Sehome High School’s football team wasn’t rattled by a couple of potentially disheartening examples of big-play adversity Friday. As a result, the Mariners’ 35-14 win over Cedarcrest moved Sehome into first place alone in the Northwest Conference’s Class 2A Lake Division.
As exciting as that was for seniors such as standout running back/linebacker Dawson Smith, the first thing he did after helping lead an old-school type victory song with a crowd of students at Civic Stadium was to yell to them, “This is our first homecoming win in 11 years.”
“It has been a long time,” veteran athletics director Colin Cushman confirmed. “Our last homecoming win came on a field goal in the last second against Mount Baker.”
While Friday night’s victory wasn’t that dramatic, the obviously improving Mariners could celebrate an entire night of big plays. What especially gratified coach Kevin Beason was that “This was our best four quarters of the season. We did get better.”
This came after the Mariners (4-2 overall, 2-0 Lake) endured a few of their worst seconds when the Red Wolves (4-2, 1-1) scored on the game’s first play — a 69-yard trick pass from 130-pound sophomore wide receiver Luke Amble to a wide open Nathan Gerde.
Sehome’s response? Nothing less than an immediate 65-yard, eight-play drive on which Dawson’s 17-yard burst set up a 12-yard touchdown run as he picked his holes expertly.
The next time the Mariners had the ball — thanks to a 25-yard interception return by sophomore Caleb Ryan — junior quarterback Jacob Kaepernick hit Melloy Nelson in stride for an over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone and a 14-7 lead.
The Mariners quickly increased their lead to 21-7, thanks to a fumble recovery by standout linebacker Felipe Arrelola-Martinez and the ensuing 1-yard touchdown on a keeper by Kaepernick. Smith inspired the Mariners and thrilled the large crowd when he helped set up the score by dragging several tacklers for a 13-yard gain on what looked for all the world like a wild rugby scrum.
Then came the second example of big-play adversity. The Red Wolves got a 70-yard kickoff return from Sean Shannon along with an 8-yard penalty on the play. Spencer Coomer immediately scored on an 8-yard run and Sehome’s halftime advantage was only 21-14.
Did that shake the Mariners’ confidence?
Not at all, as sophomore Colin Dorsch demonstrated with a diving interception midway through the third quarter. Three plays later, Tim Malo made another classic touchdown grab in stride on a 27-yard pass by Kaepernick into the end zone.
“Cedarcrest did a good job of trying to disguise their defenses and confuse us, but the kids responded real well,” said offensive coordinator Greg Terpstra. “We had our best-balanced game. I loved how we ran the ball.”
“I’m real proud of our defense,” said coordinator Jordan Chalfant. “They gave us our best two defensive games in a row (including last week’s 14-7 league-opening win over Mountlake Terrace).”
Smith scored the Mariners’ final touchdown with a 4-yard run and finished with 117 yards on 19 carries. Dorsch ‘s 44-yard run set up the score and gave the hard-driving sophomore 100 yards on 13 carries.
“Those two (Smith and Dorsch) both work so hard,” Beason said. “A lot of our kids play both ways.”
Kaepernick went well over 1,000 yards passing for the season, with nine touchdowns, and beyond 3,500 yards in two seasons of leading the varsity. He completed 10 of 19 passes for 148 yards.
Nelson’s touchdown catch, his fourth this season, extended his school career record to 15. Malo‘s five catches for 82 yards included his fifth score.
The Mariners limited the Red Wolves to 192 yards passing and 64 rushing. Sehome displayed its balance with 233 rushing and 381 yards in all.
In other Friday games
Lynden 37, Burlington-Edison 6: The Lions (5-1, 3-0) retained the 2A Sky Division lead and won their fifth in a row, setting up a possible home game for the title Friday against Sedro-Woolley.
Steven DiLorenzo, playing the first three quarters, rushed for 196 yards on 16 carries, including a 51-yard touchdown on the first play against Burlington (1-5, 1-2). DiLorezo went over 900 yards for the season.
Baylor Ayres completed 5 of 9 passes for 87 yards and touchdowns of 40 and 18 yards to Brock Heppner, who alternates at quarterback. Heppner also scored on a 2-yard run and Ayres gained 82 yards on 14 carries..
Senior Marko Samoukovic kicked a 41-yard field goal, his second kick in two games beyond 40 yards. Lynden coach Blake VanDalen noted Samoukovic tied the Whatcom County career record with his 17th field goal, matching the total of former Lions standout Santiago Lopez.
Cade Slayton threw a 4-yard pass to Austin Anderson for Lynden’s final score.
The Lions came in inspired by the Seattle Seahawks’ Coach of the Week Award, which went to VanDalen after Lynden’s 37-6 win over Lakewood, which bounced back Friday with a 35-27 win over Archbishop Murphy.
“The kids really did a good job of keeping their competitive edge,” said VanDalen, praising his players and staff for making the award possible. “It’s a grind in our division and we’re still grinding.”
DiLorenzo’s 121 yards rushing and three touchdowns helped win the award along with more than 150 yards passing and more than 100 rushing from Ayres.
Mount Baker 57, Nooksack Valley 7: The Mountaineers (6-0, 3-0) retained the NWC 1A lead as six players scored touchdowns against the Pioneers (2-4, 0-3) to conclude first-half league play.
With the score 34-0 at the half, Mark Tikonov scored on an interception return from beyond midfield to start a running clock with a 40-point lead.
Running backs Jason Lee and Toby Jefferson scored one touchdown apiece and junior quarterback Mason Jacoby threw for two scores to Garrett Smith and for one to Ayden Rodriguez.
Sophomore Tyler Kentner scored on a kickoff return of more than 80 yards and also on a run (complete statistics were not yet available). Miguel Zavala made 7 of 8 conversion attempts.
Braden Leyba scored Nooksack’s touchdown on a pass from Keldon Weidkamp.
“I think the kids came out ready to play and kept the pressure on,” Baker coach Ron Lepper said. “It was another team effort on defense and I liked how balanced our offense was.”
The win gave Baker 99 points in two games in the wake of the Mounties’ 42-14 win over Meridian, in which Jefferson ran for nearly 150 yards and Jacoby and Rodriguez were responsible for two scores apiece.
Lynden Christian 38, Meridian 14: Jackson Corkill caught four passes for 128 yards, including a 72-yarder from Trajan Schouten, and junior Logan Dykstra threw scoring passes of 15 yards to Bryce Bouwman and 32 to Levi Korthuis. Tanner Feenstra also sparked the air game with four catches for 61 yards.
Schouten completed 8 of 22 passes for 189 yards and Dykstra went 4 for 6 for 85 yards. Corkill also scored on a run and Cody Bajema scored on a 21-yarder.
LC will have a chance to move into a tie for first place at Mount Baker on Friday night.
Meridian quarterback Cameron Webster threw for two touchdowns and well over 100 yards. In last week’s loss to Mount Baker, Webster passed for 170 yards and a touchdown to Trent Martin.
LC coach Dan Kaemingk credited junior defensive end Grant VanderVelden and senior linebacker Zach Sipma with outstanding efforts. The Lyncs came off a 33-0 win over Nooksack, in which Kaemingk was happy to see Schouten throw for 175 yards on 16-for-23 accuracy.
Sedro-Woolley 42, Blaine 2: The Cubs (5-1, 2-1) set up their big shot at Lynden on Friday with a win over the Borderites (1-5, 0-3), who are playing their first season in the 2A Sky Division.
Anacortes 58, Bellingham 0: The Red Raiders (1-4, 0-1) suffered at least half a dozen significant injuries last week in their 51-30 non-league loss to Evergreen, in which Morgan Cavalier passed for nearly 300 yards and Andre Triplett had more than 200 yards receiving and scored two touchdowns. Friday’s game against Anacortes was not listed in the standings since the Seahawks are not playing a complete varsity season.
In a late night Saturday game, Squalicum were taking records of 3-2, 1-2 into action against Ferndale’s 3-2, 3-0 marks in a Wesco 3A North showdown.
Squalicum came off a 48-28 win over Meadowdale in which sophomore county rushing leader Ben Schlenbaker ran for more than 200 yards and scores of 85 and 78 yards to go over the 1,000-yard mark halfway through the season, and Dedrick Mitchell had more than 100 yards receiving and three scores in his first game back from an injury. Mason Binning threw for four touchdowns and surpassed 200 yards, aided by a touchdown catch by Bryce Pennock.
Alden Schrock set a school kicking record with 12 points including two field goals.
Ferndale came off a 48-22 win over Oak Harbor, spiced by sophomore Ryan Pelton’s 150 yards rushing and 29-yard score and Jacob Broselle’s three touchdowns. Freshman Isaiah Carlson’s first game produced more than 100 yards on the ground and two touchdowns including a pass from Haiden Rasmussen.
Week 7 games
Lynden Christian at Mount Baker, 7 p.m.
Meridian at Nooksack Valley, 7 p.m.
Sedro-Woolley at Lynden, 7 p.m.
Lakewood at Blaine, 7 p.m.
Ferndale vs. Marysville-Pilchuck at Quil Ceda Stadium, 7 p.m.
Squalicum at Stanwood, 7 p.m.
Mountlake Terrace vs. Bellingham at Civic Stadium, 7 p.m.
West Seattle vs. Sehome at Civic Stadium, 2 p.m.
Lummi at Crescent, 2 p.m.