Cascade Christian Prevails in Clash of Nisqually Against Seamount By Steve Dion
Week 4 of the high school gridiron season included an intriguing non-league game between the defending 1A champions Cascade Christian and rising Seamount squad Lindbergh. The setting was Renton Memorial Stadium featuring the airport in the backdrop where undefeated LHS played host.
The game broke out with a slow start as each team struggled to move the ball fluidly. The first big play of the game was an interception by Eagle cornerback Steve Celis. The home team would eventually capitalize on the momentum of the pick when Anthony Walker took a sweep 58 yards to the house. It wasn’t until the second quarter when the visiting Cougars woke up. Senior tailback/defensive back combo Zach Bartolome rumbled up the gut for a 20 yard touchdown run to tie it up. Later, he forced a fumble and turned it into a 48-yard score and the lead ten seconds later. Needing a response to swing the momentum in their favor, Lindbergh capped off a long drive with a 6 yard scamper to the goal line by DeMarco Sauls. Before the half, Evan Patrick grabbed the lead at 21-14 when he took a 3 yard run to the end zone.
When the teams took the field for the second half, the rain started to fall onto the turf and the pace quieted down. Cascade Christian used extended possession to wind down the clock and continue to build their lead. Madden Tobeck put the Cougs up two possessions on a 1 yard goal line push. The inability of Lindbergh to establish an aerial attack allowed the CCHS defense to load up in the box and pressure Samuel Nehren. Lindbergh made a late charge with a fourth quarter score, but eventually allowed Cascade Christian to put a stamp on the contest with their fifth touchdown of the game. Both teams will carry a 3-1 record heading into next week.
The Final Score: Cascade Christian 35 Lindbergh 21
Kennedy Grabs Top Spot in Seamount with Victory Over Hazen By Steven Dion
Wednesday- January 7
Kennedy Catholic High School
Kennedy Catholic Senior AJ McGrew
There is no mistaking a rivalry game when you see one, especially when the teams are undefeated in league play. This was the case Wednesday night as Kennedy would host Hazen which would determine a new leader in the Seamount standings. Neither squad was too keen to find themselves in the second spot.
Hazen kicked off the contest draining shots from the perimeter giving them a quick 9-3 lead which prompted a Lancer timeout by Don Hoffman. His team responded by distributing the ball to several KC playmakers including AJ McGrew, James Jolly, and Emilio Mancol. Hazen wing Jalen Green was forced to leave the game in the first quarter after landing awkwardly. The Highlanders’ reliance from downtown started to allow Kennedy to rally when the shots were not falling as often later in the first half. Meanwhile, the Lancers capitalized on numerous second chances on the offensive end to close out the half trailing by a single point at 27-26. The way that each possession appeared to result in a lead change was a good sign the crowd was in for an exciting finish.
The pace of the game jumped up a few notches to start the third quarter especially in the physicality between the two teams. Hazen captain Connor O’Hearn was in the mix of possession battles but kept a calm demeanor on the floor. Kennedy was fueled by the skirmishes and strung together a big run through the majority of the third quarter. A key play in the game was a monster block by HHS wing Dominic Green that bounced to McGrew who made a putback and one. Green responded with a three-pointer at the third quarter buzzer, but the damage was done. Kennedy led by a half dozen heading into the fourth.
Michael Sasonoff and James Jolly helped grow the lead to double-digits in the final quarter and were able to clamp down on defense. Their ability to limit Hazen scorers other than Green to 10 points in the second half was a difference maker in the contest. Even with a late run by Hazen, Kennedy had enough to secure a big home win to take first place in the league.
The Final Score: Kennedy Catholic 64 Hazen 56
Top Performers: Kennedy Catholic
Michael Sasonoff-14 points/AJ McGrew-13 points
Sedro-Woolley Faces off Against Lynden for 2A State Final By Steven Dion
The 2A final appears to have the best chance of becoming an instant classic. The interesting storylines heading into this game are seemingly endless. Lynden has won the last 3 titles including six of the previous 8 whereas Sedro-Woolley is in rare territory playing December football. Both teams hail from the highly competitive Northwest League that produce hotly contested games in the regular season. They squared off at Lynden on October 24th and the home team escaped with a 33-30 victory. I caught up with Dave Ward this week and he said Lynden’s ability to create a half-dozen big plays was a key factor in the first go-around and will be a point of emphasis on Saturday. Based on the quarterfinal and semifinal games, expect an enormous sea of blue in support of S-W and likewise for the Lions.
The playmakers that are bound to make a splash in this contest include Sterling Somers (QB) and his favorite targets Jordan Wittenberg and Scooter Hastings who stands 6’7”. The Lynden defense has been slightly more porous than in recent years allowing opponents to push them including a rare loss against Ferndale in mid-December. The Cubs boast a dynamic offensive weapon in Mason Elms who appears to play every position on the field. If he and fellow tailback Carter Crosby can tally over 80 yards on the ground and find the end zone, the Cubs have a good shot.
The strength of Sedro-Woolley is their linebacking corps. The speed and tenacity of Chad Wilburg, Jacob Farrell, and Jay Burger has the ability to hold talented offenses like Lynden, but will they put it together on Saturday to take down the champ? The action takes place on Saturday at 1pm at the Tacoma Dome.
3A State Finals Preview, Bellevue vs. Eastside Catholic Round 3 By Colin Caruso
The Bellevue Wolverines have won 67 straight games, a streak that goes back to 2010 when Mat Taylor’s Skyline Spartans topped them in a regular season contest. They routinely schedule games against the top teams out of state, this year against Serra (CA), and routinely pull off convincing victories. They are dominate, fast, big and strong. The Wolverines are in search of their 7th consecutive state title, and standing in their way is the Eastside Catholic Crusaders.
Eastside showed their grit last year in advancing past the O’Dea Fighting Irish to the state finals, to meet the Wolverines in a 425 clash. The game wasn’t much of a contest, coinciding with the Wolverines season, and ended in a 52-20 route. This year will prove to be much closer than that. One of the states finest running backs, Brandon Wellington, is now a junior and is playing the best football of his life. Junior quarterback Harley Kirsch is also a year older, more mature, and is prepared for a matchup against one of the finest teams in the nation.
The big question at hand, are the Wolverines vulnerable? They showed hints of vulnerability last week against Marysville-Pilchuck. Can the Cru’ end the streak? I don’t think it’s in the cards just yet, but hey, it has to happen sometime, right?
Lancers Pounce on Prep Panthers in Memorial Classic
By Steven Dion
The 1st Annual Memorial Football Classic got underway Friday night and continues Saturday as many of the teams reuniting with the Metro League square off against each other and other local teams. The event commenced with Seattle Prep and Kennedy Catholic from the Seamount League. Seattle Prep likes to play ground and pound football with their featured tailback Sam Kopf who is coming off a huge season opener against Cedar Park Christian. The Lancers also present a strong run game, but are on a by-committee basis which was highly successful on this night.
Field position was the main battle in the first half as both team struggled to get deep into enemy territory. JFK got onto the board via a Jr. Ngauamo score. The Lancers kept the Panthers off the scoreboard in the first half and the teams entered the locker rooms 6-0.
Seattle Prep sustained a drive early in the third which resulted in a field goal and cut the deficit in half. However, Kennedy’s commitment to running the football overpowered the blue and white as Nick Galando and Liam Cheskon rushed for touchdowns. Give credit to the Lancer defense who held Prep to three points in the contest. Kennedy takes the victory 18-3.
Top Performers: Kennedy Catholic
Liam Cheskon – Rushing TD
Hockinson Soars Over Foster, Advances to State By Steven Dion
Kent-Meridian High School played host to regional Saturday for four win-or-go-home games to move on to championship weekend. The first contest of the day featured Hockinson from the Greater St. Helens league and Foster from the Seamount. With a trip to the Yakima Valley SunDome on the line, this interleague matchup was bound to supply plenty of excitement for the Hawk blue and Bulldog purple in the grandstands.
The first half got off to a high energy start as the tempo was fast and the scoring opportunities were plentiful. The amount of offensive rebounds each team recorded early on was noteworthy and led to chaos under the rim as each squad battled for boards. Hockinson established their precision shooting in the first sixteen minutes highlighted by a trio of three-pointers by Alan Haagen. Foster countered with effective perimeter shooting of their own by Cory Covarrubia, Patrick Straight, and Ben Mitchell. The matchup of forwards Austin Steimle of HHS and Ronnie Roberson of FHS was fun to watch as the bigs were very physical down low. The Hawks were able to build an eight point lead after one half of play at 28-20.
After the break, Foster understood they would need to find a leader that could step up and get the Bulldogs back into the game. Mitchell answered the call. The senior distributed the ball to teammates nicely and attacked the rim aggressively. Hockinson did not back down though as Jack Klodt made an acrobatic And-1 en route to a ten point third quarter. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Hawks held onto a six point lead and put on the finishing touches. Converting on several foul shots down the stretch, HHS was able to win convincingly by the final score of 64-53 largely due the high scoring volume of Klodt and Haagen with 24 and 22 points respectively. Congrats to the Hawks as they punch their ticket to the big dance.
Top Performers: Hockinson
Jack Klodt – 24 points, 15/15 FT’s
Alan Haagen – 22 points, 13/14 FT’s
Seattle Academy Spoils Host Lancers Christmas Party By Steven Dion
The nightcap of the first round of the Sterling Athletics Christmas Classic featured the Cardinals of Seattle Academy and host Kennedy Catholic. Despite their 1A classification, the SA Cardinals carry a much deeper roster as their team of fifteen outnumbers their 3A counterpart by five players. Additionally, the Cardinals are composed of entirely upperclassmen with the exception of sophomore guard Ian McManus. Conversely, Kennedy’s Spencer Weisberg is the lone senior on the young Lancers squad from the Seamount League. Would Kennedy be able to feed off their home crowd en route to the second round of the Christmas Classic?
The first four minutes of the contest were sloppy from an offensive standpoint as Kennedy was stuck at three points for extended time. Seattle Academy was slow out of the gates too as their star trio of Daniel Davydov, Ben Gerke, and Jeremiah Hobbs combined for seven points in the first eight minutes. After trailing 11-5 in the first quarter, Kennedy’s offense woke up. The Lancers netted seven field goals and earned some trips to the charity stripe where they knocked down four of five. Seattle Academy upped their efficiency in the second frame too as their seventeen points protected their lead heading into halftime. Seattle Academy’s ability to keep all four Lancer posts scoreless in the first half earned them a 28-24 lead into the break.
After knocking down only one three-ball in the first half, Seattle Academy found their touch from the perimeter in the third quarter. Gerke and Davydov both drained two from downtown in a back-breaking third frame for the Lancers. The Cardinals were able to increase their point total in each successive quarter whereas Kennedy experience a significant dropoff after their strong second frame. Leading by eleven going into the final eight minutes, the Cardinals were able to allot minutes to their bench and put the game into cruise control down the stretch. Burying nine of eleven free throws in the fourth put a stamp on the contest as the senior Daniel Davydov continued his consistent scoring with seven of his game-high twenty two coming in the final quarter. When the dust settled, Seattle Academy rolled to a 65-45 win.
Top Performer: Seattle Academy
Daniel Davydov – 22 points (8/10 FT’s)
Auburn-Mountainview Unwraps Late Christmas Present with Win Over Lindbergh By Steven Dion
Game two of the opening round in the Christmas Classic featured Lindbergh from the Seamount League and Auburn-Mountainview of the South Puget Sound League. This matchup pitted a guard-heavy Lindbergh squad against an Auburn-Mountainview team with a prominent post presence. The team that adjusted to their dissimilar counterpart would prevail in the contest.
The contest opened with both teams trading buckets. A-M Lions’ guard Ryan Lacey buried a pair of triples in the first frame as part of his 15 total points in the game. Lindbergh’s Vincent Carter played like the NBA legend that bears the same name by scoring from the field, perimeter, and free throw stripe. The Eagle guard scored a team-high 20 in the contest. The rebounding battle was won by the Lions in the first half. However, Lindbergh took a 33-31 lead into the locker room.
Most of the third quarter was spent at the free throw line as twenty attempts were taken in the frame. Lindbergh was unable to get their star guard Marcel Hale rolling in the second half, but credit the Auburn-Mountainview defense for limiting Hale’s output. Lions senior Wyatt Walstad netted six of his game-high 21 points in the third. His effort on the defensive end of the floor paid off on the stat sheet in this contest. However, Lindbergh hung tough and only trailed by one point going into the final frame. Buckets were traded in the fourth, but AMHS’s ability to snag some late rebounds primarily through Tristan Miguel’s 6’9” frame put the Lions in position to protect their small lead. A late full-court press by the Eagles resulted in an outlet pass to Victor Daggs Jr. to put the game away. Auburn-Mountainview picked up the 71-67 win.
Highline Picks Up First Win of Season in Finale Against Franklin
By Steven Dion
A blustery evening at Highline Memorial Stadium was the perfect recipe for the host Pirates to garner their first win of the season. The obstacle standing in the way of the Pirates’ treasure was Metro League opponent Franklin. The first of several big plays by Highline was a 70 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by junior linebacker Kingston Aloua. Before the first quarter ended, HHS’ Brandon Baker returned a punt 52 yards for a score. Franklin responded early in the second on a 39 yard scamper by James Flowers III. Before halftime, the Pirates scored conventionally on a reception by Baker from Kyle Tief. At break, Highline led 21-6.
Special teams miscues haunted the Quakers in the first half and the trend continued in the final 24 minutes. Brandon Baker took a punt to the house for the second time early in the third, this time from 65 yards out. This gave the Pirates a comfortable lead that was sustainable for the remainder of the contest. Montae Rainwater scurried to the corner pylon from three yards out in Lodrigo Omar’s jersey after Rainwater’s was ripped on a run. The fourth quarter featured a resurgence by the Quakers, but it was too late. Scores from Flowers III and a passing touchdown by Montique Jenkins highlighted the final frame for Franklin. When the horn sounded, Highline picked up their coveted first victory of the season with a 42-22 result.
James Flowers III – 2 rushing TDs of 39 and 2 yards
Brandon Baker – 3 total TDs, 2 punt returns from 65 & 52 yards, one reception of 17 yards
With Franklin’s cheer squad and band bringing the off field action, Memorial Stadium proved to be another formidable location for a Thursday night high school football showdown between the undefeated Lindbergh Eagles and the struggling Franklin Quakers. Lindbergh jumped on the Quakers early and often, compiling a 41-0 lead entering halftime. The connection between senior quarterback Tyrell Shavers and junior receiver Khalil Burton accounted for three of those seven touchdowns from 25, 43, and 20 yards out.
Lindbergh slowed down their offensive output in the second half, putting in their second string early in the third quarter. They added another score later in the third, a 55 yard run by junior Devon Jackson, but those would be the last points for the Eagles.
Franklin began their offensive output late in the third with a beautiful pass from quarterback Montique Jenkins to sophomore wideout Malik Abdil-Haqq for 54 yards and a touchdown. Jenkins would throw another touchdown in the fourth quarter, and the Quakers would add another score to bring their total to 20. But Lindbergh was too tough in the first half, and took the game 47-20.
Top Performers: Lindbergh
Tyrell Shavers – 3TD passes of 25, 43, and 20 yards
Khalil Burton – 3TD receptions of 25, 43, and 20 yards
Montique Jenkins – 2TD passes of 54 and 8 yards
A sunny September evening at Renton Memorial Stadium hosted a gridiron shootout between two non-conference teams in Decatur and Renton. This contest was a tale of two halves until a late momentum swing decided the victor. The first quarter got off to a slow start as the only scoring threat was thwarted immediately as a 60-yard pass to Decatur’s Isaiah Diggs was fumbled at the 5 yard line. Indians linebacker DaSsaun Sauls ripped the ball loose before the Gator speedster was able to bust into the end zone. But, Decatur could only keep Diggs off the scoreboard for so long as he recorded two scores in the second frame. Both extra points were blocked by Renton special teams, so the Gators took a 12-0 lead into the locker room.
Decatur picked up where they left off in the second half by feeding Diggs until he slashed his way into the end zone for the third time. The shifty runner recorded 24 carries for 145 yards and 4 rushing touchdowns in addition to 8 receptions for 213 yards with a receiving score. He picked up loads of yards after contact and the game appeared to be over when the Gators took an 18-0 lead in the third. But after failing to convert on a fake punt, Renton got on the scoreboard from an Ernie Davis touchdown. Then another. Then another. Then another. That’s right, four unanswered scores by Davis to give Renton a 28-18 lead late in the fourth quarter. Somehow, Decatur put together a touchdown drive to put them within 4 after a failed 2-point conversion. On the ensuing kickoff with 1:33 remaining, Diggs recovered the onside kick for Decatur. The first Gator play from scrimmage was a touchdown pass from near midfield to Diggs which deflated the Indians. An interception on a last-chance drive by Renton sealed the deal and finally ended this see-saw ride. Despite the loss, Ernie Davis shined in this contest scoring four touchdowns and nearly willing his team to an improbable comeback.