Austin Carder said he was up until about 3 a.m. He couldn’t sleep, not while he kept thinking and praying about the first game of his senior season for the Cascade Christian football team coming up.
“I was just so anxious for the game,” Carder said. “I finally told myself, ‘OK, I have to get to sleep.’”
He then caught four passes for 94 yards with two touchdowns passes and picked off two passes defensively to lead ninth-ranked Cascade Christian to a season-opening 32-14 nonleague win over Orting on Saturday at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.
The last time Cougars played on this field was when their season ended last year on Montesano’s last-second 50-yard touchdown pass in the first round of the 1A state playoffs.
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“These are the kinds of opportunities I pray every night for,” Carder said. “And you hope you can just take advantage of them when they come.”
The Cougars won the game, but lost junior running back/linebacker Madden Tobeck, the son of former WSU and Seattle Seahawks center Robbie Tobeck.
He intercepted a pass in the first quarter but sprained his ankle on the play. He didn’t return and coach Randy Davis said Tobeck will likely miss at least two weeks, though he first thought Tobeck had broken the ankle.
Speaking of jitters.
Davis asked his players before the game to raise their hands if they were nervous.
One hand shot straight up, in a heartbeat of a time span, Davis said. It belonged to freshman quarterback Parker Johnson, who was about to make his first high school start.
Johnson’s first pass of the season came with the Cougars facing third-and-14.
He hit Tyquan Coleman in stride for a 17-yard gain and a first down. Coleman later scored on a four-yard run to put Cascade Christian ahead, 6-0.
“I thought that pass was going to over throw him by a couple yards,” Johnson said. “Playing on varsity, first time under the lights – I haven’t taken a snap on the field, so I hadn’t got my jitters out. But once I got my first couple plays down, I was good.”
And Carder didn’t blame the freshman for being nervous.
“Shoot, I was nervous for the first game of my junior year,” Carder said.
Cascade Christian led 19-0 after Johnson threw his first two career TD passes, finding Carder on a go-route for a 26-yard score, then for a 52-yard TD the ensuing Cougars drive on the same play. Johnson finished 8 of 14 for 144 yards, three TDs and one interception.
“We wanted him to have to throw the ball,” Orting coach Marty Parkhurst said. “We didn’t do as well as I was hoping to in trying to get him. We were sending people, but they were picking up the blocks and that wide receiver kid can run.”
Said Davis: “Carder is going to be an all-state player. He’s the deal. When they started pressing up on him, I was like ‘They are in trouble there.’”
This is the first time Parkhurst has gone with a two-quarterback system. Both Bryce Mecham and Justice Wilkins threw interceptions – Orting turned it over five times total, four on interceptions – but Parkhurst said he plans to continue to use both of them.
“I was really hoping somebody would just grab the reins and go with it,” Parkhurst said.
Orting battled back, cutting the lead to 26-14 on Dylan Amadeo’s four-yard TD run with 11:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Then the deflation.
Cascade Christian answered with a drive that used 20 plays to go 74 yards and take more than 10 minutes off the clock. It ended with Johnson throwing his third TD, hitting Tanner Carle for a seven-yard score with 1:17 remaining.
It gave the Cougars the 32-14 lead.
“We made adjustments and they responded and played hard the whole way,” Davis said. “That’s a sign of what we look for – play hard.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
CC – Tyquan Coleman 4 run (Evan Patrick kick)
CC – Austin Carder 26 pass from Parker Johnson (kick failed)
CC – Carder 52 pass from Johnson (run failed)
O – Jon Wilkinson 4 run (kick failed)
CC – Patrick 12 run (Patrick kick)
O – Dylan Amadeo 4 run (Wilkinson run)
CC – Tanner Carle 7 pass from Johnson (pass failed)
RUSHING – Orting: Jon Wilkinson 9-55; Griffin Rose 7-51; Austin Spader 9-19. CC: Zach Bartolome 7-34; Evan Patrick 12-26; Tyquan Coleman 3-12; Jake Nielsen 5-5; Madden Tobeck 6-4.
PASSING – Orting: Justice Wilkins 6-13-2-48; Bryce Meacham 0-1-1-0; Griffin Rose 0-1-1-0. CC: Parker Johnson 8-14-1-144.
RECEIVING – Orting: Jon Thompson 4-27; Sean Brown 2-14; CC: Austin Carder 4-94; Tyquan Coleman 1-17; Jake Nielsen 1-14; Zach Bartolome 1-12; Tanner Carle 1-7.