SMOKEY POINT - Sehome is going to state.
The Mariners defeated the No. 5-ranked Lakewood Cougars 35-13 on Friday, Nov. 8, to advance past the Class 2A Tri-District tournament.
It's the first time Sehome has been to the state playoffs in 14 years.
It was Sehome's game from the start and they didn't let up. Behind it all was Daniel Ziegler, who had a part in all five touchdowns.
The Mariners kicked off the game in exciting fashion with a Ziegler 60-yard punt return for a touchdown only 2:32 into the game. The Mariners were able to force Lakewood into a three-and-out and then capitalized.
Ziegler caught the punt at Sehome's 40-yard line and broke to his right. He ran through an arm tackle and then navigated his way to the end zone.
"I looked for the clean field and got some great blocking," Ziegler said.
It was more defensive play from the Mariners, who forced the Cougars to punt again after only gaining four yards.
The Mariners used their next possession to go on a 52-yard touchdown drive, ending with Ziegler sneaking into the end zone on a 1-yard run up the middle.
"We had a lot of believers, but we had a lot of people who didn't believe," Ziegler said. "Going on the road against the fifth-ranked team, it's tough. But when we got up 14-0, it really helped us believe."
The Cougars quickly responded with an 83-yard halfback pass to pull the gap to just one score. Blake Watts fed the ball to Paulmer Gregory on a pitch and Gregory stopped and looked downfield. Waiting for him was Matt Seiber, who had nobody within 20 yards of him. He caught the ball and trotted the next 40 yards to the end zone.
Ziegler then showed he's not all speed and running ability. He hit Evan Miksovsky in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown throw. It was a perfect throw over the cornerback, and Miksovsky came down with it.
"I think (my passing) goes overlooked sometimes," Ziegler said. "Sometimes I can be a bit streaky and inaccurate, but Miksovsky really does make me look great."
Lakewood kept it close going into halftime when Watts hooked up with Brett Bustad for a 28-yard touchdown pass. The teams entered the lockers with the score 21-13.
Sehome started the second half the same way it did the first: on fire. It only took them 1:39 to score another touchdown. This one came on a swing pass to Taylor Rapp and he weaved his way into the end zone.
The Mariners added a touchdown late to put the game out of reach. After a stalled out drive by the Cougars, the Mariners took over the ball at their own 14-yard line.
One play later, they were at Lakewood's 7-yard line after a 79-yard run by Rapp. He broke through several arm tackles in the box, before busting out to the open field, where he was eventually run down.
Ziegler ran the ball the final seven yards on the next play to secure the win.
The Mariners move on to the state tournament, where Sehome coach Bob Norvell says they need to just keep on believing.
"We've had our backs up against the wall since the Burlington-Edison game, Norvell said. "We are just going to continue to battle. Our guys got after it and battled tonight."
Sehome 14 7 7 7- 35
Lakewood 7 6 0 0- 13
Seh - Daniel Ziegler 60 punt return (Samuel Diehl kick)
Seh - Ziegler 1 run (Diehl kick)
Lak - Matt Seiber 83 pass from Paulmer Gregory (Randy Anaya kick)
Seh - Evan Mikovsky 14 pass from Ziegler (Diehl kick)
Lak - Brett Bustad 28 pass from Blake Watts (kick fail)
Seh - Evan Mikovsky 11 pass from Ziegler (Diehl kick)
Seh - Ziegler 7 run (Diehl kick)
First downs 19 14
Rushing Att-Yards 42-354 24-101
Comp-Att-Int 11-18-0 15-30-1
Passing yards 87 228
Penalties-yards 5-25 2-10
Fumbles-lost 1-0 2-1
RUSHING - Sehome: Taylor Rapp 12-136, Austin Vosburgh 7-39, Daniel Ziegler 18-171, Gary Vanieperen 3-4, Blaise Black 2-4. Lakewood: Blake Watts 14-36, Paulmer Gregory 3-6, Randy Anaya 1-5, Brett Bustad 1-5, Matt Seiber 1-2, Keana Jackson 4-47.
PASSING - Sehome: Daniel Ziegler 11-18-0-87. Lakewood: Blake Watts 14-29-1-145, Paulmer Gregory 1-1-0-83.
RECEIVING - Sehome: Evan Mikovsky 5-42, Taylor Rapp 4-39, Austin Vosburgh 1-4, Gunnar Nelson 1-2. Lakewood: Matt Seiber 4-91, Drake Chaves 4-36, Brett Bustad 5-65, Paulmer Gregory 2-36. 1 reception short
Corrected school on passing and receiving statistics on Nov. 9