Julian Thomas had another big game on the ground as Cascade remained unbeaten and cruised past Jackson for a 55-21 win Friday night at Everett Memorial Stadium. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Julian Thomas had another big game on the ground as Cascade remained unbeaten and cruised past Jackson for a 55-21 win Friday night at Everett Memorial Stadium. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Cascade routs Jackson, improves to 4-0 in independent slate

The Bruins continue their strong start to the season and roll past the Timberwolves for a 55-21 win.

EVERETT — Cascade High School football coach Jordan Sieh likes the progress his program has made in Year 2 as an independent.

The results on the scoreboard certainly back him up.

Four weeks into the season, the Bruins sport a perfect record. And they’re closing in on their most wins in nearly a decade.

Cascade raced to a big lead and remained unbeaten with another massive performance from its Wing-T rushing attack, cruising past winless Jackson for a 55-21 rout Friday night at Everett Memorial Stadium.

“We’re super happy about it,” Sieh said of his team’s start to the season. “We’re 4-0, we have over 90 kids out in our program right now, and guys are having a ton of fun playing high school football. … We’re super happy with where we are right now.”

With their latest triumph, the Bruins (4-0) have already matched their win total from last season. They’ve surpassed their win totals from both 2018 and 2019. And they’re just two victories away from securing their first full winning season since 2013.

“It means a lot to us,” standout senior running back Julian Thomas said. “We work really hard at practice. All the coaches, they do a great job preparing us every week to go out there and win. … I feel like we’re getting better and better each week. That’s all it’s about — getting better each week.”

Following the 2019 season, Sieh opted Cascade into a two-year cycle as an independent program.

At the time, the Bruins were coming off a 3-7 campaign. They’d gone 18-42 over the previous six seasons, including a 9-33 mark in Wesco 4A play. During that stretch, they’d surpassed three wins only once.

Cascade was in the process of moving down to the 3A level in all sports, due to the statewide reclassification cycle. But the independent designation meant that instead of playing a Wesco 3A league slate, the Bruins would form their own schedule for the next two full seasons.

Going independent has become more common in recent years, as certain programs look to create more competitively balanced matchups.

“I’ve been pushing the league to try to do a tiered system — upper and lower,” Sieh said. “And not enough coaches have wanted to do that. So we’re like, ‘Hey, we’ll play independent.’”

After going 4-1 during the COVID-shortened 2021 spring season, Cascade went 4-6 last fall in its debut as an independent.

This year, the Bruins are off to a 4-0 start with three wins by at least 19 points.

They opened with a 41-21 victory over Wesco 3A North foe Marysville Getchell. They outlasted KingCo 3A Newport for a 42-35 double-overtime triumph that Sieh called a “program-changing” type of win. They beat KingCo 4A Inglemoor 33-14. And they steamrolled Wesco 4A Jackson on Friday night.

“Things really came together in the offseason,” Sieh said. “… We’ve got a great culture right now. And the guys just completely bought in, so we’re super happy.”

Cascade didn’t waste any time jumping on the Timberwolves (0-4) in Friday’s clash of Everett School District rivals.

On the Bruins’ first play from scrimmage, junior back Zach Lopez broke a 55-yard TD run. He added another long TD on their next possession, racing for a 52-yard score. And he capped their third drive with a 10-yard TD run, giving Cascade a quick 21-0 first-quarter lead.

The Bruins cruised from there, rolling to a 41-6 halftime advantage. They put the running clock into effect early in the second half and led 55-6 early in the fourth quarter.

Cascade piled up 479 yards rushing and 11.1 yards per carry in its Wing-T ground attack, while scoring touchdowns on eight of its first nine possessions.

Thomas had another big night, running for 183 yards and two TDs on 19 carries. Lopez finished with 142 yards and three TDs on 10 carries. Senior back Charlie Nelson added 75 yards and two TDs on four carries, including a 45-yard scoring run.

“We feel like we have three super good running backs,” Sieh said. “… It’s really a three-headed monster for us in the backfield.”

Through four weeks, the Bruins are averaging 42.8 points and 364 yards rushing per game.

Thomas, a two-star running back, leads the way with 707 yards rushing and 13 TDs. The speedy and elusive 5-foot-6 back has picked up right where he left off last fall, when he ran for 1,709 yards and 18 TDs in a big junior campaign.

“He fully understands Wing-T running,” Sieh said. “He’s a gifted running back (and) he knows exactly what we’re trying to do in this offense. … So it’s the total package. It’s the talent, with the complete buy-in.”

Jackson’s only first-half score came on a trick play, when sophomore running back Tyler Lykken tossed a halfback pass to sophomore Joseph Eichhorn for a 35-yard TD. Lykken took over at quarterback in the fourth quarter and trimmed the final margin with a 31-yard TD pass to senior Colton Anderson and a 7-yard TD run.

Lykken accounted for 153 yards of total offense and three total TDs for the Timberwolves, who have lost 10 consecutive games dating back to last season.

For Cascade, the schedule remains favorable going forward.

The Bruins travel to face Wesco 3A North foe Oak Harbor next week, followed by a trio of matchups against fellow independents Everett, Meadowdale and Cedarcrest.

If they make it through that stretch undefeated at 8-0, they would earn a Wesco 3A crossover play-in matchup against the Wesco 3A South’s No. 5 seed. The winner of that game would advance to Wesco 3A’s Week 9 crossover playoff round.

But while a postseason trip is becoming a real possibility, Sieh doesn’t want to look that far ahead.

“That’s a long ways to go,” he said. “We’ve gotta go up to Oak Harbor next week. That’s gonna be a real tough game. That’s gonna be a test.

“So obviously if we ever get to that point, that’d be great. But we’ve just gotta focus on this next game.”

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