Three Bethel High School quarterbacks took turns running the offense as the Braves breezed past host North Thurston, 27-7, on Thursday night in a nonleague game at South Sound Stadium in Lacey.
Junior Tristyn Gese started and finished, completing all 11 of his official passing attempts for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Junior JK Crespo played the second quarter, going 7 of 11 and passing for 91 yards, while sophomore Nate Hughes played the bulk of the second half, completing 6 of 8 attempts for 71 yards and a touchdown.
Despite the loss, Rams running back Ross Sherrer had a productive night, carrying 26 times for 104 yards, all but 15 of them in the second half.
Bethel (1-1) scored on the game’s first possession on a 12-yard run by Machiah Lee after three minutes. The Braves survived a first-and-29 by completing four passes from Gese to different receivers, the most damaging a 42-yarder to Joehnis Joyce.
On their next possession, the Braves marched 75 yards in seven plays to score on a 10-yard pass from Gese to Trenton Weseman.
Bethel capitalized on a 22-yard, fourth-down loss on a Rams’ fumble that allowed the Braves to take over near midfield. A 33-yard halfback pass from Lane Brown to Joyce took the ball to the North Thurston 21. Three straight keepers by Gese set up a 4-yard touchdown pass to Joyce.
Having missed the first two PAT attempts by kick, the Braves went for two and were successful on a pass from Gese to Weseman.
Gese officially completed 10 of 10 passes in the first quarter for 167 yards and the two touchdowns. An incomplete pass on the final drive was wiped off the books by a penalty call.
Crespo moved the Braves down the field in the final minute of the half with back-to-back completions to Brown, but the second was ripped away after the catch by the Rams’ Durae Watson and ran back into Bethel territory.
Watson had made a similar play on offense in the first quarter, snatching a pass from Clayton Christian away from a pair of Bethel defenders for a 30-yard gain.
The Braves rotated in Hughes to start the second half with immediate dividends. Hughes engineered a 59-yard, nine-play drive, culminating in a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jarell Anderson on fourth down. The drive got a big assist when Collin White tipped a Hughes’ pass forward to himself for an eventual 35-yard gain.
North Thurston (1-1) got close to scoring on the ensuing drive when Sherrer caught fire, carrying seven times for 61 yards on a march that started at the Rams 32 but ended with an incomplete pass into the end zone on fourth down.
The disappointment didn’t last long. Bethel fumbled deep in its own territory on the following possession, and three carries by Sherrer, the last from seven yards out, got the Rams into the end zone. Wesley Krall kicked the extra point.
Another blunder by the Braves led to the next Rams’ opportunity. On a fourth-and- 4 from the Bethel 35, a bad snap sailed over the head of punter Gese. He picked it up at his 3-yard line and ran it to the 29, but again North Thurston had good field position.
The Rams got as close as the Bethel 7-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
Centralia 35, Mark Morris 14: Joey Aliff threw three touchdown passes after intermission to push Centralia past host Mark Morris. Aliff connected with Jose Pineda on a 14-yard scoring pass to open the second half. A recovered onside kick led to a touchdown pass from Aliff to Derek VanDeLaarschott. In the fourth quarter, Aliff hit Cale Shute for a touchdown.
Bethel 20 0 7 0 - 27
North Thurston 0 0 0 7 - 7
B - Machiah Lee 12-yard run (kick blocked).
B - Trenton Weseman 10 pass from Tristyn Gese (kick failed)
B - Joehnis Joyce 4 pass from Gese (Weseman pass from Gese)
B – Jarell Anderson 12 pass from Nate Hughes (Ty Norman kick)
N – Ross Sherrer 7 run (Wesley Krall kick)