Sehome’s football team again appeared to be calibrating properly late in the season following last week’s huge win over Ferndale.
The win kept the Mariners alive in the race to claim the Northwest Conference’s final spot in the Class 2A District Playoffs.
It was only a year ago Sehome pulled together in the final weeks of the season to make a state-tournament run.
Looking to conjure up more magic during a win-and-your-in, regular-season finale against Burlington-Edison, the Mariners’ bid to reach the postseason back-to-back years was denied.
Sehome’s defense kept the Mariners in the game, but the offense imploded deep in Tigers’ territory time-after-time, as Sehome suffered a 21-13 NWC loss Thursday, Oct. 30, at Civic Stadium.
“We played hard,” Mariners coach Bob Norvell said. “They are a good team. They bring a ton of pressure. It’s a rainy, slippery night. We tried to make plays, but it just wasn’t easy.”
Six times Sehome (3-6, 2-5 NWC 2A/3A) breached Burlington-Edison’s 35-yard line, but the Mariners only came away with 13 points.
Sehome used a combination of short passes and a methodical run game to move the ball in small spurts at times, but ultimately the Mariners couldn’t get the second half breakthrough touchdown in desperately needed.
Sehome wide receiver and kicker Gabriel Weight accounted for all of the Mariners’ points. He finished with four catches for 61 yards, caught a 6-yard TD pass from quarterback Aaron Nichols, booted through a 32- and a 33-yard field goal and also tacked on his touchdown’s extra point.
Nichols, who finished 17 of 42 for 175 yards and a touchdown, was erratic at times throwing in the rain, but he completed eight of his last 12 passes.
Sehome’s run game struggled mightily against Burlington-Edison’s run defense. The Mariners amassed just 32 rushing yards on 29 carries. Josh Slesk led Sehome with 14 carries for 36 yards.
“It’s tough,” said Norvell of the Mariners’ inability to score in the second half. “When you get down to the red zone, you have to capitalize, and we just didn’t make it happen. That’s going to be our whole season, woulda, shoulda.”
The Tigers took a 21-13 lead with 8:11 left in the third quarter, and Sehome once had the ball on Burlington-Edison’s 26 before turning it over on downs, reached the Tigers’ 18 before settling for a punt and finally with under five minutes to go navigated to Burlington-Edison’s 33 before again turning the ball over on downs.
For all of the Mariners’ late offensive struggles, the group was clicking early, though.
Nichols led Sehome on a five-play, 54-yard TD drive on its first possession. The Mariners quarterback hit Weight for a 6-yard slant coming from right to left to put Sehome in front 7-0.
Weight increased that lead to 10-0 after striking a 32-yard field goal with 1:45 to go in the first quarter, but as soon as the Mariners added momentum, Burlington-Edison’s Tavion Swanson swiped it right back on the ensuing kickoff.
The speedy junior took the ball 92-yards down the left side of the field to trim Sehome’s lead to 10-7.
Tigers quarterback Mason Schwetz then capped a 12-play, 42-yard drive spanning 5:22 with a 2-yard TD run, giving Burlington-Edison a 14-10 advantage.
Sehome’s final points of the game came on a 33-yard Weight field goal with 5 seconds remaining in the first half.
The only reason the Mariners were in the game late was thanks to an impressive defensive showing.
Sehome’s defense limited Burlington-Edison to 141 total yards, giving up just 14 passing yards. Linebackers Tyler Hruby, Slesk, defensive back Taylor Rapp and defensive lineman Tyler Haggen were just a few who made several outstanding plays.
“Our defense played well last week, and they played well again tonight, good enough to win,” Norvell said. “You got to score points to win football games in this league, and we just didn’t get it done.”
With the win, Burlington-Edison (6-3, 4-3) locked up the final 2A district berth. The Mariners will play a crossover game next week against a team to be determined.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
Seh — Gabriel Weight 6 pass from Aaron Nichols (Weight kick)
Seh — Weight 32 field goal
BE — Tavion Swanson 92 kickoff return (Nathan Osborn kick)
BE — Mason Schwetz 2 run (Osborn kick)
Seh — Weight 33 field goal
BE — Lorenzo Mationg 4 run (Osborn kick)
RUSHING — Burlington-Edison: Mason Schwetz 16-86, Jae Evans 8-15, Lorenzo Mationg 6-19, Timmie Rush 3-15, Hunter Anderson 1-(-8) . Sehome: Josh Slesk 14-36, Aaron Nichols 11-(-11), Taylor Rapp 3-9, Tyler Hruby 1-(-2) .
PASSING — Burlington-Edison: Mason Schwetz 4-9-14-0. Sehome: Aaron Nichols 17-42-175-0.
RECEIVING — Burlington-Edison: Jae Evans 2-(-1), Derek Cherryholmes 1-10, Tarren Lautenbach 1-5. Sehome: Gabriel Weight 4-61, Tyler Hruby 4-340, Marcus Montag 3-30, Josh Slesk 3-23, Gunnar Nelson 2-15, Taylor Rapp 1-6.