NOOKSACK - Sedro-Woolley's power-packed football team sent more shudders into the Class 2A ranks in the Northwest Conference, but Nooksack Valley didn't exactly make its 1A opponents feel any safer.
The Pioneers were considerably more competitive than their 41-6 non-classification loss on Friday, Sept. 20, might indicate.
Nooksack (1-2) limited the depth-laden and far more experienced Cubs (2-1) to three touchdowns and a 20-0 lead over the first three quarters.
How much of an accomplishment was that? Consider that the Cubs overwhelmed Class 2A rival Squalicum 63-3 last week, and the Storm (2-1) rebounded for a 42-6 victory over Bellingham on Friday.
"Sedro-Woolley is as good a team as we'll see (in the regular season)," said Nooksack coach Robb Myhre, whose squad was limited to 66 total yards until the Pioneers gained 68 yards and a touchdown on their final three plays.
"They're the real deal," said Myhre, indicating why the Cubs may well give traditional powers Lynden and Burlington-Edison a run for the NWC's top seed in the 2A state playoffs. "If they play defense like that, they'll be real good. They have speed everywhere."
The Pioneers - consistently potent in recent seasons - avoided what would have been a rare shutout when quarterback Tanner Myhre found fellow junior Dalton Biehle, a transfer from Lynden Christian, for a 20-yard touchdown as time ran out.
"It's a young group," said Robb Myhre, whose team is still to face its first NWC Class 1A rival. "I think we had only three seniors playing a lot of the time. But we're only going to get better. This loss really doesn't hurt us."
Senior Shawn Kennedy, one of the league's best power backs last season, amassed 138 yards rushing on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns, while 10 other Woolley ball-carriers combined for an impressive 198 yards on only 30 carries.
But the Pioneers, led by 210-pound junior Lathan Halaapiapi, limited Kennedy to 84 yards on his first 18 carries through three quarters, and that's probably about as good as could be expected against the consistently hard-pounding Kennedy.
Returning starting quarterback Braden Blouin completed 8 of his first 9 passes and finished 12 for 19 for 110 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown toss to speedy junior Mason Elms, who caught 8 passes for 61 yards. Elms, one of the state's quickest sophomores last track season, also had a 39-yard punt return for a score nullified by a penalty.
The Cubs finished with 456 total yards and scored on drives of 49, 58 and 70 yards for their first three touchdowns. Early in the fourth quarter, Kennedy surpassed 100 yards with a 41-yard scoring burst and Clayton Johnson, yet another experienced senior, added a 60-yard touchdown midway through the final period to finish with 95 yards on six carries.
Following Kennedy's last score with 10:37 left, Myhre returned a kickoff 56 yards with sheer determination before the two-way standout - who must have been exhausted but didn't play like it - was hauled down.
"Tanner did play a tough game," said Robb Myhre. "He did not give up in any way, shape or form."
Until Myhre scrambled for 16 yards in the final minute, the Cubs had thrown him for losses seven times and had limited him to minus-4 yards on 14 carries.
Myhre found Curtis Handy on a 32-yard pass to set up his touchdown pass. Until that play, the Cubs had held Myhre to an average gain of six yards on his first 10 completions. Handy finished with eight catches for 78 yards.
Myhre, who came in with 427 yards passing in two games, finished 12 for 24 for 112 yards and suffered first-half interceptions by Jacob Farrell and Elms, who dove to catch a deflection.
Avery Rooks, yet another example of Woolley's depth, scored the second touchdown on an 18-yard run. Reserve quarterback Devin Willard hit Billy Hornbeck on a 2-yard touchdown pass with 1 minute, 29 seconds left.
SEDRO-WOOLLEY 41, NOOKSACK VALLEY 6
Sedro-Woolley 7 13 0 21 -41
Nooksack Valley 0 0 0 6 - 6
S-W - Shawn Kennedy 1 run (Francisco Tovar kick)
S-W - Avery Rooks 18 run (kick failed)
S-W - Mason Elms 4 pass from Braden Blouin (Ethan Holden kick)
S-W - Kennedy 41 run (Tovar kick)
S-W - Clayton Johnson 60 run (Holden kick)
S-W - Billy Hornbeck 2 pass from Devin Willard (Tovar kick)
NV - Dalton Biehle 20 pass from Tanner Myhre (no attempt)
First downs 25 9
Rushing att-yds 51-336 20-22
Comp-Att-Int 14-21-0 12-24-2
Passing yards 120 112
Fumbles-lost 2-1 3-1
Penalties 9-70 5-44
RUSHING - Sedro-Woolley: Shawn Kennedy 21-138, Clayton Johnson 6-95, Quinn Carpenter 6-26, Braden Blouin 5-(minus 10), Carter Crosby 2-2, Avery Rooks 4-36, Devin Willard 1-3, Tanner Newton 2-4, Mason Elms 1-1, Jacob Kennedy 2-33, Billy Hornbeck 1-8. Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 15-12, Curtis Handy 3-2, Dalton Biehle 1-11, Daryk Heidt 1-(minus 3).
PASSING - Sedro-Woolley: Braden Blouin 12-19-110-0, Devin Willard 2-2-10-0. Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 12-24-112-2.
RECEIVING -Sedro-Woolley: Mason Elms 8-61, Billy Hornbeck 3-14, Anthony Cann 2-41, Clayton Johnson 1-4. Nooksack Valley: Curtis Handy 8-78, Dalton Biehle 1-20, Joshua Gimmaka 1-8, Derek Heidt 1-6, Brady Wood 1-0.