A one-goal lead on Ferndale wouldn’t be enough to feel comfortable.
Mariners coach John Sylvester’s research told him Sehome needed a multi-goal advantage over the Golden Eagles before Ferndale’s stingy defense would fracture.
Gabe Weight scored the first of his two goals in the 57th minute off an assist from Charlie Lahud, a minute later Jack Willis scored and the rout was on.
Sehome scored four times in the second half, and on a night in which 16 seniors were honored, the Mariners clinched a Northwest Conference title with a 5-1 league win over Ferndale on Friday, April 29, at Civic Stadium.
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“Our coach kind of talked to us,” Weight explained. “He’s been scouting Ferndale a little bit. He said, ‘Keep pushing for that second goal. Once that second goal comes, it’ll open up and there will be a lot more opportunities.’ And that definitely happened.”
Weight logged two goals and an assist, Rylan Hinkle started off the scoring with a first-half score and Ethan Hunger capped off Sehome’s big scoring night.
The five goals matched a season high for the Mariners (13-0-2, 10-0-1 NWC), who have outscored their opponents 16-1 during the past four games.
Ferndale midfielder Josh Seig helped the Golden Eagles avoid the shutout with a goal off a header in the 74th minute. Carlos Padilla-Solis served the corner kick into Seig.
“To have a trophy to put in the case and kind of look at, no matter what else happens it’s really special for these guys,” Sylvester said, “because they worked for years to get to that level.”
Sehome dictated nearly the entire game, creating creative chance after creative chance, but the Mariners managed only one first-half goal against a Ferndale defense that’s been one of the league’s best.
But Hinkle’s goal, most notably the sequence leading up to it, was impressive.
Kevin Sun put a nifty move on a Ferndale defender near the endline and found some space before delivering a nice pass to Hinkle, who calmly slotted the ball to the left of Ferndale goalkeeper Nikita Leonovets.
Weight and Willis scored goals one minute apart in the 57th and 58th before Weight scored his second goal in the 64th minute off a header on a pass from Mason Rathkamp.
“We are just proud as a program,” Sylvester said. “I think we’ve only had one other league championship in about seven or eight years, and we’ve had some high state finishes, but winning this league is hard as heck to do.”