Bylsma in right place, right time as Jackson beats rival Mariner

EVERETT — They call him “Bones.”

Junior Zach Bylsma isn’t a big player and his skinny legs may be his defining physical characteristic, but the co-captain of the Jackson High School soccer team couldn’t have been bigger Friday night.

In a crucial Wesco South tilt against Mariner at Everett Memorial Stadium, Bylsma was in the right place at the right time on multiple occasions to lift first-place Jackson to a 2-1 triumph over the second-place Marauders.

His bones were front and center exactly when the team needed them in the final minutes of the game. After a Mariner corner kick in the 74th minute pulled Jackson keeper Armando Huerta off his line, the ball squirted past the sophomore goalie and appeared destined for the net before it was deflected clear by Bylsma standing on the goal line.

“I knew that Armando was going to go up and make a play on the ball,” Bylsma said. “I just got my body on the ball and hoped it doesn’t go past me.”

Bylsma also scored what proved to be the game-winning goal a few minutes before his big stop. After a Mariner penalty deep in its own end, Brady Witsoe set up for a free kick from near the corner. Bylsma noticed that Mariner hadn’t put a defender on the near post in similar situations earlier in the game and called for Witsoe to send it his way.

The kick went in the air to Bylsma, who flicked a header past Mariner goalie David Kelly. It wasn’t his first goal of the year, having scored in a few blowouts so far.

“(I haven’t scored any) that were that important,” he said. “That was my biggest.”

With three games remaining in the regular season, the victory gives the Timberwolves (10-1 league, 11-2 overall) at least a share of the Wesco South crown, and Friday night’s win means a two-game series sweep, which gives Jackson the tiebreaker and the No. 1 seed into the upcoming 4A district playoffs.

“We’re sitting pretty good right now,” Jackson coach Brett Norton said

If not for Bylsma, the T-Wolves’ league lead could have been just three points instead of nine. The Marauders (7-4, 7-6) jumped out to an early 1-0 edge and controlled play for most of the first half. In the early going, Mariner carried itself with the swagger of a team with its eyes on the league title.

In the 11th minute, Mariner’s Aleksey Gubarik collected a long pass from Elmer Delgado. With his back to the goal, the Marauder senior forward fought off a Jackson defender and dribbled into the penalty box before lifting a finesse shot past Huerta that bounced off the near post and trickled into the goal.

After the game, Mariner coach Vince DeSimone, in his typical animated fashion, gave credit to Jackson for playing well, but said he felt his team was better overall during this game.

“We pretty much dominated the whole game,” DeSimone said. “We just couldn’t put the ball in the net. Jackson keeps on getting lucky … until we meet them again.”

That next meeting, if it comes, would be in the playoffs. DeSimone said he expects his team to make a deep run in the postseason despite, at best, having to settle for the league’s No. 2 seed. Mariner needs to finish in the top three in the South standings to advance.

“We know we are going to make the playoffs, no doubt about it,” the Mariner coach said. “It’s just getting there and staying there.”

Jackson got the tying goal in the 33rd minute when Carlos Martinez controlled a ball deep into the corner and played to back to a streaking Julio Ortiz, who drilled a shot to the far corner of the net before Kelly could react.

In just his third varsity game, the freshman Ortiz recorded his first points.

“He’s been playing so well (in practice) I’ve been rewarding him with time,” Norton said. “For him to get that goal is huge.”

The win means Jackson can relax and prepare for the postseason during its final games.

“We’re really excited,” Norton said. “We’ve just got to assess some injuries we got tonight.”

Jackson senior forward David Loeung had to be carried off the field with a knee injury suffered in the 25th minute. Norton said the team trainer described it as a “wait-and-see” situation.

Jon Saperstein covers high school sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @jonsap and contact him at

At Everett Memorial Stadium

Goals—Aleksey Gubarik (M) 1, Julio Ortiz (J) 1, Zach Bylsma (J) 1. Assists—Elmer Delgado (M) 1, Carlos Martinez (J) 1, Brady Witsoe (J) 1. Goalkeepers—Mariner: David Kelly. Jackson: Armando Huerta. Records—Mariner 7-4 league, 7-6 overall. Jackson 10-1, 11-2.

More in Sports

How might NHL team in Seattle impact Silvertips?

A look at local reaction to the possibility of the NHL coming to Seattle.

RPI has changed way hoops coaches approach non-league games

The implementation of RPI for state-tourney seeding has local basketball coaches thinking differently.

Seahawks ditch ‘every game is the same’ mantra for Rams showdown

Seattle hosts first-place Los Angeles in what is essentially the NFC West championship game on Sunday.

Friday’s prep basketball scores, recaps

Girls teams get defensive in decisive victories.

Glacier Peak’s Makayla Guerra attempts a shot past Jackson’s Sydney Carter Friday night at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish on December 15, 2017. Glacier Peak won 63-46. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
New-look Glacier Peak girls basketball beats Jackson 63-46

The Grizzlies are starting to find their footing after losing three stars to graduation from last season.

Seahawks, Rams play with ‘special’ edge

Both teams have traditionally featured some of the best special-teams play in the NFL.

McGrath: A look at the ‘best’ of bowl season

The college football bowl season kicks off Saturday with six games.

Several Seahawks fined by NFL: Ifedi is docked $24,000

Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Jefferson were both fined $9,115 for unnecessary roughness penalties.

Chiefs stop Silvertips’ winning streak at 9

Spokane’s Hudson Elynuik scores twice in the third period as Everett falls 5-3.

Most Read