
Not only would that mean the loss of a home date, but also potentially any home-field advantage against a team the Storm figured it would be competing with for postseason positioning in a tight race for the Northwest Conference's three Class 2A berths into the Northwest District playoffs.
Turns out, Richardson didn't need to worry - at least not about the turf or the game being moved. The turf was installed in time for a pair of Week 1 games.
But his concerns over facing Sedro-Woolley were completely justified, and it really didn't matter where the game was played.
Squalicum had a first half right out of any football coach's nightmare, as everything that could go against the Storm did. And even when things appeared to go Squalicum's way, it ultimately didn't, as the Cubs ran away with a 63-3 victory in the NWC 2A/3A opener for both teams on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Civic Stadium.
"They're a good football team," Richardson said. "They obviously showed that tonight. I don't think we came ready to play. We made some mistakes early and didn't play up to our potential, but I don't want to take anything away from Sedro-Woolley, because obviously they're a dang good football team."
The Cubs seemed to take pleasure in showing the Storm just how good they are, as they physically whipped Squalicum in every phase of the game.
No where was that more obvious than on the ground, where Sedro-Woolley (1-1, 1-0 NWC 2A/3A) out gained Squalicum (1-1, 0-1) 361 yards to 19.
Shawn Kennedy got a big portion of that between the tackles with his 145 yards and four rushing touchdowns - he also caught a fifth. But it really didn't matter who was carrying the ball or if they went inside or out, as four Sedro backs surpassed 40 yards rushing and the team averaged 7.5 yards on its 48 attempts.
"We had guys there to make tackles, we just didn't make plays," Richardson said. "We didn't wrap up. You know what, we'll fix it. I believe in my team, and we've got some awesome kids."
The Storm's first possession of the game resulted in quarterback Clark Hazlett being sacked, throwing an incomplete pass and then an interception that set the Cubs up at the Squalicum 17 yard line.
Two plays and a Squalicum encroachment penalty later, Kennedy bullied his way in from a yard out for the first of his four touchdowns in the half.
The Storm picked up a first down on its next possession, but had to punt. When the ball rolled to the Cubs' 5, Squalicum looked like it might at least come out of the exchange with favorable field position.
In a precursor of the physical dominance Sedro had throughout the night, the Cubs marched 95 yards in 13 plays on a drive aided by two Squalicum penalties. Quinn Carpenter finished it off by muscling his way in from 2 yards out.
Nick Manchester appeared to give Squalicum new life, when he returned the ensuing kickoff all the way down the Sedro-Woolley sideline, but he was ruled to have stepped out at the Cubs' 46.
"From across the field, I thought he was in - but through my blue glasses, too," Richardson joked.
Hazlett found Ben Peterson on a throw under pressure to get Squalicum down to the 4, but a third-down sack forced the Storm to settle for a 25-yard Quinn Carpenter - yes, it has a Quinn Carpenter on its roster, too - field goal.
But even that positive vibe was short-lived, as Kennedy raced 70 yards through a number of arm tackles on the first play of the Cubs' next drive for a 21-3 Sedro lead at the end of the quarter.
Kennedy added a 22-yard TD reception and a 7-yard scoring run in the second quarter, before Chad Wilburg pounced on a fumble that rolled into the end zone after Hazlett was sacked again to make the halftime score 42-3.
"Obviously, we never came up with an answer," Richardson said.
And unfortunately, there wasn't one in the second half, either.
Mason Elms caught a 30-yard scoring toss from Braden Blouin to start the running clock with 9:10 remaining in the third quarter, before backup quarterback Devin Willard hit Elms, who finished with 114 yards on five catches, with a 54-yard bomb to make it 56-3.
Hazlett finished with 86 yards and three interceptions, as the Sedro defense harassed him throughout the night, sacking him six times and putting many more hard licks on him. His top target was Peterson, as the freshman caught five passes for 55 yards, while Manchester finished with 38 rushing yards.
"There's no time to cry about a loss," Richardson said. "We've got to suck it up and get ready for who's up next."
Up next is a city rivalry game against Bellingham on Friday, Sept. 20.
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2286.
Sedro-Woolley 21 21 14 7- 63
Squalicum 3 0 0 0- 3
SW - Shawn Kennedy 1 run (Francisco Tovar kick)
SW - Quinn Carpenter 2 run (Tovar kick)
Sq - Quinn Carpenter 25 FG
SW - Kennedy 70 run (Tovar kick)
SW - Kennedy 22 pass from Braden Blouin (Tovar kick)
SW - Kennedy 7 run (Tovar kick)
SW - Chad Wilburg fumble recovery in end zone (Tovar kick)
SW - Mason Elms 30 pass from Blouin (Tovar kick)
SW - Elms 54 pass from Devin Willard (Tovar kick)
SW - Kennedy 1 run (Ethan Holden kick)
First downs 24 9
Rushing Att-Yards 48-361 25-19
Comp-Att-Int 6-7-0 8-20-3
Passing yards 136 86
Penalties-yards 5-31 6-29
Fumbles-lost 1-0 3-1
RUSHING - Sedro-Woolley: Shawn Kennedy 15-145, Clayton Johnson 3-23, Carter Crosby 1-2, Quinn Carpenter 7-55, Braden Blouin 5-15, Jacob Kenney 5-11, Tanner Newton 5-46, Avery Rooks 2-41, Casey Stroosma 1-3, Will Enniss 2-6, Adam Adkinson 2-14. Squalicum: Clark Hazlett 7-(-29), Nick Manchester 9-38, Luke Weber 6-6, Damek Mitchell 3-4.
PASSING - Sedro-Woolley: Braden Blouin 5-6-0-82, Devin Willard 1-1-0-54. Squalicum: Clark Hazlett 8-20-3-86.
RECEIVING - Sedro-Woolley: Mason Elms 5-114, Shawn Kennedy 1-22. Squalicum: Coleman Schwab 1-0, Ben Peterson 5-55, Ben Garcia 1-20, Christian Jorgensen 1-11.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.