PESHASTIN — Defensively, it wasn’t pretty.
But offensively, my god. What an exhilarating game.
Somehow, someway the Chelan Goats erased a 13-point deficit in the final five minutes Friday night to pull out a remarkable 55-54 (not a typo) win over the Cascade Kodiaks — in what was easily the best football game of the season thus far.
It had everything: big plays, long touchdown runs/passes, two recovered onside kicks (one each side), a double-digit comeback, a half-naked streaker, a go-ahead score in the last seconds and enough drama to last an entire season.
As the Goats were driving to take the lead in the final minute, the stadium lights suddenly turned off, drawing a swell of groans from the Chelan fans and sideline. It took nearly 15 minutes for staff to fire the lights back up, which were pre-set to shut off at 10 p.m.
No one quite anticipated the offensive battle that would unfold. How could they? A 55-54 final isn’t exactly a common scoreline. Both teams combined for seven touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone and produced nearly 1,000 yards of total offense (977) altogether.
“What a great high school football game,” Chelan head coach Travis Domser said after the win. “Both teams had that never quit attitude and that’s good CTL football right there. Hats off to Cascade, they coached a great game, our kids just never gave up. No one did. I’m very proud of our team and coaches, that was fun. That’s why we play high school football.”
Both quarterbacks, Reed Stamps (Chelan) and Braeden Parton (Cascade) had a whale of a game. Stamps completed 27-of-38 passes for 368 yards and six TDs and Parton combined for five total touchdowns (three rushing, two passing), threw for 216 yards and rushed for 246.
“(Parton) had a fantastic game for Cascade,” Domser said, “We couldn’t stop him and we have to clean that up.”
The Kodiaks shredded the Goats on the ground and racked up over 300 yards rushing. Chelan just didn’t have an answer up front and the Kodiaks were able to create gaping holes in the run game. Parton also connected with Kai Lewman and Hunter Stutzman for a pair of long touchdown passes in the second half that changed the complexion of the game.
But as Domser said, the Goats never gave up, which could have been easy after Parton ran in a 51-yard TD to put Cascade up 54-41 with 5:22 left in the fourth quarter.
But on the sideline, Domser and his staff offered encouragement, telling the offense they just needed to get a score and they would be back in it.
“We kept saying, ‘just worry about ourselves and keep that next play mentality,’” Domser said. “You hear it every time something doesn’t go our way and the kids believe in it.”
Stamps, as he had done all night, calmly marched the Goats down the field in four minutes and capped off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Wilson. The Goats then recovered the ensuing onside kick and Stamps went back to work. The senior completed passes to Wilson, Gage Burdick and Quin McLaren before spiking the ball to stop the clock with 22 seconds left. Almost immediately after the play, the lights shut off.
After the 15 minute delay, and then another three minutes to allow both teams to warm up again, Stamps connected with McLaren for a 9-yard TD to tie the game at 54-54 with 11 seconds left. The Goats had an extra point blocked in the first half, so the game wasn’t quite wrapped up. The moment got a little tenser after McLaren, who serves as Chelan's kicker, was forced to sit out a play after the ref sent him off the field.
Fortunately for Chelan, backup kicker Jahir Garduno converted the PAT to win the game.
“Reed was unbelievable tonight, especially for him to not get frustrated when we’re giving up (quick) scores,” Domser said. “It was a great performance from him, the receivers and the line.”
It might not have been the most defensive game, Domser acknowledged, but it’s also easier to clean that stuff up after a win.
“To win the CTL, we’ll have to win games like this,” he said. “Hat’s off to everyone involved.”
Chelan (3-2) gets Omak next Friday at home while the Kodiaks will look to bounce back against Quincy on the road. Kickoff in both games is at 7 p.m.
Stats: CHELAN — Reed Stamps (27-for-38, 368 passing yards, 6 TDs), Ethan Kehl (17 carries, 106 yards, 2 TDs), Quin McLaren (7 catches, 90 yards 2 TDs), Gage Burdick (6 catches, 99 yards, 2 TDs), Isaac Wilson (4 catches, 73 yards, 2 TDs). CASCADE — Braeden Parton (9-for-11, 216 yards 5 TDs, 246 rushing yards), Joseph Wall (10 carries, 43 yards, 2 TDs), Kai Lewman (2 catches, 99 yards TD), Hunter Stutzman (2 catches, 59 yards, TD).