The good news for Northwest Conference football teams is that they may not see Sedro-Woolley’s Bryce Hornbeck at quarterback too often.
The bad news is that now they figure to face the elusive Hornbeck at running back as well as defensive back and on kickoff and punt returns.
Hornbeck, an exceptionally fleet 5-foot-8 senior, rushed for 219 yards on only 12 carries and scored on runs of 68 and 25 yards along with a game-capping 65-yard punt return in Sedro’s 52-20 win over Blaine in an Class 2A NWC opener on Friday Sept. 16.
Hornbeck, who started the first two games at quarterback, also set up two of Durell Dickerson’s three touchdowns, all in the third quarter. Hornbeck returned a kickoff 96 yards to the 4 and an interception 48 yards to the 2.
“Not that I can remember,” Jay Dodd said on facing a faster player in nine years as Blaine’s coach. “But we also made him look good. We gave him some creases.”
WOOLLEY’S BIGGEST TD
Blaine’s rugged and reliable Riley Fritsch – who scored twice and rushed for 127 yards on 21 carries – pulled the Borderites (2-1) within 10-7 with a 4-yard score with 4:59 left in the first half. The score followed Jalen Kortlever’s 28-yard pass to Anthony Ball.
But Hornbeck’s 68-yard scamper around the right side put the Cubs (2-1) back in charge at 17-7 in the final minute of the first half.
“That play was just huge,” Dodd lamented.
BLAINE’S RALLY HALTED
Kortlever threw a 15-yard scoring pass to sophomore Chase Abshere, cutting the Cubs’ third-quarter lead to 24-14. But the versatile Hornbeck returned the kickoff 96 yards to the 4, where Dickerson scored.
Hornbeck then made one of the Cubs’ three interceptions against Kortlever, who came into the game with eight scoring passes and no interceptions in his first two games. Hornbeck’s 48-yard return to the 2 again set up Dickerson for a 38-14 lead and the game was effectively over.
KORTLEVER KEEPS TRYING
Kortlever – who completed 13 of 26 passes for 167 yards – made the tackle on Hornbeck’s 48-yard interception return, desperately trying to keep Blaine alive.
But soon after Sedro scored, Cubs freshman Brent VanderVeen made his second interception on the first play of the fourth quarter. Hornbeck followed with 36- and 25-yard runs, the second for the game-clincher and a 45-20 lead.
With Ball often double-covered – he caught four passes for 70 yards – Abshere continued to show big-play potential with four catches for 53 yards and his touchdown.