It took just a shade under eight minutes to figure out Sehome coach Bob Norvell’s game plan against Sedro-Woolley on Friday, Oct. 10. Seven minutes, 56 seconds to be exact.
Thanks to a 17-play drive that ended with a 32-yard Jonny Reid field goal on the game’s first offensive possession, that’s how long the Mariners were able to keep the Cubs and their den of talented running backs from doing damage to open the Class 2A/3A Northwest Conference football game at Civic Stadium.
“Yeah, that was our plan,” Norvell said of the plan to play offensive keep away.
For the first 20 minutes of the game, Sehome did a terrific job of doing just that, as they kept the Sedro defense on the field for 15:31, thanks in part to a pair of fourth-down conversions, including one on a 24-yard fake punt run by Reid on fourth-and-22.
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But for all the good planning and strong early execution in those first 20 minutes, it took only four seconds after that 20-minute mark for Quinten Roppel to show exactly why it was so important to limit the Cubs’ offensive opportunities. On his first carry of the game, Roppel broke around around left end, shed one tackler and galloped 60 yards for a touchdown that served as a catalyst for a 49-9 Sedro-Woolley victory.
Before halftime came, Roppel would add a 15-yard touchdown reception with just 7.6 seconds left on the clock. That second score was aided by a questionable timeout call that was credited to Sehome (2-4, 1-3 NWC 2A/3A) on offense with less than a minute left in the half before a third-and-11 play at its own 30.
But before that four minute furry, Sehome could seemingly do no wrong.
The opening drive was a thing of beauty, as the Mariners mixed a dose of slashing Taylor Rapp runs up the middle with some timely Aaron Nichols passes. Sehome converted its first two third downs on the drive. And when the Mariners couldn’t convert a third-and-5 pass from the Cubs’ 39, Nichols found Gabriel Weight with a fourth-down pass for 12 yards.
“We mixed it up really nice — completed passes and ran the ball well and did some play action,” Norvell said.
The drive eventually bogged down at the Sedro 15, but Reid made sure the Mariners got points on the board first.
The defense then forced a three-and-out, leading to a nine-play drive that consumed 3:43, before Sehome turned the ball over on downs when Nichols’ scramble ended 2 yards shy on a fourth-and-11 play at the Sedro 36.
Tyler Haggen quickly got the ball back for Sehome, though, when he pounced on a fumble on the Cubs’ next offensive possession, leading to another 3:02 drive by the Mariners before they again turned the ball over on downs at the Sedro 35.
And two plays later, Roppel started things rolling for the Cubs.
“They’re good at making plays,” Norvell said. “They made some third-down plays. We just didn’t make plays when we needed to. Broken tackles is what that team lives on.”
They showed that in the second half.
Mason Elms sandwiched 34- and 52-yard touchdown receptions for Sedro around Mason Montag’s 4-yard TD catch for Sehome to make it 28-9 after three. Elms added a 5-yard TD run in the fourth, before Bryce Hornbeck closed out the scoring with a 41-yard TD run and a 38-yard touchdown catch.
“I think our team is still growing,” Norvell said. “It’s just too bad we let that one get away. That’s a good team. Now our team is up against the wall, and we’ll see what they’re made of.”
The Mariners will find out against Squalicum on Friday, Nov. 17, when they face a must-win game for the city championship.
Seh— Jonny Reid 32 FG
SW — Quinten Roppel 60 run (Adrian Vasquez kick)
SW — Roppel 15 pass from Devin Willard (Vasquez kick)
SW — Mason Elms 34 pass from Willard (Vasquez kick)
Seh — Marcus Montag 4 pass from Aaron Nichols (kick failed)
SW — Elms 52 pass from Willard (Vasquez kick)
SW — Elms 5 run (Vasquez kick)
SW — Bryce Hornbeck 41 run (Vasquez kick)
SW — Hornbeck 38 pass from Carter Needham (Davis Mihelich kick)
RUSHING — Sedro-Woolley: Jacob Farrell 8-25, Devin Willard 3-10, Quinn Carpenter 8-25, Damian McDougle 4-12, Quinten Roppel 5-96, Mason Elms 1-5, Bryce Hornbeck 2-42, Noah Stroosma 2-2, Dallas Shelton 1-(-1). Sehome: Aaron Nichols 10-15, Taylor Rapp 13-45, Tyler Hruby 2-2, Jonny Reid 1-24, Kevin Sun 3-15, Josh Slesk 3-9, Daton Nestlebush 4-24, Tanner Patrick 1-7.
PASSING — Sedro-Woolley: Devin Willard 9-13-0-184, Carter Needham 2-3-0-40. Sehome: Aaron Nichols 9-23-1-56, Gavin Kaepernick 2-6-0-13.
RECEIVING — Sedro-Woolley: Anthony Cann 3-42, Mason Elms 5-127, Quinten Roppel 1-15, Thor Wagoner 1-2, Bryce Hornbeck 1-38. Sehome: Marcus Montag 2-15, Gabriel Weight 2-20, Taylor Rapp 2-3, Gunnar Nelson 3-13, Tyler Hruby 1-12, Michael Evans 1-6.