Cascade Christian needed one thing Saturday in the Emerald City Kickoff Classic opener at Husky Stadium — a momentum swing.
Austin Carder was happy to provide. With the Cougars trailing by six points late in the third quarter, Carder intercepted a pass near midfield from backup Sehome quarterback Taylor Rapp.
The subsequent drive kicked off a 21-point run by the Class 1A defending state champions, and the top-ranked Cougars went on to defeat the Mariners, 28-13.
“As soon as (Rapp) started going across the middle, I starting shading him outside and he threw it,” Carder said. “We needed to make a big play.”
Carder made a few. He caught six passes for 124 yards and one touchdown to lead the Cougars.
Cascade Christian’s scoring flurry came after a messy first half in which the Cougars threw two interceptions, resulting in seven points for Sehome.
The Cougars then fumbled on the opening drive of the second half before Carder forced the interception.
“We talk about it in practice all the time, we need turnovers,” Cascade Christian coach Randy Davis said. “We had three and they had none, and then the big pick came. They’re definitely momentum-swingers.”
Madden Tobeck scored on a 2-yard run with 2 minutes, 32 seconds left in the third quarter to give the Cougars a 14-13 lead they wouldn’t lose — the defense shut out Sehome in the second half.
Cascade Christian cushioned the lead in the fourth with two more touchdowns. Carder scored on a 30-yard pass from Josh Seaton, and Kyle Milton tacked on one more score with a 1-yard run.
Seaton replaced quarterback Jack Nielsen for the second half after Nielsen suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter.
Davis said Nielsen wasn’t completely ruled out for the second half, but didn’t want to risk further injury.
“We decided, it’s the first game, why chance it?” Davis said.
Nielsen is questionable for next Saturday the next game when the Cougars host Orting at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Lauren Smith: 360-754-5473