SNOHOMISH — Last year turnovers cost Glacier Peak dearly in a 41-14 nonleague loss to Bothell.
Friday night, turnovers were once again a problem, but the bigger problem was Bothell’s junior running back Samuel McPherson, who found the end zone four times and in a variety of ways to lead the Cougars to a 42-23 win.
After forcing the Grizzlies into a three-and-out on their opening possession, Bothell marched down the field on a 59-yard drive that lasted 11 plays and culminated in a McPherson 8-yard touchdown run.
The Grizzlies next possession ended as quickly as their first and before long McPherson was in the end zone again. This time he scored on a 56-yard screen pass from Ross Bowers. After the extra point the Cougars were up 14-0.
Glacier Peak responded with its first points of the game the next possession. The Grizzlies drove 84 yards and quarterback Branson Corwin scored on a bizarre play where he fumbled the snap only to pick up the ball and run it in for a touchdown. As the Grizzlies often do, they went for two, but Bothell had the play sniffed out and the Grizzlies trailed 14-6.
It didn’t stay that close for long.
McPherson tried for a halfback pass on the first play of the Cougars next drive, but the pass was broken up by the Grizzlies. Bowers threw a deep pass on the next play and the Grizzlies weren’t as lucky. Dayzell Wilson beat the Glacier Peak defensive backs and outran them to the end zone to give the Cougars a 21-6 lead.
Glacier Peak kicker Spencer Pettit added a 30-yard field goal for the Grizzlies before halftime.
The Grizzlies were within striking distance going into the third quarter, but that McPherson quickly took care of that.
He returned the second half’s opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to give the Cougars a 28-9 lead. The Grizzlies fumbled the ball to Bothell on the second play of their next drive and McPherson scored on a 26-yard touchdown Cougars first play after the turnover.
“He made some big plays,” Glacier Peak head coach Rory Rosenbach said of McPherson. “He had that screen for a touchdown and that kickoff return for a touchdown which, I don’t want to call them backbreakers, but definitely put us in a hole. He’s a good football player.”
After McPherson’s two big plays to start the half, Glacier Peak’s defense settled down and held the Cougars to just one more touchdown the rest of the game and that came a Glacier Peak turnover deep in its own territory. Bothell capitalized on the next play when Bowers connected with Jackson Keirnig for a 9-yard touchdown pass.
“The second half, I thought we were fine,” Rosenbach said. “They scored on the kickoff return and they scored on the first play after the turnover and they got one after we turned it over down here (in our territory). The second half I thought we played really good defense. We just couldn’t get anything going on offense until late.”
Trailing 42-9, the Grizzlies didn’t give up scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. They nearly added a third in the final seconds after recovering an onside kick.
“I was just really proud of the way we battled,” Rosenbach said. “They kept battling and they kept fighting. I’m really proud of them and I’m really proud of the way our coaches handled the kids and kept them in the game. They battled and they fought. I don’t know that they made it a ballgame, but they played for 48 minutes. That’s all you can ask for as a coach.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Veterans Memorial Stadium
B–Samuel McPherson 8 run (Rilyn Gherardini kick)
B–McPherson 56 pass from Ross Bowers (Gherardini kick)
GP–Branson Corwin 1 run (pass failed)
B–Dayzell Wilson 80 pass from Bowers (Gherardini kick)
GP–Spencer Pettit 30 FG
B–McPherson 98 kickoff return (Gherardini kick)
B–McPherson 26 run (Gherardini kick)
B–Jackson Keirnig 9 pass from Bowers (Gherardini kick)
GP–Matthew Darling 14 run (Pettit kick)
GP–Brady Southard 10 run (Pettit kick)
Records—Bothell 5-1 overall. Glacier Peak 5-1.