High School Football

With playoffs nearing, Sehome receiving duo ‘take ownership of the program seriously’

Sehome High School pass receiving standouts Melloy Nelson and Tim Malo feature fast-moving styles that complement each other’s productivity and unpredictability and they are remarkably fortunate to be playing on the same team.

“Tim and I often make it possible for one of us to get open if the other is double-covered,” said Nelson, a senior who is among the league‘s fastest players. “It’s great to be in the same offense.”

Malo, a junior, said the two have a “special bond” with quarterback Jason Kaepernick, who leads Whatcom County in passing yardage and touchdown tosses for the second consecutive season.

Throw in rugged running backs Dawson Smith and Colin Dorsch, along with several young receiving prospects, and the Mariners have a colorful, high-scoring offense that is among the most potent in school history and among the most entertaining going into Week 9.

For the second consecutive year, the Mariners (6-2, 3-0) head into the postseason with a Northwest Conference 2A Lake Division championship. Sehome did not get the chance to play in Week 8, gaining a 2-0 forfeit win when Bellingham ended its varsity season because of a lack of healthy players.

Sehome will play a playoff elimination game Friday, Nov. 1, at Burlington-Edison (1-7, 1-4), the Sky Division’s fifth seed, with a Week 10 appearance at stake against one of the top three Sky Division finishers, which have byes this week..

The Mariners shared the Lake Division football title last season, only one year after they played an independent schedule in 2017 in coach Kevin Beason’s first year.

Sehome’s previous title came in 2001, the year Nelson was born.

Even though the Lake Division was officially designated as the lower division in 2018, when the Sky Division was packed with historically more successful schools, the Mariners have shown they are anything but weak.

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Sehome wide receiver Melloy Nelson catches a pass in the end zone for a touchdown Oct. 11. Nelson and Tim Malo helped the Mariners win the Lake Division title for a second straight year and head into the postseason Friday. Paul Conrad For The Bellingham Herald

“I’ll never forget our Week 10 upset over (longtime powerhouse) Archbishop Murphy last year,” Nelson said of the memorable shocker. “That win over Archbishop will always be one of my favorite memories.”

That gave the Mariners a shot at another traditional power, Liberty of King County, in which Sehome nearly pulled off another surprise before falling 21-14 in the first round of the 2A state playoffs.

After displaying considerable receiving potential with a dozen touchdowns and more than 600 yards his sophomore year, Nelson rallied from a concussion and a broken wrist to find a way to help in the three postseason games last year.

Sehome had three outstanding senior receivers last year, so Malo wasn’t needed so much on offense as a sophomore. But, typical of his hard-driving, ambitious style, Malo won a starting job in the defensive backfield last year, and this season has been joined for the first time by Nelson on defense, as well.

“Tim really brings the fire. I remember when I was a sophomore how our seniors would cheer so much for Malo when he was a freshman in the C games,” Nelson said. “Our seniors loved his hard-nosed style.”

That support was wonderful for Malo, who has a reputation for playfully trash-talking his teammates, but not the opposition.

Nelson, who holds the school career touchdown catch record with 19, and Malo, who has 10, have combined for big numbers this year.

Heading into Friday’s game they have more than 60 catches for nearly 1,000 yards between them. Nelson scored on passes of 76 and 15 yards and Malo grabbed a 35-yarder, as Kaepernick threw six touchdown passes in the first half of Sehome’s 40-0 non-league win over West Seattle on Oct. 19.

“I’m the big-play runner, but Tim’s receiving routes are so crisp they’re just off the charts,” Nelson said. “And his defensive reads are off the charts, too.”

Beason said he’s impressed with the intangibles the duo brings to the Mariners.

“Both Melloy and Tim have demonstrated strong leadership,” Beason said. “They take ownership of the program seriously.”

Week 9 schedule

Thursday, Oct. 31

Meridian at Lynden Christian, 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 1

Mount Baker at Nooksack Valley, 7 p.m.

Neah Bay at Lummi, 7 p.m.

Squalicum vs. Edmonds-Woodway at Civic Stadium, 7 p.m. (seeding game)

Shorecrest at Ferndale, 7 p.m. (elimination game)

Sehome at Burlington-Edison, 7 p.m. (elimination game)

Liberty at Blaine, 7 p.m. (elimination game)

NOTE: Lynden received a bye.

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