CHELAN — Michael Amsel Jr. ran for 233 yards, passed for 148 and also returned a kick 78 yards for a touchdown as Chelan beat Cashmere 42-35 Friday to seize control of the Caribou Trail League race.
The Goats and Bulldogs entered the night as the only two unbeaten teams left in the CTL, and Cashmere wasted little time in grabbing the upper hand, as Casey Ruether returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. But the Goats bounced back to score the game’s next two touchdowns and held the lead the rest of the way.
With the win, the Goats took over sole possession of first place in the league and clinched one of the CTL’s three playoff spots.
“The thing we keep harping on is that life throws you curves,” Chelan coach Darren Talley said of the early score. “I didn’t see anybody hang their heads.”
Cashmere entered the game as the top rushing team in the league, while Chelan has relied more heavily on the passing arm of Amsel. But those roles were reversed Friday.
Amsel had his best day of the season on the ground, while Bulldogs quarterback Tyler McNair threw for 168 yards and three scores.
“Everybody thought (McNair) was just a running quarterback, but he showed tonight that in addition to being a talented runner, he can throw the ball too,” Talley said.
With middle linebacker Matt Pittsinger leading the charge, the Goats held McNair to 104 yards rushing — matching his lowest total of the season — on 28 carries.
Chelan took its biggest lead of the night at 42-21 with 3:50 left, but Cashmere scored twice late to make things interesting.
With the win, the Goats claimed the Bronze Shoe, the traveling trophy in the series, for the first time in 11 years.
In other CTL games on Friday:
Cascade 42, Okanogan 19
In a battle of the last two winless teams in CTL play, Cascade jumped to a 28-0 lead and went on to win by 23.
Omak 49, Tonasket 20
Omak bounced back from a home loss to Chelan last week to beat the Tigers and move into a second-place tie in the CTL with Cashmere.
Tonasket’s Keegan McCormick carried 25 times for 96 yards against the Pioneers.
Brenden Aguilar threw for 205 yards and two scores for Omak, and ran for another 74 yards and a touchdown. JoJo LaGrou had six catches for 120 yards and a score.