BELLINGHAM - Squalicum coach Reed Richardson spent the past five days preaching to his players the need for increased desire and discipline following a home blowout loss to Sedro-Woolley last week.
It was arguably one of the worst defeats in program history.
Richardson wanted his Storm to establish themselves this week against Bellingham, and Squalicum used the ground-and-pound to grind through Bellingham's defense for a 42-6 Class 2A/3A Northwest Conference win of its own Friday, Sept. 20, at Civic Stadium.
"We were embarrassed last week," Richardson said. "We came in Monday and talked about desire and discipline. Those are the two things we need to work on. We worked on those two things at practice all week, and I really felt like our kids listened."
Richardson's message showed, especially in the run game.
The Storm's Nick Manchester, Luke Weber and quarterback Clark Hazlett combined for 383 rushing yards, surpassing last week's team rushing total of 19 yards during the first four plays of the game.
Manchester finished with 136 yards on 15 carries and a 10-yard touchdown run, Weber scored on runs of 5 and 2 yards while chipping in 89 yards and Hazlett posted a team-high 158 yards on 12 carries. The junior quarterback had TD runs of 7 and 18 yards and his only completion of the night - a 6-yard slant route to Ben Garcia - went for a touchdown.
Richardson said the run game, spurred by Squalicum's tough blocking up front, was a product of everyone on the offensive side doing their job.
"That was definitely a lopsided game last week," Richardson said. "We knew we could play better. Our opponent wasn't as good this week. We knew that, but we wanted to establish our defense. We wanted to tackle better. We wanted to make our blocks, establish our run game, and we felt we did that."
Hazlett navigated his offense up and down the field with little resistance from Bellingham (0-3, 0-2 NWC 2A/3A), ripping off chunks of yardage on the ground. Besides the Storm's second drive of the game, which resulted in a turnover on downs, Squalicum (2-1, 1-1 NWC 2A/3A) put up seven points on every first-half possession.
Squalicum's defense, led by Creighton Kaui, Jordan Campbell and Blake Youtsey, was equally as impressive as its offense, especially after surrendering 63 points six days prior.
Bellingham's run game was no match for Squalicum's front seven. The Storm would have posted a shutout if it wasn't for a "freak play," as described by Richardson, in which Red Raiders running back Melvin Deal was the recipient of an odd fumble recovery he took 30 yards for a touchdown after a teammate had already ran 15 yards.
Take away Deal's 45-yard TD and the Storm held Bellingham to just 81 yards of offense.
"We were focused on just wrapping up and going through with our tackles," Manchester said, "because we sure didn't do that last week. That was a big focus for us at practice."
Deal, who provided a bright spot within the Red Raiders offense, finished with 96 yards on 15 carries and his 45-yard TD via a fumble.
Deal's score came in the third quarter after Bellingham was trailing 35-0. Hazlett opened the game with his 7-yard TD run, which was followed by second quarter touchdown runs from Manchester and Weber. Garcia's TD catch occurred with 27 seconds left until halftime to give Squalicum a 28-0 lead at the break.
While Squalicum got back on track Friday night, Bellingham, which has been riddled with injures and other setbacks, struggled against its city rival. New quarterback Eric Thompson, who donned No. 83, had a tough time moving his offense, and the Red Raiders rarely strayed from their inside-handoff game.
"Our guys will always fight," Bellingham coach Steve Wilson said. "They won't give up. We were a little outmanned. We had a couple guys injured this week, and a two-way starter quit on Thursday, so we were just trying to do what we could do. We're going to pick ourselves up, and start Monday, we'll try again."
The win was the fifth straight for Squalicum over Bellingham. The Red Raiders last beat the Storm 20-7 in 2008.
Squalicum travels to play Seaquam Secondary next at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, in British Columbia, while Bellingham faces Blaine in a non-league contest at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, in Blaine.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
Squalicum 7 21 14 0- 42
Bellingham 0 0 6 0- 6
Sq - Clark Hazlett 7 run (Ben Peterson kick)
Sq - Nick Manchester 10 run (Peterson kick)
Sq - Luke Weber 5 run (Peterson kick)
Sq - Ben Garcia 6 pass from Hazlett (Peterson kick)
Sq - Weber 2 run (Peterson kick)
Bel - Melvin Deal 45 run (run fail)
Sq - Hazlett 18 run (Peterson kick)
First downs 23 6
Rushing Att-Yards 54-442 35-119
Comp-Att-Int 2-8-0 1-4-0
Passing yards 5 7
Penalties-yards 1-15 1-15
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-0
RUSHING - Squalicum: Nick Manchester 15-136, Luke Weber 13-89, Clark Hazlett 12-158, Damek Mitchell 3-25, Christian Jorgensen 6-8, Riley Zehnder 2-22, Creighton Kaui 3-4. Bellingham: Melvin Deal 15-96, Tanner Aliff 7-26, Noah Silverman 6-21, Eric Thompson 7-(-24).
PASSING - Squalicum: Clark Hazlett 1-7-0-6; Christian Jorgensen 1-1-0-(-1). Bellingham: Eric Thompson 1-4-0-7.
RECEIVING - Squalicum: Ben Garcia 1-6, Ben Peterson 1-(-1). Bellingham: Kailen Hayes 1-7.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.