Riley Ramos, the teenager in street clothes, would take about 15 minutes to stroll across a football field to shake anybody’s hand.
But Riley Ramos the football player at Cascade Christian? He operates at a cutback speed few can handle.
For a seventh consecutive time in the Class 1A playoffs, the Cougars will play in the state semifinals. They walloped pass-happy King’s, 56-15, at Woolsey Stadium in Shoreline on Saturday night.
Awaiting them next week in the Tacoma Dome will be a very familiar face — the old trusty blue from Eatonville High School, their former rival in the 1A Nisqually League. Eatonville edged Mount Baker, 29-28, in overtime.
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Ramos rushed for a game-high 172 yards on seven carries, scoring three touchdowns. His career-long 85-yard scoring scamper with more than three minutes remaining in the first quarter not only erased a 7-0 deficit, it got the team energized and rolling.
“They were tight. They were out of place. And they were on their heels a little bit,” Cascade Christian coach Randy Davis said of his normally sure-handed defensive players. “After we scored, it kind of loosened us up.”
Oh, how it did.
Whatever steam the seventh-ranked Knights built up on their opening series, scoring on Koa Wilkins 17-yard pass to Cooper Wright, it subsided.
For the rest of the half, Wilkins was under duress. He was picked off twice — the first one was returned 48 yards by Bryce Powers for a touchdown.
And the Cougars kept trucking on the ground. Ramos was so patient on sweep runs waiting for a middle crease to open up. Once he saw it, he cut back against the grain and shot through like a, you know, cougar.
“The (offensive) line the entire game set the tone,” Ramos said. “It was opening holes, inside and outside. I was able to trust them — and once I broke a tackle, I was gone.”
After quarterback Jaelin Goldsmith completed a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes — a 43-yarder to Powers, and a 25-yarder to Mason Tobeck, the Cougars grabbed a 49-7 lead, and started a running clock via the WIAA’s 40-point mercy rule at the 3:03 mark.
Last season, Cascade Christian also ousted the Knights in the 1A quarterfinals.
“They are older … with a lot of seniors,” King’s coach Jim Shapiro said of the Cougars. “They are a little bit stronger, and a little bit faster.”
The Cougars’ starting offense racked up 490 total yards — 326 on the ground. Goldsmith finished 13 of 17 for 164 yards.
“Nobody has really stopped us running the ball all year,” Davis said. “We’ll see (Saturday) — Eatonville is another step up.”