Just when Sehome was climbing its way back midway through the second half, quarterback Jaelin Goldsmith and Cascade Christian quickly crushed the Mariners’ comeback hopes.
Sehome quarterback Taylor Rapp in the second half began gashing the Cougars’ defense with his legs, seemingly giving the Mariners life following a first-half dominated by Cascade Christian’s grind-it-out offense.
But Rapp exited the game briefly in the third quarter with what appeared to be cramping, and the Cougars took advantage.
Trailing by a touchdown, Sehome was forced to punt, and in a span of less than three minutes, Goldsmith helped Cascade Christian tack on two TDs, providing a swift blow to Sehome’s sudden momentum.
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The Mariners never recovered, ultimately suffering a 35-13 non-conference loss to the No. 2-ranked team in Class 1A on Saturday night, Sept. 6, at Civic Stadium.
“I think we made too many mistakes,” Sehome coach Bob Norvell said. “I think we played really hard, maybe didn’t tackle the way I wanted us to, but they just seemed to make the plays they needed to make to extend first downs. Gosh, it’s not the way I wanted to start. That’s for sure.”
Goldsmith, who didn’t do much more than hand the ball off to Cascade Christian’s surplus of hard-running backs through the first two quarters, used his arm leading 14-6 to push the Cougars’ lead to three scores within a short third-quarter span.
Smith first found Zach Bartolome on a 3-yard strike to put the Cougars in front 21-6 with 1:45 left in the third, and after a Rapp interception, Smith aired out a 65-yard touchdown pass to Mason Tobeck, giving Cascade Christian a 28-6 advantage a mere 1:02 later.
Certainly, Sehome was looking to ride the wave of last season’s state playoff berth heading into the 2014 opener, but Cascade Christian exerted itself early by preventing the Mariners from touching the ball.
The Cougars owned the first-half possession battle, running 51 plays to Sehome’s 15. Cascade Christian engineered 16-, 10-, 13- and 12-play drives. Fortunately, for Sehome it limited the Cougars to only two scores on those four first-half possessions.
“I don’t even know if we touched the ball in the first half. I was like, ‘What do we run? I don’t even know yet, we haven’t even ran anything,’ so that was tough,” Norvell said. “They did a really good job of staying on the field.”
The Mariners did provide at least one first-half highlight when Rapp launched a beautiful ball to Gunnar Nelson for a 72-yard touchdown pass with 2:56 left before the break. The score trimmed Cascade Christian’s lead to 14-6.
Sehome gained an additional momentum surge after its defense held the Cougars out of the end zone following four tries from inside the Mariners’ 2 right before halftime.
Sehome’s only other score came from running back Tanner Patrick, who added a late TD with a 5-yard run to cut Cascade Christian’s lead to 35-13, but it proved too little too late.
Rapp led the Mariners with 132 yards rushing on 10 carries. The junior also threw for 95 yards.
“I think it’s going to be easy to look at the film and find ways we could have won the game, and (we’ll) go back and make that happen,” Norvell said.
The Mariners face city-rival Bellingham next at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at Civic Stadium.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
CC — Zach Bartolome 2 run (kick fail)
CC — Bryce Powers 2 run (Powers run)
Seh — Gunnar Nelson 72 pass from Taylor Rapp (kick fail)
CC — Powers 3 pass from Jaelin Goldsmith (Evan Patrick kick)
CC — Mason Tobeck 65 pass from Goldsmith (Patrick kick)
CC — Robert Terhune 55 interception return (Patrick kick)
Seh — Tanner Patrick 5 run (Gabriel Weight kick)
Seh.First downs 24 12Rushing Att-yards 54-248 20-145Comp-Att-Int 11-21-1 6-17-1Passing yards 235 95Penalties-yards 6-50 6-48Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2
RUSHING — Cascade Christian: Robert Terhune 23-97, Jaeline Goldsmith 8-75, Riley Ramos 9-32, Zach Bartolome 7-35, Bryce Powers 6-10, Madden Tobeck 1-(-1). Sehome: Taylor Rapp 10-132, Josh Slesk 3-7, Tanner Patrick 2-5, Dayton Nestlebush 1-3, Kevin Sun 1-0, Tyler Hruby 3-(-2) .
PASSING — Cascade Christian: Jaelin Goldsmith 11-21-235-1. Sehome: Taylor Rapp 6-16-95-1, Tyler Hruby 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Cascade Christian: Bryce Powers 5-61, Mason Tobeck 3-132, Robert Terhune 2-31, Zach Bartolome 1-11. Sehome: Gunnar Nelson 1-72 Gabriel Weight 3-6, Scott McIvor-Garman 1-11, Tyler Hruby 1-6.