TACOMA, WA – Three years ago, Dave Ward took a call from the Sedro-Woolley School District, asking to bring his high school coaching skills to a then-struggling 4-6 football program with a revolving door at the head coaching position.
Three years later, Ward hoisted the 2A WIAA state football championship trophy along with the Sedro-Woolley Cubs’ champion football team in front of many of the town’s residents who were cheering at the Tacoma Dome Saturday afternoon, after his Cubs slayed the three-time defending 2A champion Lynden Lions, 42-13.
A late season loss to Lynden, 33-30, was in the back of the minds of coaches and players, but once the ball was kicked to start the game, that October 24 Northwest Conference match-up didn’t matter.
Game prognosticators were right – the only way Sedro-Woolley might beat the favorite Lynden Lions was to pound the ball on the ground. Cub fans had witnessed Dave Ward’s style of preparing for each week’s game – and the mystery to what the Cub coaching staff might formulate for the championship game was any fan’s guess. Counter left, then counter right, then pass deep? Who the heck would be taking the snaps?
Ward played it the right way to win a championship game, by having his team rush the ball up the middle and keep the clock running by controlling the ball.
On Sedro-Woolley’s first drive, they drove the ball up the middle, picking up four first downs along the way, down to the four-yard line with no passing attempts. On fourth-and-four, Ward decided to keep his field goal unit on the sidelines and for it. After 13 consecutive rushing plays Sedro-Woolley quarterback Devin Willard lofted a pass to Mason Elms in the back right corner of the end zone for a touchdown, and the first of Adrian Vasquez’ seven extra points gave the Cubs a 7-0 lead.
Sedro-Woolley’s second possession was thwarted when Lynden’s secondary tipped a potential touchdown pass away from intended receiver Carter Crosby, forcing the Cubs to attempt a 26-yard field goal by Adrian Vasquez, which was wide right.
Lynden’s next drive put the Lions on the board, as head coach Curt Kramme opted for trickery with a 60 yard end-around pass from Scooter Hastings to Jonathan Wetnel. However, Sedro-Woolley’s special team, which are focused upon at practice no differently than the offense or defense, blocked the extra point and Sedro-Woolley remained in the lead, 7-6.
Carter Crosby scored the only touchdown of the second quarter, as the Cubs rotated among Devin Willard, Mason Elms and Crosby taking the snaps from center Blake Beacham. Crosby scored on a two-yard keeper, putting Sedro-Woolley up 14-6.
Lynden quarterback Sterling Somers passed the Lions deep into Cub territory late in the first half, only to be intercepted by Anthony Cann, ending the Lions chance at making the title game close at halftime. This was the first of two pick-offs for Cann, who drew the tough assignment of covering 6’8” Scooter Hastings for much of the game.
Mason Elms helped the Cubs pull away on the scoreboard by intercepting a Sterling Somers pass and bringing the ball down around the Lynden 40 yard line. A pair of personal fouls against Lynden on consecutive plays advanced the ball all the way to the Lynden five yard line on penalties, unlikely for a Curt Kramme coached team.
On the very next play, Mason Elms took a misdirection hand-off and jogged into the end zone from four yards out, untouched, to give the Cuns a 21-6 lead.
Sedro-Woolley middle linebacker Chad Wilburg intercepted a Somers pass, and much like his four previous interceptions this season, Wilburg loves to run with the ball and rumbled to the Lynden 22 yard line. Two plays later, from the six yard line, Cubs’ fullback Quinn Carpenter powered into the endzone for the Cubs’ fourth touchdown of the game and a 28-7 Sedro-Woolley lead.
Late in the third quarter, just as it felt as if the Cubs were pulling away, Lynden’s defense ratcheted up while their offense quickly passed the ball down to the one yard line. Somers took it in himself for what would be Lynden’s final score of the game.
In the fourth quarter, Sedro-Woolley found another gear in their machine. Crosby intercepted Somers and sped into the end zone for a 21-yard pick six after Crosby himself had punted 56-yards to pin the Lions deep in their own territory.
With Sedro-Woolley leading 35-13 early in the fourth quarter, and seemingly looking like an insurmountable lead for the Cubs from Lynden’s perspective, the Cubs sacked Lion quarterback Sterling Somers a third time. Lynden, at the Sedro-Woolley 25, attempted to convert a fourth-and-long deep into Cub territory, but his long pass, intended for Noah Hill, was batted down by Anthony Cann.
Seven minutes remained on the clock and the Cubs found themselves at their own one-yard line, leading 35-13. Two rush attempts later, Quinn Carpenter found himself easily carrying the ball into the end zone for his second touchdown of the championship game.
The mighty Lions had been slayed, as the team every other class 2A team in the state had been shooting to knock off for years, had finally been beaten. Anthony Cann intercepted Somers once more to seal the championship victory – Sedro-Woolley’s first in school history – by a dominating score of 42-13.
Presented by Skagit Bank, the game was webcast live here at SkagitRadioSports.com, featuring Jon Rickert’s expert analysis and commentary along with veteran announcer John Fasso’s play-by-play.
We invite you to listen to a replay of our webcast by clicking the Replay button below.