When Squalicum desperately needed to stop Sedro-Woolley in the game’s closing seconds, big-play Ben Peterson and Squalicum’s defense delivered.
It was just one week ago when Peterson made a game-altering play for the Storm, nullifying a sure touchdown by chasing the ball carrier down before punching the ball out the back of the end zone for a touchback.
This time, Peterson offered a decisive blow.
Leading 35-30 with Sedro-Woolley driving deep into Storm territory, Peterson punched the ball out of a Cubs’ receivers hands, scooped the ball up and raced the other way 75 yards for a game-sealing touchdown to give the No. 7-ranked Storm a dramatic 42-30 Northwest Conference win over No. 6 Sedro-Woolley on Friday, Sept. 25, at Civic Stadium.
“We always talk about when adversity comes, what are you going to do about it?” Peterson said. “I think Darious (Powell) and Noah (Westerhoff) both wrapped him up on the outside. I came in, I was the third guy, I saw that ball sitting out there so I thought, ‘I might as well try to rip it out.’ So I yanked it out, saw it on the ground, picked it up and I B-lined toward the end zone and I wasn’t going to look back at all.”
With the win, Squalicum (4-0, 2-0 NWC), in back-to-back weeks, has knocked off last year’s two Class 2A State Playoff final teams. The Storm beat Lynden last week 27-0.
Quarterback Garrett Sorenson helped the Storm build a 21-7 halftime advantage over the Cubs, navigating his offense to three touchdowns during a 7:04 second-quarter span.
Sorenson connected with Westerhoff for a 22-yard TD pass, Damek Mitchell put Squalicum in front with a 4-yard TD plunge and a 3-yard QB keeper put the Storm in front 21-7.
Sorenson finished completing 14 of 21 passes for 231 yards, three touchdowns and a rushing score. He also contributed 46 rush yards on 14 carries. Mitchell led the Storm with 70 ground yards and his TD on 12 attempts.
Sedro-Woolley (2-2, 0-2 NWC) quickly trimmed its deficit to 21-16 with 8:04 left in the third, but Squalicum answered with back-to-back TDs. Sorenson found Powell for a 15-yard touchdown, and that was followed with a 45-yard catch-and-run touchdown to Peterson that put Squalicum on top 35-16 with 4:59 to play in the third.
But the Cubs rallied back.
The defending champs scored twice in five minutes, cutting Squalicum’s lead to 35-30 with 8:57 to play.
“It was just our kid’s resilience,” Storm coach Nick Lucey said. “They didn’t flinch. ... Our guys did a great job of weathering it and not letting us go, ‘Well, here we go.’ They just knew something good was about to happen.”
And it did.
With under 20 seconds left, the Cubs were on the brink of taking the lead on Squalicum’s 34, but Peterson’s big-play sealed it.
SW — Billy Hornbeck 6 pass from Devin Willard (Adrian Vasquez kick)
Sq — Noah Westerhoff 22 pass from Garrett Sorenson (Ben Peterson kick)
Sq — Damek Mitchell 4 run (Peterson kick)
Sq — Sorenson 3 run (Peterson kick)
SW — Safety
SW — Bryce Hornbeck 7 pass from Willard (Vasquez kick)
Sq — Darious Powell 15 pass from Sorenson (Peterson kick)
Sq — Peterson 45 pass from Sorenson (Peterson kick)
SW — Quinn Carpenter 1 run (Vasquez kick)
SW — Bryce Hornbeck 10 run (Vasquez kick)
Sq — Peterson 75 fumble return (Peterson kick)
RUSHING — Sedro-Woolley: Quinn Carpenter 13-75, Devin Willard 8-37, Bryce Hornbeck 7-42, Billy Hornbeck 5-9, Thor Wagoner 5-39, Carter Needham 2-7. Squalicum: Garrett Sorenson 14-46, Damek Mitchell 12-70, Triston Smith 3-15, Ben Peterson 1-31.
PASSING — Sedro-Woolley: Devin Willard 16-26-1-166. Squalicum: Garrett Sorenson 14-21-0-231.
RECEIVING — Sedro-Woolley: Gavin Holdt 9-81, Bryce Hornbeck 3-41, Thor Wagoner 2-30, Spencer Hoover 1-8, Billy Hornbeck 1-6. Squalicum: Ben Peterson 3-59, Josiah Westbrook 3-46, Damek Mitchell 3-45, Riley Zehnder 3-44, Noah Westerhoff 1-22, Darious Powell 1-15.