When someone called Sehome’s junior quarterback “Colin,” he politely reminded the offender that his name is Gavin.
As in Gavin Kaepernick, a lanky 6-footer with a nice passing touch. He made his first varsity start memorable with a performance that would have made San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick smile widely.
While veteran standout Taylor Rapp, still only a junior himself, played mostly at running back after performing at quarterback a week earlier, Kaepernick played with the polish of an experienced signal-caller.
Kaepernick completed 7 of 11 passes for 135 yards with one interception in Sehome’s 38-14 non-conference victory over Bellingham on Friday, Sept. 12, at Civic Stadium.
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Rapp, meanwhile, showed that coach Bob Norvell’s Mariners (1-1) may have a multi-dimensional offense. Rapp gained 108 yards on 13 carries — all for positive yardage and all in the first half — and caught a picture-perfect 34-yard pass from Kaepernick in one of Rapp’s few second-half appearances in the backfield.
“I love playing QB,” said Kaepernick, who is related to the family that adopted Colin as a child. “I’ve talked with Colin quite a bit about it.”
Kaepernick, though, would just as soon talk about his all-veteran offensive line, a fearsome five that weighs from 245 to 280 pounds.
“Our line, they’re unbelievably good,” said Kaepernick, who said he was told Monday that he would start. “We just came into the week with confidence (despite last week’s 35-13 loss to Cascade Christian, ranked No. 2 in Class 1A). That loss really stung, and we had a good week (of workouts).”
As for Rapp, “I don’t care where I play, just so I can help the team win,” the versatile athlete said. “If we play together, we definitely can get back to the (Class 2A) state playoffs.”
Rapp praised Kaepernick’s poise.
“Gavin was solid; he did his thing. He’s fine,” Rapp said. “And our line always had a great push tonight.”
Norvell used the non-league game — Bellingham (0-2) is playing an independent schedule this season — to display the depth the coach is trying to develop. Sehome had nine running backs, four quarterbacks and seven receivers crack the statistics, as the Mariners finished with 444 total yards.
Senior running back Josh Slesk scored twice on shifty runs of 8 and 13 yards in the second quarter, giving Sehome a 28-7 halftime advantage. Jonny Reid, a senior getting his chance as the starting kicker, booted a 33-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and went 5 for 5 on extra points.
Kevin Sun, a junior, was Sehome’s second-leading ground-gainer with 62 yards on eight carries, all in the second half, and had a 19-yard touchdown run nullified by a penalty.
Bellingham quarterback Kalien Hayes scored on runs of 2 yards on the second quarter and 21 yards in the fourth period, finishing with 80 yards on 14 carries. Fellow senior Tanner Aliff pounded hard for 46 yards on 14 carries, many of them against Sehome’s starters, and junior Jacob Frazier picked up 40 yards on 10 carries.
“We played hard, and we were much improved tonight,” new Bellingham coach Ted Flint said. “I like the effort our team is giving and I love how they’re working hard. We just have to keep getting better each week, and I feel certain we’re to keep getting better.”
The prettiest play of the night was Rapp’s 34-yard touchdown reception.
“I just beat my defender and got open, and Gavin found me,” said Rapp, who has run for 240 yards on only 23 carries in his first two games.
But unlike last week, when Rapp had almost all of Sehome’s ground yardage, other running backs combined for 189 yards against the Red Raiders.
Sehome came out with obvious hunger and fire, scoring on its first four possessions.
Sehome —Taylor Rapp 4 run (Jonny Reid kick)
Sehome — Rapp 7 run (Reid kick)
Sehome — Josh Slesk 8 run (Reid kick)
Sehome — Slesk 13 run (Reid kick)
Bellingham — Kalian Hayes 2 run (Jace King kick)
Sehome — Rapp 34 pass from Gavin Kaepernick (Reid kick)
Sehome — FG Reid 33
Bellingham — Hayes 21 run (King kick)
B-EFirst downs2510Rushing Att-yards44-29846-171Comp-Att-Int9-15-12-5-1Passing yards14711Penalties-yards9-852-10Fumbles-lost1-01-0
RUSHING — Sehome: Taylor Rapp 13-108, Tyler Hruby 4-28, Josh Slesk 6-38, Daton Nestlebush 7-30, Gunnar Nelson 3-23, Kevin Sun 8-62, Braden Vosburgh 1-3, Anton Arena 1-3, Logaan Lyall 1-3. Bellingham: Kalian Hayes 14-80, Tanner Aliff 14-46, Kyle Hofstetter 3-4, Jacob Frazier 10-40, Jacob Thompson 1-2, Sean Ryder 1-(minus 1), Zach Lorenz 3-0.
PASSING — Sehome: Gavin Kaepernick 7-11-135-1, Taylor Rapp 1-2-8-0, Nicholas Roger 0-1-0-0, Logan Lyall 1-1-4-0. Bellingham: Kalian Hayes 2-4-11-0, Kyle Hofstetter 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Sehome: Tyler Hruby 3-44, Gunnar Nelson 1-26, Taylor Rapp 1-34, Drake Zinns 1-11, Marcus Montag 1-15, Kevin Sun 1-13, Max Diehl 1-4. Bellingham: Zach Lorenz 1-8, Eric Thompson 1-3.