The Cascade Christian High defense proved too much for Vashon Island on Saturday night as the Cougars picked up a late-season Class 1A Nisqually League win.
For the second consecutive week, it was a defense that seemed to dominate nearly every snap of the football. And the secret to this defensive success has been the return of Kyle Milton at linebacker.
“He’s huge for what we want to do. Not only because he’s not only a three-year starter, but because he can plug up the holes on the run,” Cascade Christian coach Randy Davis said.
Since returning from an elbow injury a few weeks ago, Cascade Christian’s (6-1, 2-0) defense has been nasty, and simply too explosive to contain. Over the past two weeks, the Cougars have outscored their opponents 100-7, an incredible feat taking into account who was lining up on the other side of the ball: Charles Wright and Vashon.
“We like to call ourselves the ‘no fly zone,’” Tyquan Coleman said about himself and fellow cornerback Austin Carder. “We take pride in shutting down the passing game and making teams one-dimensional on us.”
As Milton piled up the tackles (13 total) and picked up a fumble in Cascade Christian’s 44-0 shutout of Vashon, it was Coleman and Carder who took away any hopes of a Pirates comeback.
In limited chances, both corners made highlight-worthy interceptions of passes thrown by quarterback Connor Hoisington. The first pick came from Coleman, who undercut a route and took it back for 40 yards to the goal line.
As Coleman was diving into the end zone, Hoisington blew him out of bounds, preventing the score. Coleman was gifted with a touchdown run one play later.
“I felt they were all behind me, and then at the 1-yard line I kind of got killed,” Coleman said with a laugh after the win. “I felt like we made plays when we needed to.”
Carder had perhaps the biggest game as the corner nabbed two picks on the day, while also hauling in a 46-yard touchdown on offense.
With Vashon using the ground game, there was limited chances for any interceptions, but even those odds were in Carder’s favor. After Coleman’s pick, Carder grabbed one himself before taking it into Vashon territory, setting up a quick Cascade Christian touchdown.
“Our coach set us up with good scheming, and we spent a lot of time on film,” Carder said. “You can always read from the sidelines what’s going to come, and they always put us in good situations.”
Carder’s second pick was the play of the game as Hoisington overthrew both his target and Carder by three yards, but at the last second, Carder threw up a hand and tipped the ball into his arms for his second pick.
“He overthrew both of us, and I just threw my hand out there without looking,” Carder said. “I reacted on to get that one.”
The defense, and Cascade Christian’s league-title reign, will be put to the test on Friday when the Cougars travel to play Bellevue Christian.
Puyallup 24, Timberline 21:
The Vikings were able to hang on after Colby Burton hit Noah McFadden with a 3-yard touchdown — Burton’s third of the game — and Zach Munizza’s 36-yard field goal extended the lead.
Timberline (2-6, 2-3 league) was able to get within a score after Connor Crump’s touchdown run, but Puyallup (4-4, 3-2) held on for the win. The Vikings close the season against Rogers (2-6, 1-4) on Friday.
Curtis 55, Emerald Ridge 14:
The Vikings of University Place looked much like their earlier-season selves, jumping out to a 42-0 halftime lead. Emerald Ridge (2-6, 1-4) finishes the season against Spanaway Lake (1-7, 0-5) on Thursday.
Sumner 24, Bonney Lake 7:
The first-half version of the Panthers made their rival Spartans’ lives miserable, penetrating Sumner’s backfield and not allowing standouts Josh Riley or Connor Wedington loose in the open field. Bonney Lake (4-4, 3-3) headed into the half with a 7-3 lead.
“We came out with a lot of energy, and were able to have the lead at halftime, but they tired us out,” coach Jason Silbaugh said. “We’ll have to go in to next week’s game with a win-or-go-home attitude.”
Bonney Lake faces Peninsula (4-4, 3-3) for the 3A SPSL’s final playoff seed on Friday.