PESHASTIN — The Cascade Kodiaks took on the Newport Grizzlies Friday night in a CTL-NEA crossover game to finish out the regular season. Coming off a recent win over rival Cashmere in the Pear Bowl, Cascade came into their final game with a bit of momentum, but previous injuries and a hard-to-handle offense from Newport snowballed into a tough loss. The final score was 35-7.
“We’ve been battling injuries all season long, and lost three crucial guys last game so it’s been piling on.” Said Cascade Head Coach Dominique Coffin.
At first, the injuries hardly seemed to matter. The Kodiaks held most of the offensive possession, not necessarily gaining much yardage, but also not allowing Newport too many possessions. As Newport began to feel out the Kodiak defense a rhythm started forming between their run and pass game. The first quarter was scoreless for both sides but Newport was within three yards of the goal.
It was third and goal for Newport and a touchdown was almost certain until a there was a flag on the play and Newport lost 10 yards. Their opponent now 13 yards from the endzone gave Cascade some breathing room, and apparently, Newport needed that too. Newport’s quarterback Michael Owen dropped back for a pass and connected with his receiver Jacob Kirkwood up the right side for the first touchdown of the game.
After gathering a failed onside kick, Cascade wasn’t able to put much together offensively. And so the one-two-punch of Newport’s offense got in full swing. By either pitching or passing to Kirkwood, or handing the ball off to their running back Troy Hill, Newport again found themselves on Cascade’s 20-yard line. Owen again found Kirkwood for their second touchdown. To finish the half and help quell Newport’s momentum the Kodiaks earned a sack and recovered a fumble. They ended the half 14-0.
It was more of the same from Newport in the third quarter but after Cascade brought down Newport’s running back behind the line of scrimmage for an eight-yard loss, making it second down and 18 yards to go, briefly, Cascade had them on their heels. Newport had an answer when Owen passed to a wide-open receiver for a huge 26 yard gain. One play later they were in the endzone.
Later in the quarter, after being sacked, Cascade quarterback Cole Warnaca connected with receiver Ben Sunitsch up the center for a first down. The next play running back Isaiah Dayton had an answer of his own. On Cascade’s own 37-yard line Dayton took a handoff and ran up the left side, but after a few yards, he decided he didn’t like the look of it and cut across the width of the field through Newport’s defense and up the right side into the endzone after 63 yards earning Cascade’s only touchdown of the night and loud cheers from the crowd. They ended the quarter 21-7.
Newport added a couple more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and Cascade had trouble responding finishing the came with a score of 35-7.
When asked about his team Coffin said, “They played hard the whole game and that’s all we could really ask for.” And when thinking about his graduating seniors, he said, “It’s a tough group to lose because these guys have been busting it since they were freshmen. It’s really hard to lose a good group that has given so much to the program.”
Cascade finished the season 5-5 overall. Newport finished 6-4.