PESHASTIN — The odds were against Cascade winning this game. They were without any of their top four running backs, all injured. They were still looking for their first win in league and they hadn’t beaten Cashmere since 2014.
Yet, somehow they were able to overcome all the obstacles and come out with huge win against their rival in the annual Pear Bowl, 33-28.
“Our motto has turned into adversity. We’ve been battling injuries and sickness all season. The number one goal these guys wanted was to beat Cashmere. They battled until the very end. We got a couple good breaks. The kids played hard non-stop which was awesome,” said Cascade Head Coach Dom Coffin.
Cashmere looked like they may dominate the game, taking the opening possession of the game down for a score. It was a 9-play, 63 yard drive. On fourth and 21 from the Kodiak 29-yard line, quarterback Sam Phillips found Dominic Harrington for the TD strike along the sideline.
Cashmere led 7-0.
Cascade went three and out on their first possession, but Cashmere coughed up the fumble on their next possession. However, Cascade went three and out again. Next Bulldog possession, Kodiak linebacker Eric Rosario made the interception, giving Cascade the ball on the Cashmere 44-yard line.
This time, the Kodiaks got some points off the turnover as Cascade QB Cole Warnaca ran it 15-yards for the score to tie the game at 7-7. Cascade picked up their third turnover of the game, an interception by Julian Alvarez early in the second quarter, but they were unable to do anything with it.
The game remained tied 7-7 at the half.
The opening drive of the third quarter, behind the running of Warnaca, Cascade marched 61-yards for the score. The big play was 31-yard pass to Ben Sunitsch to the 9-yard line. First and goal at the 2-yard line, Coffin brought in 6-foot-2, 275 pound lineman Hunter Reinhart at running back. To the delight of the home crowd, Reinhart showed off his athleticism running it in for the touchdown .
Cascade took the lead 14-7. The Bulldogs were pinned deep in their own end, forced to punt from the 10-yard line. A short punt gave Cascade the ball at the Bulldog 38-yard line.
Warnaca then looped a beautiful pass over the top to a wide open Isiah Dayton for the 33-yard score. However, a penalty forced a longer extra point, which was missed. Cascade led 20-7 with 5:48 left in the third quarter.
Cashmere wasted no time coming back. On the first play, Brooks Elliot ran 60-yards for the touchdown. That cut the lead to 20-14. After Cascade was forced to punt, Cashmere took over on their own 38-yard line, but Rosario struck again with the pick.
Cascade drove down to the 18-yard line and stalled. They brought out the field goal team. After a penalty, kicker Arturo Avila tried a 40-yard kick, which bounced off the crossbar.
Next Bulldog possession, they drive 80-yards in 10 plays for the score, a 17-yard pass from Phillips to Elliot in the corner of the end zone. Cashmere took their first lead, 21-20 with 8:11 to go in the game.
Cascade started their next drive at the Cashmere 40-yard line. First play, Cashmere commits a pass interference penalty. Cascade tried the long bomb all game without much success. That advanced the ball to the 25.
After runs by Warnaca and Enloe, Cascade faced a third and 3 from the 7-yard line. Cashmere was loaded up for another quarterback run, but they handed the ball to Dayton who scooted in for the score.
The Kodiaks went for two but were denied. The home team now led 26-21 with 2:20 remaining in the game.
Next Cashmere possession, they were hampered by a holding call and an offensive pass interference penalty. That pushed them back and ultimately forced them to give the ball up on downs at their own 16-yard line with 1:36 to go.
Cashmere used all their timeouts to stop the clock. Cascade faced third and 3 at the 8-yard. Enloe took the hand off and scooted around the corner for the TD. Although, since Cashmere was out of timeouts, he would have better been served to not score, so the Kodiaks could run out the clock.
Cascade now led 33-21 with 1:14 to go. The Bulldogs needed only two plays to get into the end zone. Phillips hit Elliot on 56-yard pass for the TD, which cut the lead to 33-28.
With 54 seconds to go, the Bulldogs tried the onside kick but failed. Kodiaks win.
“It’s really hard to win a football game when you turn it over four times. That has been our MO this year. Game’s we turn it over a lot, we don’t come out on the winning end. Today obviously was that same thing,” Cashmere Head Coach Bryan Bremer said. “ Did not value the football. Defensively, we did not take it away. We handed it to them too many times.”
With his running backs out, Coffin said the plan was to put the ball in Warnaca’s hands. Boy did he deliver.
“All of our running backs are out. Isiah Dayton wasn’t cleared until Thursday. We really didn’t know if we were going to have him. We moved Cody Enloe to running back. He’s played receiver all year,” Coffin said. “ Cole was our only running back type left, so I told him he was going to be the guy. He really stepped up big time.”
Coffin was proud the way his defense stepped up with four takeaways.
“Eric Rosario played his heart out. He just played hard and had two interceptions. He kept us going all night. It was huge. Those guys stepped up. Julian Alvarez, who was hurt, helped lockdown Nate Phillips, their big receiver. It was a lot of fun,” Coffin said.
In the second half, Bremer knew he had to get the ball to his senior, Elliot.
“He is something else. He plays so many positions for us. I challenged the players at halftime. We were going to put the game on his shoulders. He’s best player on the field. He had a heck of a game,” Bremer said. “Sad I did not get him the win tonight. I didn’t call a great offensive game. Obviously I did not have the guys ready to play.”
Cascade improved to 1-3 in the CTL, while Cashmere dropped to 2-2. Even with the loss, the Bulldogs win second place, since they beat Okanogan, who was also 2-2. So Cashmere is off to the state playoffs, but they’re going to have wait awhile.
Since they have a bye in week 10, they are going to have to wait nine days to find out their first round opponent at state.
“We talked a lot about it. We have a lot of guys out. We have nine days to get healthy. Nine days to refocus and get back to the task at hand,” Bremer said. “This was a game we really wanted to win. I feel bad for my players. Feel like I let them down. Our goal was to make it to state. We’ve made that goal. Now we have to do something with it.”