CASHMERE — How’s (2-0) feel?
Just ask Cashmere head coach Bryan Bremer, who sprinted from midfield to the goal line and leaped into his players' arms after they had erased a nine-point halftime deficit and squeezed out a 28-25 win over Goldendale on a damp night in Cashmere.
“(It) feels pretty great, baby,” Bremer said after the win. “Go Dawgs!”
It wasn’t easy by any stretch. Cashmere earned this win.
The Bulldogs scored first, with Logan Collins punching in a 5-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter. But Goldendale responded on the ensuing drive, marching down the field in a few plays and scoring on a 21-yard pass to Caleb Smith.
Following a defensive stop, the Timberwolves grabbed a 13-8 lead in the second quarter, after junior QB Kade Bomberger connected with Austin Neil on a 10-yard touchdown two minutes into the quarter. Cashmere retook the lead though on the next drive; Jack Croci knifed into the endzone for a 6-yard score.
Ahead 16-13, but with two scores apiece, the game was essentially even midway through the quarter.
But Goldendale seized momentum over the final seven minutes of the half. Smith took an end-around 59 yards to the house to give the Timberwolves a 19-13 advantage. He then scored on Goldendale’s next drive, catching a pass down his own sideline and breaking two tackles before crossing the entire field for a 62-yard TD.
“(The) defense was not pleased in the first half,” Bremer said. “We had guys in the wrong spots. They ran all the same plays we’ve been practicing but we had some guys that weren’t rising to the occasion. But coach (Steve) Simonson got us ready to play at half.”
Boy, did he. The Bulldogs flipped a switch coming out of the locker room.
The defense pitched a shutout over the final two quarters and stuffed every run; Croci even got in for a sack out of the secondary. Goldendale couldn’t muster anything offensively over the final two quarters.
Cashmere, however, moved the ball more efficiently. Collins, who racked up 115 yards on 29 carries, started to find a few creases in the line and broke off some nice runs up the middle. The Bulldogs pulled within three midway through the third after junior QB Trenton Mason connected with Mac Kelly for an 11-yard TD.
The Cashmere offense stalled out on its next possession, but the defense gave them the ball back with 6:54 left in the game. Still trailing 25-22, this was likely the Bulldog's last chance.
But Mason, calm and cool, orchestrated a nine-play, 55-yard drive that he capped off with a QB-sneak up the middle for the game-winner.
“What a hard-fought victory,” Bremer said. “Goldendale was very well-coached and they had a game plan for us. But I’m proud of our guys' resilience. Giving up 25 points in the first half, you have to do some soul-searching. But we took care of the football in the second half and the defense played great.”
For Bremer, this one meant a little bit more considering the Timberwolves are coached by one of his best friends.
“I was in his wedding and he was in mine,” he said. “I love him to death and honestly, I thought they deserved to win that game. But we executed better down the stretch. We know we’re going to be in close games all season long but we’ve been there before. We can take care of business.”
The Bulldogs will look to make it (3-0) next week against Granite Falls. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.