By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — Friday night lights. Standing room only. A house divided.
All of the traditional clichés applied to Memorial Stadium on Friday night, when a new rivalry was born.
The only thing missing when Snohomish High School and crosstown rival Glacier Peak faced off in football for the first time was a meaningful ending. In fact, the entire second half was rendered rather meaningless, thanks to the new sheriffs in town.
New school took old school to the woodshed Friday, with five-year-old Glacier Peak taking down the so-called big brothers from Snohomish 43-7 in a non-league game. The Grizzlies jumped on SHS early, built a 29-7 halftime lead and never looked back.
Glacier Peak quarterback Chris Becerra threw four first-half touchdown passes, and then teammates Michael Palmer and Josh Pinca broke off long runs in the third quarter as the Grizzlies (2-0) led by 36 points before the fourth quarter began.
If there was any drama at all, it may have come from the never-let-up game plan of a Glacier Peak team that continued to rack up points. The Grizzles didn’t take their foot off the pedal before halftime, converting a 66-yard touchdown bomb with 2:03 remaining, then trying to pad the lead with a throw into the end zone in the final seconds of the half.
But Glacier Peak coach Rory Rosenbach, a former Snohomish High player, said he was simply coaching to win.
“It’s first half, let’s play ball,” he said. “That’s who we are. We’re an attacking, aggressive team, and that’s not going to change — no matter who we’re playing.”
Snohomish coach Mark Perry, under whom Rosenbach played and coached, said he completely understood the aggressive attack in the closing minutes of the first half.
“That’s the game,” he said. “He can’t ask their kids to stop playing. When that happens, you’ve just got to make some plays on your side.”
With the 4,200-seat stands packed and split in half, and at least another 2,000 fans enjoying the starting-time sunshine on the grass or milling around on the concourse, Glacier Peak opened the game with an onside kick. The Grizzlies recovered, then got a 31-yard touchdown pass from Becerra to Sean Elledge on fourth-and-6. As if that wasn’t enough, the Grizzlies added a two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
Becerra’s touchdown pass to Marcos Baruch three minutes into the second quarter expanded the lead to 15-0 before the Panthers’ Boomer Vuori broke off a 59-yard kickoff return to set up Snohomish’s only true threat of the game. A 31-yard pass from Kyle Gionet to Russell Crippen and four Glacier Peak penalties helped put Snohomish at the 1-yard line, and it took four plays before Vuori went up the middle for the score to cut the Glacier Peak lead to 15-7 with 5:17 remaining in the half.
That sent the red section of the stands into a brief chant of “Not in our house!” But it wouldn’t last.
Becerra, who wasn’t always on target but got help from teammates on a variety of screen passes, capped off a seven-play, 71-yard drive by connecting with Brady Southard for a 9-yard touchdown pass. The quarterback threw his fourth touchdown pass of the half, and made his most impressive throw of the day 31 seconds later when he hit Quinton Dunbar for a 66-yard score and a 29-7 lead. He almost struck again after a Trey Chambers interception at the Glacier Peak 38 with 48 seconds left, but Becerra’s throw to the end zone with nine seconds left in the half just missed the fingertips of Kaianoa Wong.
While the game was relatively clear of rivalry chippiness, the two teams did combine for eight penalties in the second quarter alone. During one stretch, there were six penalties called over 11 snaps.
The most egregious penalty came early in the second half, when a Snohomish defender was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after throwing a Glacier Peak lineman’s helmet about 20 yards downfield. The Grizzlies failed to capitalize on that flag, but they struck quickly on the next drive. Palmer, who had a 64-yard touchdown called back in the first half, broke off an 80-yard run on the opening play of the drive. A few minutes later, Pinca scored from 59 yards out to give Glacier Peak a 43-7 lead through three quarters. By then, the raucous crowd that opened the game with so much anticipation in a stadium the schools share had mostly fallen into a murmured state of social hour.
The lone Panthers highlight of the second half came when senior punter Collin Shelton unleashed a 77-yard punt in the third quarter.
Afterward, Rosenbach sought out Perry in the handshake line and the two coaches embraced — about five hours after continuing their Friday tradition of giving each other a pre-game phone call. This time, they didn’t wish each other luck before the game, but they reached out beforehand and hugged afterward.
“It was a great win for the program, and a great win for the school, but it’s always hard to beat your friends,” Rosenbach said after the game. “I have a ton of respect for those coaches over there. Hopefully, it’s the beginning of a good rivalry.”
Perry saw the game as an opportunity for the Panthers to see a spread offense, which they’ll face in league games against Lake Stevens, Arlington and Monroe.
All in all, there were no hard feelings afterward — despite Glacier Peak’s cruel treatment in what the schools hope will be the inaugural game of a long rivalry.
“We think of Snohomish as friends,” Glacier Peak’s Becerra said. “We don’t hate them, and they don’t hate us.”
At Snohomish H.S.
GP—Becerra to Elledge 32 pass, Corwin 2pt good
GP—Becerra to Baruch 10 pass, Corwin kick
Sno—Herzog 1 run, kick good
GP—Becerra to Campo 5 pass, Corwin kick
GP—Becerra to Dunbar 66 pass, Corwin kick
GP—Palmer 80 run, Corwin kick
GP—Pinca 55 run, Corwin kick
Records—Glacier Peak 2-0 overall. Snohomish 0-2.