A brawl involving both sidelines with 4:15 left in the fourth quarter led to Rainier Beach forfeiting its Class 3A quad-district playoff game against Squalicum with the Storm up 35-7 Friday, Nov. 4, at Civic Stadium.
Rainier Beach quarterback Derek McKinney ran the ball to the left side, near his own 10-yard line and closest to Rainier Beach’s bench, and was tackled there. Shoving between both teams ensued and players from the Rainier Beach sideline came onto the field to join the shoving match.
Storm coach Nick Lucey was one of the first people from Squalicum’s sideline to reach the scrum and start breaking it up.
“None of our players left the bench – not one,” Squalicum athletic director Patrick Brown said. “The only coach who left was Nick Lucey. The only people that left to assist our 11 players with the entire Rainier Beach team were administrators and teachers. There was not one player.”
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Lucey said all he saw was one of Rainier Beach’s players going after a Squalicum player, and his concern from there was getting his players out of the situation.
“Honestly, I’m still processing what happened,” Lucey said minutes after the game ended. “I’ve never seen a football game get to that point and, unfortunately, it got out of control to that point. That was embarrassing to Washington state high school football.”
Brown credited the Rainier Beach coaching staff for helping separate the two teams.
After the players cooled down, the Rainier Beach team started walking off the field as Lucey pulled his team to the end zone farthest away from the Rainier Beach locker room. Rainier Beach’s locker room was located next to Squalicum’s student section, which caused a few more heated moments before all the players made it inside.
The officials for the game left the field immediately without giving an explanation, but Lucey said, “I think Rainier Beach’s behavior merited not finishing the game.”
The game had been chippy throughout as multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were issued on both teams. Rainier Beach was called for 17 penalties and Squalicum nine.
Before the melee, Squalicum dominated again on both sides of the ball. The Storm was led on offense by Garrett Sorenson, who threw for 118 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 66. Triston Smith led all backs with 131 yards and a second-quarter touchdown.
“We shoved the ball down their throat, and we didn’t have to throw it a whole lot,” Lucey said.
Squalicum’s defense limited Rainier Beach to a third-quarter touchdown by De’Lovonte Sanders but had to deal with a multitude of running backs. Rainier Beach ran for 286 yards.
Brown said he was not sure if the game would be considered a 2-0 forfeit by Rainier Beach or a 35-7 victory by Squalicum.
“I have to give credit to their head coach,” Brown said. “He was the one who decided there would be no good to finishing the game after that, and I think he was right.”
Either way, Squalicum (10-0) moves on to the state playoffs for the third straight year. They will receive the Northwest District’s No. 2 seed to the 3A state playoffs and host the West Central District No. 4 seed in the first round either Friday or Saturday. Mercer Island and Bonney Lake will play for that spot 2 p.m. Saturday in Sumner.
Squ – Ben Peterson 16 run (Peterson kick)
Squ – Triston Smith 5 run (Peterson kick)
Squ – Peterson 37 pass from Garrett Sorenson (Peterson kick)
RB – De’Lovonte Sanders 10 run (Mohamad Ali kick)
Squ – Peterson 1 run (Peterson kick)
Squ – Noah Westerhoff 22 pass from Sorenson (Peterson kick)
RUSHING – Rainier Beach: Darrien Sampson 6-28, Freddy Roberson 14-85, Sanders 8-43, Jerimiah Sio 11-78, Romello Willis 6-28, Corey Sampson 1-19, Derek McKinney 1-5. Squalicum: Smith 16-131, Sorenson 8-66, Peterson 8-47.
PASSING – Rainier Beach: McKinney 0-7-0-0. Squalicum: Sorenson 8-10-0-118.
RECEIVING – Rainier Beach: None. Squalicum: Peterson 4-62, Smith 1-21, Jake Burns 1-(-1), Damek Mitchell 1-14, Westerhoff 1-22.