Cascade Christian is accustomed to playing any style of playoff football — low-scoring nailbiters and high-scoring shootouts.
Longtime Cougars coach Randy Davis lists his team’s 2017 state-playoff opener the most bizarre game he’s ever been a part of.
In the end, all that mattered was that sixth-ranked Cascade Christian escaped with a 61-53 victory Saturday night over dangerous Nooksack Valley at Sunset Stadium in Sumner.
The Cougars (10-1) advanced to the Class 1A quarterfinals where they will host LaCenter next weekend on the same field.
After winning the 1A title back in 2014, Cascade Christian had made first-round exits the past two seasons — a 25-22 loss to Montesano in 2016, and a 34-21 defeat to Meridian last season.
Senior running back Tyquan Coleman said it was time for the team to stop making excuses, and start winning ballgames again.
“We talked about it all week — there are no more excuses for any of our seniors,” Coleman said. “We came out here and did the job.”
It was a game dominated by both offenses. The two schools combined for 974 total yards and 17 touchdowns.
The Cougars’ tailback duo of Coleman (269 total yards, including 189 rushing yards) and Madden Tobeck (game-high 216 rushing yards) not only helped the Nisqually League champions jump out to an early lead, every time the Pioneers (6-5) closed the gap, those seniors had the ultimate answer.
Coleman had five first-half tourchdowns — three rushing, one on a 32-yard catch and the final one on an 87-yard kickoff return.
Tobeck was the closer in the second half, accounting for four rushing touchdowns.
His final score, a 47-yarder up the gut, gave the Cougars a 61-45 lead with four minutes, 31 seconds to go.
But the Pioneers, led by Montana State-bound quarterback Casey Bauman (21 of 30, 338 yards, three touchdowns), went 59 yards in 1:03 for a quick score — Bauman’s 27-yard touchdown pass to tailback Austin O’Bryan in the right flat to cut it to 61-53 at the 3:21 mark.
“This was pretty crazy,” Bauman said. “None of us have ever experienced a game like that.”
Davis knew his defense was ragged. He also knew it likely would not stop Bauman if Nooksack Valley had a chance to go tie the game.
So on fourth-and-3 with 2:50 remaining, Davis rolled the dice from the Pioneers’ 37.
And quarterback Parker Johnson went to the unlikeliest target to get the first down — backup tight end Adam Whitaker, who hauled in a 20-yard strike in the middle of three Nooksack Valley defenders for the game-clinching first down. It was only Whitaker’s second catch of the season.
“We were just so tired,” Davis said. “I don’t think we could have stopped anybody.”
The 114 combined points were the most scored in any state playoff game the Cougars have ever been a part of in 38 appearances. Their previous record was 87, set back in 2002 (48-39 win over Onalaska).
“This,” Davis said, “has to be at the top of the list of craziest games I’ve been in.”
NO. 6 CASCADE CHRISTIAN
CC – Tyquan Coleman 3 run (Parker Setterfield kick)
NV – Austin O’Bryan 4 run (Jordan Veening kick)
CC – Coleman 65 run (Setterfield kick)
CC – Coleman 7 run (Setterfield kick)
CC – Coleman 32 pass from Parker Johnson (kick failed)
NV – O’Bryan 9 run (Veening kick)
CC – Coleman 87 kickoff return (Setterfield kick)
NV – Baylor Galley 6 pass from Casey Bauman (kick failed)
NV – O’Bryan 13 run (Veening kick)
CC – Madden Tobeck 17 run (kick failed)
NV – Kyle Veldman 10 pass from Bauman (kick failed)
CC – Tobeck 4 run (Coleman run)
NV – O’Bryan 9 run (pass failed)
CC – Tobeck 5 run (run failed)
NV – Landon Bruland recovered blocked punt in end zone (kick failed)
CC – Tobeck 47 run (Setterfield kick)
NV – O’Bryan 27 pass from Bauman (Bauman run)