Sehome’s defense shut down the Anacortes offense, and the Mariners won the opening game of their Northwest Conference football season 38-7 on Friday, Sept. 19, at Anacortes High School.
Gavin Kaepernick led the Sehome offense, going 11 for 17 passing for 198 yards, four passing touchdowns and an interception.
“Having so much talent on offense is great,” Kaepernick said. “Having weapons everywhere means there’s always someone open.”
Taylor Rapp added 69 rushing yards on 13 attempts and four catches for 56 yards. He also had a receiving touchdown.
The Mariners looked like they might be in trouble early, though. On just the sixth play from scrimmage, Anacortes quarterback Camden McLaughlin found Joe D’Amelio streaking down the middle of the field uncovered for a 54-yard touchdown. An offensive holding call negated the play, and Sehome forced the Seahawks into a three-and-out.
The punt was fumbled by Jonny Reid, but he managed to recover it. Rapp rattled off five consecutive rushes for 31 yards to put the Mariners on Anacortes’ 25. Two plays later, Kaepernick found Gunnar Nelson in the middle of the field for what looked like another first down. But Nelson fought off the tackler who hounded him immediately after the catch, and turned upfield and found the end zone.
Anacortes running back Julien Collins took two rushes for 13 yards on the next possession, looking to repeat his performance from last week when he ran for 128 yards. Sehome’s defense had different ideas as they held him to just three yards on his next carry, forcing another Anacortes punt following an incompletion and another run for no gain.
Sehome drove from the Anacortes 43 all the way to the five-yard line, where the Seahawks held strong to keep the Mariners out of the end zone. Sehome salvaged a field goal on Reid’s kick to go up 10-0 as the second half began.
Another Anacortes drive stalled as McLaughlin threw three incompletions, but found his favorite target, Ty Johnson, for two catches for 19 yards. Sehome limited Collins to two yards rushing, D’Amelio to three yards, and Jay Kiesser to six on the drive as the Mariners forced a punt.
“We wanted to force them to throw,” Sehome coach Bob Norvell said. “(Johnson) is going to get his catches, but we thought we could cover him enough to not let him hurt us.”
Johnson finished the game with seven catches for 94 yards, but was held without a touchdown.
Rapp started off the next drive with an 11-yard run that was brought back due to a holding call. Kaepernick found Reid for a 19-yard gain, Rapp for a 29-yard gain, and Josh Slesk for a 12-yard gain to set Sehome up on the Anacortes 29. From there Anacortes held Sehome again, forcing an incompletion before picking off Kaepernick’s pass to Slesk on the Seahawks’ 15-yard line.
Anacortes failed to capitalize on the turnover as Sehome recovered a fumble on the Anacortes 24. Runs by Tyler Hruby and Rapp set the Mariners up on the 13, where Kaepernick found Marcus Montag for a touchdown.
The Mariners’ defense again held Anacortes, as they went into the half with a 17-0 lead over the Seahawks.
“After that first quarter I could see some of the Anacortes kids huffing and puffing,” Norvell said of the early success his team found.
The Mariners went three-and-out on their first drive of the second half, and this time Anacortes capitalized. The drive was highlighted by a 15-yard run by Collins, a 30-yard run by D’Amelio, and a 25-yard pass to Johnson from McLaughlin. P.J. Monroe punched the ball in from four yards out to the Seahawks on the board.
Sehome answered immediately, as Kaepernick found Rapp on a short screen pass which Rapp took all 74 yards for the score.
“We have a great receiving corps,” Norvell said. “That’s why we could get the screen to work.”
Anacortes punted on another three-and-out, and Sehome again took advantage. On the first play, Kaepernick found Nelson again for a 65-yard touchdown. Nelson was wide open, and a diving Seahawks’ defender missed the pass and Nelson as he turned to take the ball to the end zone.
Early in the fourth after forcing another Anacortes punt, Sehome put some of the backups in and grinded its way to the red zone where Daton Nestlebush punched in a one-yard touchdown run.
Anacortes fumbled on its next possession, and Sehome’s second-stringers continued to grind out the clock to end the game.
Sehome improves to 2-1 overall, and 1-0 in NWC play. Anacortes falls to 1-2 on the year, and 0-1 in the NWC.
The Mariners will hope to continue their winning ways when they host Blaine at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at Civic Stadium.
Seh — Gunnar Nelson 25 pass from Gavin Kaepernick (Jonny Reid kick)
Seh — Jonny Reid 20 field goal
Seh — Marcus Montag 13 pass from Kaepernick (Reid kick)
Ana — P.J. Monroe 4 run (Zachary Bowman kick)
Seh — Taylor Rapp 74 pass from Kaepernick (Reid kick)
Seh — Nelson 65 pass from Kaepernick (Reid kick)
Seh — Daton Nestlebush 1 run (Reid kick)
RUSHING — Sehome: Taylor Rapp 13-69, Kevin Sun 5-29, Tyler Hruby 3-20, Daton Nestlebush 4-20, Josh Slesk 7-18, Gavin Kaepernick 4-6, Anton Arena 2-4, Gabriel Weight 1-(-1). Anacortes: Julien Collins 14-55, P.J. Monroe 7-41, Joe D’Amelio 7-31, Jay Kiesser 1-6, Michael Aydelotte 1-4.
PASSING — Sehome: Gavin Kaepernick 11-17-1-4-198, Taylor Rapp 0-1-0-0. Anacortes: Camden McLaughlin 8-21-0-0-100.
RECEIVING — : Sehome: Gunnar Nelson 2-90, Taylor Rapp 4-56, Jonny Reid 2-25, Marcus Montag 1-13, Josh Slesk 1-12, Tyler Hruby 1-2. Anacortes: Ty Johnson 7-94, Jordan Neville 1-6.