In a game that developed into an old-fashioned shootout in the second half, the one thing the Squalicum football team desperately wanted was a nice time-consuming drive.
The second-ranked Storm was clinging to a six-point lead over fourth-ranked Ferndale with 5:03 remaining Saturday, Oct. 22, at a packed Civic Stadium.
And for four plays, that’s exactly what Squalicum got – four runs netting 24 yards, two first downs and nearly churning three minutes off the clock.
But then Triston Smith got the only thing that was better than a time-consuming drive – a 38-yard touchdown run up the gut of the Golden Eagles defense to double the Squalicum lead. That was enough for Squalicum to hold on for a 3A Wesco North Division title-clinching 47-42 victory that lived up to the hype.
Second-ranked Squalicum (8-0, 5-0) ended up backing up its first 2A/3A Northwest Conference title from a year ago with the division crown.
Smith finished with 210 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the game, the last putting his team up 47-35 with 2:22 to play. Damek Mitchell finished with 172 receiving yards and two touchdowns to complement Smith’s big night.
After Smith’s touchdown, Ferndale managed a frenetic drive capped off by an 8-yard touchdown pass from James Hinson to Justice Powell to pull within five points, but Squalicum’s Ben Peterson recovered the ensuing onside kick to put the game away.
What it means
As the 3A Wesco North Division champion, Squalicum receives the Wesco No. 2 seed to the 3A quad-district playoffs and will host the Metro League No. 5 seed Nov. 4 or 5. The winner of that game will receive the Northwest District’s No. 2 seed and host the West Central District No. 4 seed Nov. 11 or 12 in the first round of the state playoffs.
Second-place Ferndale receives the Wesco No. 4 seed to the quad-district playoffs and will host the South Sound Conference No. 3 seed in Week 10. The winner of that game receives the Northwest District’s No. 4 seed and will travel to play the Sea-King District top seed in the first round of state.
With the exception of James Hinson’s 35-yard touchdowns pass to Ben Broselle to open the scoring in the first quarter, the Golden Eagles struggled to get much going offensively in the first half. Ferndale managed just 113 yards of total offense during the first 24 minutes and nearly half (55) came on three runs right before the half.
Squalicum also struggled to get in gear offensively early, but a fumble recovery by Isiah Harrington, gave the Storm the kick they were lacking. One play later, Garrett Sorenson found Damek Mitchell from 19 yards out to even the score.
Mitchell and Sorenson would hook up for a 16-yard TD pass early in the second quarter, and Triston Smith added a 2-yard scoring run, before Ferndale’s second fumble in its own end of the field led to a 31-yard Ben Peterson field goal to take a 24-7 halftime lead.
Big-play third quarter
Broselle drew the Golden Eagles within 10 points when he broke around the left end and sprinted 88 yards for a TD.
Squalicum answered on its next possession with a 50-yard TD run by Smith, but Broselle got it right back when he hauled in a 72-yard scoring toss from Hinson.
A 53-yard catch by Mitchell set up a Peterson field goal less than a minute into the fourth quarter.
The Golden Eagles had two 100-yard backs, as Powell finished with 105 yards and Broselle had 132 and a TD. Each also pulled in two TD passes from Hinson, who finished with 252 yards and the four TDs.
Fern – Ben Broselle 35 pass from James Hinson (Patrick Hegarty kick)
Squal – Damek Mitchell 19 pass from Garrett Sorenson (Ben Peterson kick)
Squal – Mitchell 16 pass from Sorenson (Peterson kick)
Squal – Triston Smith 2 run (Peterson kick)
Squal – Peterson 31 FG
Fern – Brosell 88 run (Hegarty kick)
Squal – Smith 50 run (Peterson kick)
Fern – Broselle 72 pass from Hinson (Hegarty kick)
Squal – Peterson 25 FG
Fern – Cole Semu 13 run (Hegarty kick)
Squal – Peterson 10 pass from Sorenson (Peterson kick)
Fern – Justice Powell 38 pass from Hinson (Hegarty kick)
Squal – Smith 38 run (pass failed)
Fern – Powell 8 pass from Hinson (Hegarty kick)
RUSHING – Ferndale: Cole Semu 9-44, Justice Powell 8-105, Ben Broselle 9-132, James Hinson 3-(-29). Squalicum: Triston Smith 22-210, Garrett Sorenson 18-12, Ben Peterson 7-26.
PASSING – Ferndale: James Hinson 15-21-0-252. Squalicum: Garrett Sorenson 13-24-0-198.
RECEIVING – Ferndale: Jared Emmert 1-5, Ben Broselle 4-137, Jacob Kildall 5-16, Cole Semu 1-16, Justice Powell 4-78. Squalicum: Damek Mitchell 10-172, Triston Smith 2-16, Ben Peterson 1-10.