By David Krueger Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH – Glacier Peak’s Chris Becerra felt like he had all day to throw the ball. His stats and the final score of the Grizzlies’ first game of the season certainly indicate that was the case.
Becerra and the Grizzlies defeated Lake Stevens 42-31 Friday night in a nonconference game at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Snohomish, thanks largely to its new quarterback. The senior, making only his second ever varsity start, completed 22-of-33 passes for 303 yards and four touchdowns.
“That’s pretty good,” Becerra said while smiling when informed of his stats.
Glacier Peak head coach Rory Rosenbach agreed.
“He did a nice job,” Rosenbach said. “There’s a lot of room for growth, but it’s a great start.”
Making his first start as a bonafide starting quarterback — replacing last year’s starter David Linney — Becerra was quick to dole out praise to his entire team, including the offensive line.
“The line was doing a great job blocking for me,” he said. “I didn’t even feel the pressure.”
Becerra got the scoring underway with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Sean Elledge about midway through the first quarter. After a Lake Stevens field goal, Marcos Baruch ran for a 16-yard touchdown.
The Vikings responded with a 45-yard touchdown pass from Gavin O’Neil to Tevin Gray, to bring the score to 14-10.
But then the Grizzlies took over.
Glacier Peak scored four straight touchdowns to take a commanding 42-10 lead over Lake Stevens. The Grizzlies held off the Vikings, despite three late scores by Lake Stevens, and started their season off in the best way possible.
“It’s really important (to win the first game),” Becerra said. “It gives a lot of our guys a lot of confidence.”
The Glacier Peak scoring run featured touchdown runs of six and 58 yards by junior Michael Palmer, and touchdown passes of 30 and 78 yards by Becerra, the latter going to Baruch on the Grizzlies’ second play of the drive.
“It’s huge, it’s a huge confidence booster,” Rosenbach said, echoing his quarterback. “I thought it went well.”
The coach singled out the Grizzlies’ running game and defense as the strong points of Glacier Peak’s opener. He said he believed Becerra — who threw one interception — “missed some throws,” but thinks that the senior will only get better the longer the season goes.
“Hopefully he knows he can go out and compete against top 4A teams,” Rosenbach said.
The Vikings — who made it to the 4A state semifinals last season — had a new quarterback of their own. Actually, they had two.
O’Neil, a junior, started the game and threw a touchdown before being replaced with a minute remaining in the third quarter, down 35-10, by freshman Jacob Eason. After Palmer’s 58-yard run, Eason led the Vikings down the field and threw a two-yard touchdown pass to cap Lake Steven’s next offensive possession. That began a string of 21 unanswered points for the Vikings — which ended with a 70-yard touchdown pass from Eason to Conner Coleman — to end the game.
Even with the big win, it didn’t take long for Becerra to point out that Glacier Peak was still a long way from accomplishing its ultimate goal this season: getting to the Tacoma Dome for the 3A state tournament.
“We expect to come out hot,” Becerra said. “It’s the first game. Everyone’s excited. … We’ve got so much more to prove. One win isn’t everything. We have to keep getting better and better if we want to get to the Dome.”