Sehome’s unrelated Roberts boys, seniors Dylan and Austin, will always treasure the major roles they have played in the city of Bellingham’s unique high school football surge.
At this crucial point, playoff elimination pressure will be on the rest of the way, beginning with their quick rematch with rival Bellingham High in a Northwest District 2A opener Friday night at Civic Stadium.
It’s literally the only game in town this week. The rest of the 2A and 3A playoff games are in Snohomish County, 1B Lummi is at Darrington, and the county’s two 1A games were scheduled Thursday night.
“I found out Saturday about the rematch (after Sehome’s 54-27 comeback win over the Red Raiders the night before). I was actually surprised, but I was also excited,” said Austin, Sehome’s quick wide receiver/cornerback.
“I learned about it Saturday. I actually wanted to play them again because of the rivalry and the high of (coming off) our win,” said Dylan, Sehome’s leading ground-gainer and also an outstanding linebacker. “It’s such a big game to do it all over. It will be such a challenge for both teams.”
Sehome and Bellingham, which shared the Northwest Conference Lake Division title with Mountlake Terrace, all at 5-3 overall and 4-1 in league, will have to share the excitement of city fans with Wesco 3A North champion Squalicum (7-1, 5-1). The Storm will play at South champion Snohomish (6-2, 6-0) for the Wesco title and No. 1 and No. 2 seeding in the winner-to-state games next weekend.
Since Bellingham became a three-team town in 2000 – with the reopening of Bellingham High (after a two-year remodel) following the opening of Squalicum in 1998 – this is the first season all three schools could claim state tournament dreams heading into the post-season.
“I think that’s on some people’s minds, but I don’t think it’s really hit a lot of people yet,” Dylan said.
The Bellingham-Sehome rematch was created by the quirks of the Rating Performance Index, which was used to seed the first round of the 2A playoffs after the top four teams in the historically stronger Sky Division were awarded byes Friday in the 12-team event.
The Roberts boys weren’t about to be caught talking beyond this week’s game, but this will give Lake Division survivors a chance to prove they can beat Sky Division teams.
The Roberts boys both have excellent statistics submitted to media outlets by coach Kevin Beason: The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Dylan has nearly 800 yards rushing and an average of about seven yards per carry while the 5-foot-10, 155-pound Austin has nearly 600 yards receiving and averages about 17 yards per catch.
They are both well aware that their good numbers are partly the result of seeing sophomore quarterback Jacob Kaepernick develop well enough to lead the county with more than 2,000 yards passing. Beason has been thrilled to see him throw for 21 touchdowns to a wide variety of receivers.
“You can see the growth in Jacob,” said Austin, who listed six touchdown catches plus one score when he played backup quarterback. “He’s a good leader and talks well to the team It’s like he’s at home.”
Dylan called Kaepernick, who turns 16 on Oct. 31, “super mature.”
“Jacob is not cocky, but he is confident.”
Dylan, who rushed for 171 yards against Bellingham last Friday, and Jacob, who passed for 329, combined for an amazing 500 yards.
The Roberts boys said, however, that the most amazing statistic on the team may belong to Jay Traviere, who has seven interceptions this season and 13 over a span of two seasons – and maybe counting. Senior receiver Brett Meggyesy is also capable of big numbers, as he showed with six catches for 101 yards and a touchdown in helping Sehome rally from a 21-0 first-quarter deficit against the Red Raiders.
While they realized there isn’t room to list all their teammates, the Roberts boys figured it was fitting to give a shoutout to linemen Logan Henry, Koa Ostos, Quentin Icay, Dawson Burroughs, Jake Ortega and tight end Christian Knudtson, along with middle linebacker Dawson Smith (who also ran for three scores against Bellingham) and defensive lineman Jake Dentel.
Austin, also a standout basketball player, said he is grateful he returned to football as a junior after playing C team quarterback as a freshman. Dylan first played football as an eighth-grader at Fairhaven Middle School when he switched his focus from baseball.
Austin wants to play basketball in college and Dylan believes “I deserve a shot” at college football on some level.
“These boys will make great citizens, employees and fathers,” Beason said, praising the character and leadership of both.
Beason noted that Dylan, an unusually shifty runner, “is patient with his blocks, which works when you combine that with his burst. He’s doing exactly what we expected and his leadership and work ethic are outstanding.”
As for Austin, the coach notes his “sheer athleticism, field smarts and good routes.”
Sehome at Bellingham (at Civic Stadium), 7 p.m. (elimination game)
Blaine at Mountlake Terrace (at Edmonds Stadium) 5 p.m. (elimination game)
Squalicum at Snohomish, 7 p.m.
Ferndale at Meadowdale (at Edmonds Stadium), 8 p.m. (elimination game)
Lummi at Darrington 7 p.m.
Note: Lynden Christian at Meridian and Nooksack at Mount Baker were scheduled Thursday.