The Emerald Ridge High football team is learning that sometimes the bounces just don’t go your way.
After the Jaguars erased a 24-point fourth quarter deficit, Bellarmine Prep found a way to put Bryce Bendixen into field goal range, and Lions’ kicker nailed a game-winning 20-yard field goal with seconds left to play on Friday night at Sparks Stadium.
“When you throw the football down, sometimes it bounces right back to you,” Emerald Ridge co-coach Brian Anderson said. “Sometimes it bounces right and sometimes it bounces left. That’s how the game went for us.”
Emerald Ridge couldn’t find any answers for the game’s first three quarters, but after making a shift to Logan Skoda (14 for 23 passing, 230 yards, three TDs) at quarterback, the Jaguars came roaring back in the fourth.
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After Sam Behnke’s 25-yard TD reception to put Bellarmine up 24-0, Skoda led Emerald Ridge on three consecutive scoring drives that erased the Lions’ lead.
Skoda put Emerald Ridge (1-3 league) on the board after connecting with Levi Sweem on a 5-yard curl route. The Jaguars followed it with a two-point conversion on a pass to Chase McGuire to cut the lead to 24-8 with eight minutes left in the game.
“Logan took charge of the offense in the fourth quarter. We weren’t going to quit as a team,” said Sweem, who had four catches for 27 yards and a pair of scores. “We were going to fight until the end.”
Skoda connected with Andrew Boston (10 receptions for 127 yards) on a 35-yard pass down the sideline before finishing the drive with a 15-yard hookup, cutting the lead to 24-16 after another two-point conversion.
The Jaguar defense gave the ball back to the offense with 3:15 left in the game, and after quick passes set up fourth-and-goal from the 5, Skoda hit Sweem for the second score of the night. After its third consecutive successful two-point conversion, Emerald Ridge tied the game at 24-apiece with 1:57 left to play.
But it was plenty of time for Bellarmine quarterback Christian Moore to lead the Lions into field goal range for the win.
Facing a third-and-10 from midfield, Moore tried to hook up with Christian Brown (129 yards on 5 receptions) as the pair connected on several big plays in the second half. Moore overthrew his Brown, but a pass interference call on the Jaguars gave the Lions a fresh set of down from the 25 with 1:11 left to play. Several plays later, Bellarmine (3-1 overall, 2-1 league) set up Bendixen’s kick on fourth down, leaving one second still left to play on the clock.
But after watching the Jaguars wipe away such a large deficit in the fourth, ER earned some newfound respect from one new league opponent. This is what the 4A SPSL will be like each and every week for rest of the season.
“Lots of credit to them because they’re a good football team,” Bellarmine coach Brian Jensen said. “This league is now going to be like that. Every week you’re playing great opponents, and all the credit to Emerald Ridge, to their staff and their kids. They played really hard.”
Emerald Ridge will play Rogers (0-4 overall, 0-3 league) on Friday (Sept. 30) in the King of the Hill game at Sparks Stadium.
Puyallup 77, South Kitsap 60
Talk about a shootout at the O.K. Corral. Quarterback Nathaniel Holcomb went nuts, setting a new state 11-man record with 10 passing touchdowns as Puyallup (3-1 league) outlasted South Kitsap (0-4, 0-3) in Port Orchard.
Puyallup will host Sumner (4-0 overall, 3-0) on Saturday (Oct. 1) at Sparks Stadium.
Oak Harbor 53, Rogers 21
The bright side in the Rams’ lopsided loss is that Rogers (0-4, 0-3) finally found a way to score more than seven points after finding the end zone three times in Friday night’s loss on the road. Up next for Rogers is the King of the Hill game with Emerald Ridge.
Cascade Christian 47, Chimicum 19
Zackery Bartolome (72 rushing yards) found the end zone three times and Tyquan Coleman had 121 all-purpose yards and a score in the Cougars’ rout of the Cowboys.
Cascade Christian (4-0, 1-0 1A Nisqually League) next travels to play Klahowya (3-1, 1-0 1A Olympic) on Friday.